More than 4 million people come to our slice of paradise every year. Boating, fishing and shopping top the list of things to do — that’s why we are featuring some of the things everyone should do while visiting the Lake. Summer is here, so kick back, relax and check these things off of your to-do list this season.

More than 4 million people come to our slice of paradise every year. Boating, fishing and shopping top the list of things to do — that’s why we are featuring some of the things everyone should do while visiting the Lake. Summer is here, so kick back, relax and check these things off of your to-do list this season.

Waterfront Lures

Restaurants and bars on the water have the best lures to reel in guests. Pirate ships set sail for treasure from Jolly Rogers at the 4.5 mile marker, and yachts ply the waters for romantic sunset cruises from Tan-Tar-A Resort. Others are command-central for spectacles of speed. Beaver’s at the Dam is the Lake Race’s headquarters in June. Captain Ron’s is home to the world-renowned Shootout August 25 and 26.

The Lake of the Ozarks Convention and Visitor Bureau hosts two boating events, the spring and fall Harbor Hops. Families and friends gather to boat from one waterfront bar and restaurant to another, hoping to draw the winning hand and a cash prize at the end of the day.

Several waterfronts bait customers with swim-up bar service. Some have bright water slides ending in a splash pool next to a bar. Other waterfronts provide sandy beaches with annual truckloads of clean sand poured and raked.

Boat slips welcome guests from the waterside, and ample parking lots make room for auto traffic. Outdoor seating allows parents to relax as the sun sets while their children splash or play sand volleyball nearby. Waterfront owners know families stay together at the Lake so they create spaces for every generation.

Different cuisines draw customers, too. For those who enjoy the spicy kicks of Cajun and Creole, there are places specializing in them. Others highlight Key West and Cabo flavors with seafood salads and ahi tuna. All offer Lake favorites, including fried fish sandwiches, nachos, burgers, and fries.

Making Memories

Many adults with graying hair smile and wax nostalgic when recalling their childhood days at Lake of the Ozarks. One memory many have in common involves winning prizes at arcades or sinking a hole-in-one at a local miniature golf course. Some recall the thrill of speed behind the wheel at a go-cart track and the experience of weightlessness while airborne after a fine bounce on a trampoline. A few pretended to be pinball wizards, Minnesota Fats, or a dart champion.

Game Time

Lake of the Ozarks still has all of that and more for fun on land, especially along the Bagnell Dam Strip and at resorts. Visitors will find classic arcade and pinball games at Dogpatch on the Strip and Connect Four at Coney Island and Pizza. Giant Jenga, pool tables, shuffleboards, and darts are part of the décor and fun at bars all around the Lake.

Adrenaline Rush

Three miniature golf courses in Lake Ozark and Osage Beach present different challenges. Some also offer go-karts, but businesses solely devoted to go-karts also thrive at the Lake. In addition, trampoline parks, paintball courses, and laser tag venues pump adrenaline through veins in need of a workout.

The Great Escape

Most vacation destinations these days feature an escape room, and the Lake is no exception. On the Strip is Lake Escape with three different rooms to challenge gamers. A fourth is conducted in cooperation with Stark Caverns, near Eldon, for an underground mystery in a beautiful setting. You will be “locked” inside the cave and will have to solve the clues to get out.

Fore!

Home to more than 10 golf courses, visitors could spend a full day walking the green and honing their skills. Rolling hills and manicured tees are beauty enough, but the Ozark bluffs add majesty.

For those fit enough to climb those hills, then Dragon Ridge Disc Golf Course at Camdenton’s City Park is a must. Recognized worldwide as one of the most extensive and challenging courses, disc golfers travel long distances just to join locals and play the course.

Sightseeing

Few people walk across Bagnell Dam without marveling at its engineering. What began as a private endeavor now serves as the lynchpin for a vacation destination as well as a power source for millions of homes and businesses.

Step Back in Time

The story of Bagnell Dam can be read and viewed while touring Willmore Lodge in Lake Ozark. Photos and narratives recount the story of the dam’s beginnings. Further on, in Tuscumbia east of Eldon just off Highway 54, the Miller County Museum includes exhibits about those who built the dam and some equipment used. This museum also tells the story of those who founded and built Miller County. Another museum with links to the dam’s history is the Camden County Museum in the former Linn Creek schoolhouse. Artifacts from towns displaced by the dam’s waters as well as towns still standing throughout the county are on display. The museum also hosts regular dinner theater performances and events to raise money. On the Lake’s northern edge is the Morgan County Museum housed in an old hotel that was once home to travelers passing through before the Lake existed. Industries that brought Versailles to life are remembered as are the styles and trends from days long gone.

Shop for Souvenirs

Lake Ozark and the Bagnell Dam Strip began with roadside attractions, including the iconic Dogpatch village. The name and the business, through much has changed, still stands. Inside the store today are artifacts from the store’s past. Another historic store, Davis Baskets, west of Camdenton on Highway 54, carries handwoven native Missouri baskets plus Ozarks souvenirs spanning 70 years in business.