A Family Takes on Lake of the Ozarks

Follow Look About Lindsey for a weekend exploring central Missouri

By Linsey Ranzau

The Lake of the Ozarks is located in central Missouri and has over 1,150 miles of shoreline. It’s a must-visit Midwest summer destination with things to do in Lake of the Ozarks for the whole family!

We visited in June with our 2-year-old for a long weekend and had so much fun exploring!

Where We Stayed

We stayed at Margaritaville Lake Resort Lake of the Ozarks. It’s located in Osage Beach, Missouri, which is right at the heart of the Ozarks, so I can’t recommend this location enough! The resort is great for families with multiple outdoor pools, an indoor waterpark, beautiful rooms with balconies overlooking the water, and our favorite onsite restaurant: Landshark Bar & Grill; We loved the fish tacos, and getting a Landshark beer is a must while here.

Things to Do in Lake of the Ozarks

Get Donuts and Coffee at Mo Co and Dough

These freshly made donuts were absolutely delicious, and the people working were SO nice! Make sure to stop here early before they run out and to also get some coffee while you’re at it!

Stop for Candy at Grandma’s Candy Kitchen

A popular spot on the Bagnell Dam strip is Grandma’s Candy Kitchen. Choose from lots of saltwater taffy, fudge, or your favorite sweets. We grabbed a bag of candy to munch on the entire weekend.

Shop at Local Boutiques

Also located on the Bagnell Dam Strip are some cute shops! My favorites were Summer Girl Boutique and Amandenimes — fun for non-cheesy souvenirs and great clothes and accessories that you can take home!

Get on the Lake with Celebration Cruises

There are so many boat rentals available in the Ozarks and even at Margaritaville Resort, but if you want to leave the driving for someone else and learn about the area while you’re at it, check out Celebration Cruises! We took the noon narrated cruise that sold snacks and drinks on board. It was so fun to see the lake from a different perspective! 

Take a Tour of Bridal Cave

Bridal Cave is one of the most unique things to do in Lake of the Ozarks. Tours start daily at 9 am and operate every 30 minutes. You wouldn’t need to make a reservation unless you’re visiting during an extremely busy time. This was a fun activity to do with our 2-year-old as there was a lot to look at, and the guides were very knowledgeable!

Explore Ha Ha Tonka State Park

Ha Ha Tonka State Park has so much to explore! We loved the short hike (full of lots of stairs – so beware!) to the beautiful blue water of the Ha Ha Tonka Spring. There are amazing bluffs, a natural bridge, and even castle ruins to explore here! 

Eat at Local Restaurants

The Lake of the Ozarks is full of great lakeside restaurants with epic patios, live music, and even swim-up bars! Some of our favorites are Landshark Bar & Grill and Neon Taco. The guacamole at Neon Taco was amazing, and there are so many fun margaritas to choose from too! We also heard great things about Dog Days Bar and Grill and 1932 Reserve.

Try a Local Winery

I’m convinced the nicest humans work at Shawnee Bluff Winery. It ended up raining while we were there, and they were so accommodating to us and our daughter! If you’re able to sit outside, this spot offers great views of the lake and has great wine and food too! We also heard great things about Seven Springs Winery but didn’t have a chance to check it out.

We loved our long weekend full of unique things to do in Lake of the Ozarks. Next time we decided we’re going parasailing and jet skiing!

About the Author

Lindsey is a Minneapolis, Minnesota-based travel writer who spends her free time exploring the hidden gems of destinations all around the world. You can follow her on her blog and on Instagram at Look About Lindsey.