Lake of the Ozarks

Finding Fun On Land

Finding Fun On Land

There’s more to the Lake of the Ozarks than just the Lake

The Lake of the Ozarks is known for its activities on the water, but there’s plenty happening on shore, too. From the excitement of go-karts and water parks to the relaxation of wineries and spas, there’s no shortage of things to do around the Lake of the Ozarks.

A child and her mother ride in an Army-themed go-kart and two children ride in an M&M’s-themed go-kart at Gran Rally Go Karts in Osage Beach, Missouri

Take a few turns around the track

There are several go-kart tracks around the Lake, but Gran Rally Go Karts is a favorite, billing itself as the only locally owned track in the area. The staff has a reputation for being friendly and helpful.

But this track has more than local appeal, as it’s often considered to have the fastest go-karts at the Lake of the Ozarks. The course has some hairpin turns, but these karts are smooth enough to handle it.

Gran Rally has both single- and double-seat karts, which are perfect for families who want to give the young ones a feel for racing. It’s located in Osage Beach, right in the heart of the Lake’s entertainment district.

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Splashing around on the shore

Even on land, you’re never too far from water activities at the Lake of the Ozarks. There’s quite a bit of variety, too, with one outdoor park and another indoors.

Big Surf Waterpark is in Linn Creek, just south of Osage Beach, and it promises fun for guests of any age. There are long, winding tubes and slides for the more adventurous swimmers, and cool, calm pools and “lazy rivers” for those looking to relax. One of their newest features is Zambezi Falls, a three-story drop down a half-pipe full of rushing water.

A little girl in a bathing suit wearing sunglasses sits by the pool at the Timber Falls water park at Tan-Tar-A Resort in Osage Beach, Missouri, and two women ride on an inflatable raft down a waterslide at Big Surf Waterpark near Lake of the Ozarks in Linn Creek, Missouri

Tan-Tar-A Resort offers many amenities, including an indoor water park, Timber Falls. This tree-house-inspired park and playground features a pool, lazy river and hot tub surrounding its namesake—an oversized bucket that tips every couple of minutes, pouring 700 gallons of water on whomever stands below.

These two Lake of the Ozarks water parks are must-visits for families (or fun-loving adults).

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Who’s up for spelunking?

Many people might not know that Missouri is known as the “Cave State,” but these central Missouri attractions offer an interesting change of pace from other activities around the region.

Bridal Cave, located near Camdenton, is among the most-visited attractions in the area. Long before it was a magnet for tourists, it was used by the Osage Native Americans for weddings, giving Bridal Cave its name. Visitors who take the tour will hear that story and more as they walk past beautiful formations and the crystal-clear Mystery Lake.

A family tours one of the caves near Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri

Farther north, in Versailles, explorers can check out Jacob’s Cave. It also has its share of history, as it has been open to visitors since 1932. Tourists will enjoy all the natural beauty of the cave, with pools, rock formations and what may be the world’s largest geode—a cavity in the rock lined with crystals. Jacob’s Cave is also the largest cave in the Lake of the Ozarks area.

To the east in Eldon, Stark Caverns completes an impressive trifecta of Lake of the Ozarks caves. Hour-long tours of Stark Caverns include information on history, geology and ancient artifacts. It just reopened last year after closing in 2016. Beautiful pools and occasional waterfalls are some of the highlights of this cave.

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Hit the links

The Lake of the Ozarks has developed a reputation as a premier destination for golfers, with good reason.

Old Kinderhook, in Camdenton, is a par-71 course on beautiful 700-acre grounds. It’s one of central Missouri’s top courses thanks to elevation changes and topography.

Hole seven—a par three, which is the course’s shortest—includes a deep ravine that golfers must cross to reach the green. Alternatively, hole 14, a par five, is the longest at Old Kinderhook, where golfers face an uphill climb with water along the left side of the hole.

Osage National Golf Resort, in Lake Ozark, has 27 holes, 18 of which were designed by the great Arnold Palmer. As expected, it’s one of the most beautiful courses in the state.

