Lake of the Ozarks

Where to stay when you come to play on your next extended weekend getaway

It may come as a surprise to those unfamiliar with Central Missouri’s Lake of the Ozarks that the area’s accommodations are just as varied and diverse as the year around activities. The “Best Recreational Lake in the Nation” offers so much for visitors to see and do that many return season after season and/or year after year. Whether it’s on-the-water fun, playing a round of golf, fishing for trophy bass or delicious crappie, exploring two state parks, cruising the historic Bagnell Dam “Strip,” attending a concert, or just taking it easy, there’s a little bit of something for everyone. And the same can be said of where visitors can stay at the Lake while they play at the Lake, too.

“We have such an impressive selection of accommodations at the Lake that sometimes the hardest but most fun part of planning your vacation is deciding where you want to stay,” says Lagina Fitzpatrick, executive director of the Tri-County Lodging Association. “Whether it’s a resort, condo or vacation home, cabin or campground, bed and breakfast or familiar hotel, there’s no shortage of options to choose from, no matter the size of your group or your budget. When you visit the Lake, you know you’ll be comfortable and have a great time.”

In the early days of the Lake of the Ozarks, small mom-and-pop resorts and motels where visitors could enjoy their family vacations and get a good night’s sleep dominated the lodging landscape. Over the last 90 years, the selection of accommodations has increased tremendously in both scale and in style, though some of the smaller, family-owned and operated resorts are still a mainstay for travelers.

For an original and authentic feel of the Lake’s early days, family resorts and fishing lodges offer a variety of accommodations from motel rooms to cabins to condominiums. Most of these resorts have grown up with the Lake, offering affordable accommodations for fishermen, friends and families. They’re great for reunions and other large groups that want options for all types of travelers and offer all the amenities families need to have fun. Kids will enjoy pools and playgrounds and adults will be happy to find the resorts offer docks (some with boat rentals), fishing guides and fish cleaning stations. At the end of the day everyone can come together at onsite restaurants, game rooms or other gathering places. Many are open year round for those who want to take advantage of the crappie bite in the early spring, either from boats or from the heated docks at some resorts.

Visitors who come to the Lake for championship golf can choose to stay where they play, making early tee times easy. Savvy golfers look for stay-and-play packages offered by the courses at the Lake, or through the Lake of the Ozarks Golf Trail’s Getaway Package Program, which offers affordable packages through its 12-member courses and participating local lodging establishments. Depending on the accommodations, golfers can enjoy a view of the fairways and/or greens or the shimmering waters of the Lake of the Ozarks when they are kicking up their feet after their round is over. Visitors can call an individual course or learn more about the Golf Trail at www.LakeOfTheOzarksGolfTrail.com.

Lakeside condominiums and vacation rental homes offer beautiful views and more, including boat slips for those who bring their own boats or personal watercraft. Choosing a vacation rental – whether a stand-alone home or a condominium – allows travelers all the comforts of home and is a great way for families or groups of friends to stay together but have separate spaces, as well. Most come with fully-equipped kitchens, decks or patios, barbecue grills and just about everything else someone might need for a relaxing home-away-from-home.

Beautiful full-service resorts at the Lake of the Ozarks offer guests a complete array of amenities and activities, all in one location. Larger resorts offer top-of-the-line amenities like championship golf courses, fully-equipped marinas, nationally recognized spas and hair salons, along with luxury accommodations right on the Lake. With both casual and elegant on-site restaurants, dining won’t be a concern. Other amenities can include tennis, swimming pools, playgrounds, parasailing, Lake cruises and organized children’s programs. Visitors staying at one of these expansive resorts can experience both luxury and comfort while having an incredible Lake of the Ozarks vacation without ever having left their resort.

Numerous bed and breakfasts around the Lake of the Ozarks offer the opportunity for a peaceful, romantic retreat and/or a girlfriend getaway. These comfortable and charming homes dot the area and offer a quiet respite for busy couples or best friends to relax and reconnect with each other and/or celebrate a special occasion. Each bed and breakfast is unique and reflects the personality of the innkeepers. All feature well-appointed rooms with the comforts of home, plus extra perks such as luxury linens, jacuzzis and hot tubs, stunning lakeside views and delicious made-from-scratch breakfasts and personal touches provided by the hosts. These things combined make it easy to forget about everything else but the one(s) you’re with.

There are many ways to enjoy the “Best Recreational Lake in the Nation,” but one of the most memorable is sleeping under the stars and enjoying the splendor of an Ozark moon while sitting around the warm glow of a campfire. Camping and RVing are fantastic ways to enjoy the company you are with while also experiencing the natural beauty of Central Missouri’s Lake of the Ozarks.

Over 20 campgrounds and RV parks can be found throughout the Lake area and offer all the amenities campers and RVers appreciate, especially Lake views and cool, shady comfort from the area’s forests. Choose from a secluded, out-of-the-way campsite or one that’s right in the thick of the action.

Whether a visitor’s ideal camping trip consists of pitching a tent and unrolling a sleeping bag, pulling a pop-up camper or fully-equipped fifth wheel, or even “glamping” in a comfortable cabin complete with air conditioning and pre-made beds, there are options at the Lake to suit everyone’s style. And, regardless of where campers set up camp, they will be close to a wide variety of family-friendly attractions and activities so they can be as active or laid-back as they want to be.

The Lake of the Ozarks’ wealth of attractions for fun-seeking families makes choosing the perfect accommodations a key part of planning a Lake getaway. Vacationers will want to stay as long as possible, so pick the area resort, hotel, motel, condominium, private home rental, bed and breakfast, RV park or campground that’s an ideal match for your needs. For more information, visit www.funlake.com.

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