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Lake of the Ozarks

Where the Fun Never Sets

By Trysta Herzog

Discover lakeside fun from dusk to dawn

There are plenty of things to do in Lake of the Ozarks while the sun is bright and the boats are out. But after spending your days on your boat rental or at Big Surf Waterpark, the fun doesn’t stop when the lake lights come on. From local watering holes and live music venues to fireworks and candlelit dinners on the water, make the most of your Lake of the Ozarks vacation by enjoying some of these nightlife options.

Concerts & venues

Music and variety shows are about as native to the Ozarks as its majestic mountain ranges and beautiful waterways. A weekend at Lake of the Ozarks wouldn’t be complete without seeing a live performance.

Ozarks Amphitheater brings in music lovers from all over the country to see headliners like Wiz Khalifa, Alabama, the Missouri Symphony Orchestra and more. The 10,000-seat open-air venue was recently named the “Best Live Music Venue in Missouri,” and it doesn’t disappoint. It’s the perfect place to jam to your favorite bands under the stars in the stunning Ozarks sky.

If you’re looking to experience entertainment with a more local feel, head over to Main Street Music Hall, which has been serving up comedy in the Ozarks for nearly 20 years. The nine-member cast specializes in delivering the laughs through impersonations of legends like Cher, the Blues Brothers and more. They also flex their musical talents with the impressive Main Street Opry. No matter the season, the Main Street Music Hall is a source of great family fun.

Family friendly

Families looking for the experience of a lifetime are in for a real treat as Lake of the Ozarks has some unique activities you can only get here.

Missouri state parks have recorded nearly 6,400 caves in the state, many of which are show caves open to guided public tours. Bridal Cave, located in Camdenton, is such a cave and has been rated at one of the most scenic caves in the nation. What’s more, it’s a cave that you can tour at night.

Legend has it that the son of Native American chief who lived on the shores of Ha Ha Tonka married a woman from a rivaling tribe in what is now known as the cave’s Bridal Chapel. Pioneering explorers uncovered the cave’s secrets over the years, and now families can experience the cave as they once did—by lantern. Bridal Cave’s 75-minute Lantern Tour is a one-of-a-kind way to bring history to life in one of the great wonders of the region.

Once you surface from your cave adventure, look to the night sky for the next marvel Lake of the Ozarks has to offer: fireworks. You can enjoy these booming displays all summer long, not just on Fourth of July, and often you have your choice in venue. The professional pyrotechnics can be spotted on a dinner cruises, at campgrounds or at a cabin by the lake. Sit back, relax and bask in the glow of this beloved summertime classic that will delight the entire family.

The lake also gives a new meaning to hot summer nights with the car show cruise-in on the Bagnell Dam Strip, Hot Summer Nights. Throughout the summer, a variety of classic cars, hot rods, motorcycles and more will line up to parade down the strip while families gather to enjoy delicious food, games, live entertainment and helicopter rides.

While you’re there, it’s a great opportunity to hang out at the strip’s Dogpatch Arcade and show the kids how electronic games were played back in your day. Its endless Skee Ball and coin-operated vintage arcade games combined with contemporary staples like Dance Dance Revolution and Deal or No Deal will provide hours of entertainment. Scrounge up some loose change and embark on some wonderfully nostalgic entertainment that will thrill both the young and the young at heart.

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Surging spirit

Lake of the Ozarks is the perfect locale for a couples’ getaway, and it doesn’t get any more romantic than a candlelit dinner on the water. Departing from the west end of the Grand Glaize Bridge, Celebration Cruises hosts a two-hour Candlelight Dinner Cruise every Saturday evening where you can savor their delightful menu while you relax and drink in the sunset, scenic views and gorgeous lakefront homes.

Are you a night owl who’d prefer a more active itinerary? Perfect, because cruises aren’t the only way to experience the lake at night! When the sun’s glow has finally faded and most of the boaters dock for the evening, the fish take advantage of the calmer waters to feed. It is the perfect time to partake in the lake’s most popular pastime of fishing. Night fishing charters are available through a variety of companies with experienced guides who can lead you to the hotspots and, if you’re lucky, those spots where the local fishermen go. 

The fun is just beginning when the sun sets over the lake. Day or night, an adventure awaits around every corner; all you have to do is point to a location on the Lake of the Ozarks map and dive right in.

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Fill your nights with fun at Lake of the Ozarks