The course features five sets of tees, allowing golfers of all talents the appropriate challenge. Gold tees will give you more than 7,200 yards, but there are plenty of options for less seasoned golfers.

You’ll find another 18 holes at The Oaks, one of the golf courses at Tan-Tar-A Resort. This course is another sight to behold, with tree-lined fairways and beautiful views of nature.

The Oaks is known for its playful approaches and dozens of bunkers and water hazards. In 1994, this course even hosted the PGA Professional Championship, challenging some of the top pros in the country.

Lodge of the Four Seasons also offers fabulous golf in the form of Seasons Ridge, one of two championship golf courses at the resort. Course architect Ken Kavanaugh made use of the beautiful natural terrain to design this 18-hole, par-72 course.

All of these courses offer plenty of amenities off the fairway, including fully stocked pro shops, restaurants, bars and more.

A mother helps her daughter swing the putter and a boy tries to putt a Pokeball-painted golf ball into the hole at Sugar Creek Miniature Golf in Lake Ozark, Missouri

Hit the (mini) links

If nine-irons and sand traps are a bit much, maybe windmills and clown mouths are more your speed. The Lake of the Ozarks has many miniature golf courses, including Sugar Creek Miniature Golf, which most resembles a classic golf course thanks to its placement among trees and other natural beauty. Located in Lake Ozark, it offers two 18-hole courses that are among the more challenging mini-golf courses in the area.

While Sugar Creek plays up the beauty of the Ozarks, Pirate’s Cove Adventure Golf, in Osage Beach, takes mini-golfers back to the 18th-century world of buccaneers. With footbridges, waterfalls, caves and two 18-hole courses, Pirate’s Cove is truly the adventure it promises.

Also in Osage Beach is Putt N’ Stuff Family Fun Center, which features two 18-hole courses with traditional miniature golf obstacles, plus bumper cars and the nearby Gran Rally Go Karts. The newly remodeled courses feature caves, rivers, waterfalls and several memorable animal statues.

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Lean back and relax

For the ultimate relaxation, Lake of the Ozarks spas boast many excellent options.

Spa Shiki, at Lodge of Four Seasons in Lake Ozark, was designed to honor Asian culture. The spa’s offerings reflect Asian philosophies and aim to balance a visitor’s “chi.” You’ll find facials, manicures, pedicures and massage therapy, among other services.

Also in Lake Ozark is Spa 54, located at Camden on the Lake Resort. Lake views are part of the experience at this full-service spa, whose offerings include aromatherapy massage, facials and hair removal services. This Aveda spa also offers hair cutting and styling services by appointment, as well as body treatments such as body polish and body wrap.

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The budding wine country

There are a handful of beautiful Lake of the Ozarks wineries that boast delicious and complex wines.

Shawnee Bluff has a winery in Lake Ozark and a vineyard in Eldon. The winery offers brick-oven pizza, wine tastings and wine by the glass and bottle. The outdoor patio offers a wonderful view of the Lake.

Seven Springs Winery, in Linn Creek, is tucked away between beautiful Ozarks trees, making it a favorite venue for weddings. They also offer snacks, salads, sandwiches and wraps, in addition to a variety of wines.

On the north shore is Buffalo Creek Winery, in Stover. This winery offers tours that give visitors a look into the winemaking process. In addition to their many grape wines, Buffalo Creek produces peach and persimmon wines made from locally grown fruit.

Golden Rock Winery in Camdenton offers a casual atmosphere, with wines made from grapes from all around the world. Its kitchen serves up pizza, sandwiches, appetizers and more. This winery also offers complimentary tastings daily.

Sugarloaf Vineyard in Camdenton specializes in wines made from the Norton and Chardonel grapes that they grow themselves. While they no longer offer wine tastings, they do still sell some of their wines and are focused on kayak rentals at the vineyard.

Whether you’re interested in racing around the track, going for a swim, teeing off or relaxing with a glass of wine, Lake of the Ozarks has anything you’d want for your next vacation.

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