You came to the Lake to play in the water, to forget about work, and the daily grind. You are looking forward to tubin', boatin', noodlin', and covin' out for a few days with family and friends — but the 70+ degree water is not exactly where you want to be if it's raining.
You came to the Lake to play in the water, to forget about work, and the daily grind. You are looking forward to tubin’, boatin’, noodlin’, and covin’ out for a few days with family and friends — but the 70+ degree water is not exactly where you want to be if it’s raining. If you came with family, they are probably frustrated. If you invited friends, you are probably frustrated. On to “Plan B”…
We give you plenty of suggestions within minutes. So don’t give up on the weekend just yet. Here are a few ways to still have fun at the Lake, even if it rains.
1. Where It All Began
A great inside place to visit is the historic Willmore Lodge. Be sure you have your camera ready, the views are amazing. If the rain stops long enough you can take a stroll on the path through the lakeside gardens. A tailgate lunch or even a picnic would be enjoyable while you are there. Be sure you pick up a free area map. If you have any questions there is a very helpful local concierge to assist. The Lodge has a great history of the Lake with a walk-through, self-guided tour. Be sure to check the hours you plan to go.
2. Stroll The Strip
On your way, stop by Stewart’s Restaurant, serving breakfast since the early 1950s. They are home to the largest cinnamon rolls you’ve ever seen. As you move along the historic Bagnell Dam Strip, you will want to stop by any of the unique shops located along the way to pick up a few things for the folks you left back home. Dogpatch is a must, enjoy one of the rockers out front while the shoppers are inside. The Strip has a variety of unique shops, rain or shine you will want to plan a stroll to visit every one. And there are tons of places to eat. A great “off the water” restaurant is Tucker Shucker’s offering fresh oysters and a selection of 28 tap beers. They have balcony seating for people watching (the tourists, of course.)
The Strip offers many activities for the adults and the family with a variety of entertainment and dining choices. I am sure you won’t have trouble choosing a spot to get in out of the rain or the sun.
Make time for a quick stop at Grandma’s Candy Kitchen for a “tasting” — of fudge that is. They have a very large selection of candy and you can watch as they make fudge. Can you believe there are approximately 40 flavors of taffy to choose from? There are also sugar-free options. Local tip: Look for coupon books at information racks in most local restaurants or hotels where you might be able to find a coupon offering 1/2 pound of free fudge.
3. Indoor Movie
What about a movie at Eagles Landing 8 Cinema? Through August the theater offers a Summer Film Series for the family when admission only $3. If it rains on Tuesdays (you could only hope), for $5 you can get a box of popcorn and enjoy a movie. There are specials almost every day of the week.
While you are in the area, grab a bite to eat at one of the many diverse restaurants. If you are in the mood for Italian, Li’l Rizzo’s serves a great pizza and it is very family friendly. If you are looking for BBQ and you brought your bib, HalfSauced Barbeque, right on Osage Beach Pkwy., is unforgettable.
4. Retail Therapy
If it hasn’t stopped raining, head on down Highway 54 to the Osage Beach Outlet Markeplace. The Outlet shops have many current brands of clothing and lots of sale items.
The Lake also has unique boutiques tucked in the surrounding area. If you are a thrift store shopper, (my favorite kind of shopping), there are so many good ones. You might have to run in and out if it’s raining, but it’s so worth it. You just won’t believe the treasures waiting for you.
Ozarks Kat and K9 Thrift Store is located in Laurie on Hwy. 5. They have new items every day and be sure and check out the basement. Bear Market is located on Hwy. 54 in Camdenton. Name it, it’s there. The kids and the men in your group will enjoy shopping. Just up the street is the Dogwood Animal Shelter Thrift Shop, open six days a week. It is a small store, however, full of the best in treasures. And just think you are helping to feed and shelter animals in need.
While these are my three favorite thrift stores, where you go depends on your location where you want to shop. I believe it is called retail therapy…
If you are into the Magnolia Home style from Joanna Gaines, you will want to visit Country Crossroads located on Osage Beach Parkway. The shop has items of a distinctive nature, you will want as your own souvenir. Many people make a point to stop at Evergreen, also in Osage Beach, while at the Lake. Before you start groaning, they offer a “gentlemen’s lounge” with cookies, coffee and TV. Rain or shine, it’s great shopping.
Then just for the kids and the kids at heart, there’s Miner Mike’s (50,000 square foot) Indoor Family Fun Center. There are arcade games for every age. You feel like you are at a carnival with the amount of games, the small Ferris wheel and train roller coaster ride. Challenging your kids to a game of Skee-Ball will bring some laughter on a rainy day. There are new and upgraded games. Newest boast is the largest indoor elevated electric go-kart track in the U.S. The kids will want to go even if the sun is out, and the family will be ready for a nap at days end.
5. Eat & Drink
If you haven’t had lunch yet or it’s time for dinner, there are many other restaurants to choose from including these popular spots: Vista Grande, PaPPo’s Pizzeria and Pub, and Wobbly Boots.
You know the saying “Location, Location, Location?” If you can’t be on the water, at least be by the water. Enjoy a Lake view at Dog Days, one of the top rated waterfront restaurants and they have a pool (which you can enjoy between rain drops). Backwater Jack’s has entertainment most weekends and a great pool with a swim-up bar where you can order fresh sushi. Ask about their fried potato salad. Yes, fried. In either of these places you can eat in and still enjoy the Lake.
If you didn’t bring any kids along, Ozark Distillery and Brewery has an amazing tour for $5 per person which includes tastings of their many products. The structure looks like an 1800-era saloon. They are the oldest “legal distillery” in Camden County. Their claim-to-fame is the traditional method of making Ozark Moonshine with Missouri grown corn. Tours sell out quickly, so book in advance.
6. Try Something New
Bring the whole family to the Camden County Historical Society & Museum located in Linn Creek, open Monday through Friday. The museum has dinner theater presentations and programs for adults and children year-round, as well as special events. A Trip Advisor review calls it “A Hidden Gem.”
There are also other museums in the area to see but they are a bit of a drive from the Lake’s central location of Lake Ozark. The Morgan County Museum in Versailles is a 28-room hotel founded in 1853 with uniquely-decorated rooms in different themes. The Miller County Museum, outside of Tuscumbia, is only open during the warmer months of the year. Either way, you’ll learn a lot about the local history.
Did you know that Missouri is not only known as the Show Me State, but also as the Cave State? A cave is created with plenty of limestone, a mineral that can not be dissolved in groundwater. Geologists state you need water flowing downhill to provide “relief” which is uneven land, such as we have here in the Lake of the Ozarks. There are many caves a little further away from the Bagnell Dam area. A tour of the caves in the area could be a whole reason for a visit. What better place to be than under ground when it is pouring outside, or hot and sunny?
The four to tour in our area is Stark Caverns just outside of Eldon; Bridal Cave in Camdenton, Jacob’s Cave near Versailles, and Ozark Caverns located at the Lake of the Ozarks State Park. Each one is a unique experience. Check their websites for hours, cost and more information.
8. Go Fish
Did you ever think about fishing in the rain? Of course we aren’t advocating fishing during a lightning storm, but just because it’s raining doesn’t mean you can’t throw a line in. Rain breaks up the surface, creates current, and flushes nutrients into a waterbody – which are all things that create the perfect opportunity to get the catch of the day.