Casinos close to the Lake

Once or twice a year, Karen Calvert hops on a bus and heads to Downstream Casino to play the penny slots. Taking along a friend, Calvert and a bus load of her fellow Elks Lodge members, will stay overnight for a quick getaway to enjoy everything the casino and resort has to offer.
Organized by Karen Iverson, of the Osage Beach Elks Lodge, the trips normally take place in the spring and fall, and anyone from the public can tag along. For about $95 a person each participant gets the ride, overnight accommodations, $20 of game play, and a dinner buffet upon arrival.
Calvert says Iverson makes the trip fun by having games (with cash prizes), snacks and drinks ready to go for the bus ride down. It makes the 3-hour long trip more enjoyable, she says.
Iverson is planning the next trip in October. The bus holds about 50 people and usually fills up fast. More information is posted on Elks Lodge #2517 on Facebook.

Missouri, and adjoining states, have several casinos offering entertainment, spas, nightlife, lots of food and of course, gaming. Some offer easy ways to get there through charter services. Here’s a look at a few of the top casinos within driving distance.

Downstream Casino
Located on the Missouri/Oklahoma/Kansas borders, Downstream Casino offers a full casino, lodging, entertainment and shows, golf and a spa.  
Every Tuesday Downstream Casino has a bus that picks up Lake area passengers for a one-day trip to the casino. Pickup is at 7:45 a.m. at the WalMart in Camdenton. You’ll have all day to play before departing the casino at 6:15 p.m. to come back home. They also have other routes with pick-up locations in Butler, Nevada, Lamar, Lebanon, Warsaw, Springfield and Branson. The ride is free, and you’ll receive $10 to play and a free lunch buffet. First-come, first-served. No reservations needed.
Once there, and if you get tired of gambling, you can take a shuttle to the Eagle Creek Golf Club to play a round at this 18-hole championship course (although that might be more than you can pack into one day). Mickey Mantel’s childhood home is also in the area. Or stay at the casino and relax at the spa with a massage, facial, manicure or any of the other treatments offered so you can leave feeling rested.

While You’re There
Ever stood in three states at once? There are a few tri-state markers across America and one is located right next to Downstream Casino. On your way to the casino, look for the marker, and make a quick stop for a picture. You’ll be standing on the borders of Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma.

Isle of Capri
Just an hour-and-a-half from the Lake, Isle of Capri is another casino and hotel that has it all. There are three on-site restaurants, plenty of rooms for staying the night, a 24-hour fitness center, and entertainment.
Test your luck at any of the 20 game tables and the 900 slot and video poker machines.
The casino is located near the downtown area of Boonville where there is a lot to see and do, so even though it is close to the Lake, we recommend making it an overnight trip. It’s right off of the Katy Trail (bike rentals are available), and there are lots of boutique stores for a unique shopping experience. Car buffs can schedule a tour of the Lewis Miller’s Mitchell Collection museum, home to the most extensive exhibit of its kind.

While You’re There
The only remaining Spanish Mission style depot left on the MKT Railroad, the Katy Depot is a must-see. It’s been fully restored and the trail head for the Katy Trail is located there, too. Home to the chamber of commerce, stop in and pick up a copy of the self-guided walking trail guide. There are more than 400 sites on the National Registry of Historic Places in Boonville so a walking tour would be a great way to spend the afternoon. 

Hard Rock Hotel
It’s as close to Vegas as you can get. Escape to Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Tulsa, Okla. There are over 450 rooms and suites at this casino with state-of-the-art amenities. The casino has more than 2,600 electronic games, a poker room and table games spread out along the casino floor.
The Spa at Hard Rock is open daily featuring a wide range of services. Even the pool is open until 12 a.m.  
While in Tulsa, there’s plenty to do. Concerts, performing arts, parks, shopping … plan your trip to coincide with a special event or find something you are interested in seeing. The world’s largest collection of art and artifacts from the West is found at the Gilcrease Museum. The Tulsa Zoo and Living Museum is also a big hit with visitors.
The Gathering Place is a new, interactive riverfront park that is free. There are more than 100 unique experiences and it has been called a one-of-kind place to visit.

While You’re There
The Philbrook Museum of Art was a private home built in the 1920s. The 72-room Italian-inspired home on 23 acres of gardens has unique works of art from around the world, especially Native American art. Special events, including films on the lawn, are often held.

Ameristar Casino Hotel
Located off of I-435 in Kansas City, you’ll find one of the largest casino floors in Missouri with casino games that includes slots and video poker, table games, a Baccarat Pit and Poker Room. There are fine dining options, casual dining and places to get a quick bite to eat. The Buffet is a favorite where you’ll get to sample cuisines from all over the world.
There’s still plenty of entertainment found off the casino floor with an 18-screen movie theater and arcades. The Star Pavilion has a lineup of entertainment and is equally impressive. In September, comedian Bob Saget, and musicians Queensrÿche and Air Supply will perform. In October Gladys Knight and Montgomery Gentry are scheduled to make an appearance. Adults can check the kids into Kids Quest where they will experience all kinds of activities while they get away to enjoy small batch craft beers, take in a show for the night and check out the craps table.

Why You’re There
What isn’t there to do in Kansas City? Within about 25 minutes of the Ameristar Casino Hotel you’ll find The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, the Kansas City Zoo, Worlds of Fun amusement park, Union Station (pictured) and The Plaza. Just about everything is at your finger tips.

Hollywood Casino
It’s the largest casino in St. Louis with 120,00-square-feet filled with more than 2,200 gaming machines and 60 game tables.
Every Friday and Saturday Boogie Nights brings in the best live musicians and DJs so you can dance the night away — or at least until 3 a.m.
A little bit of everything can be found in the selection of seven different restaurants including a taste of The Hill at Charlie Gitto’s Italian restaurant located inside the casino.
The Hollywood Casino Ampitheatre will host Kid Rock and Hank Williams Jr. on October 4. Check their calendar for more upcoming entertainment.

Why You’re There
The first state capital is located in St. Charles, just across the river, and the city is filled with history. During the holidays it’s a popular place to visit for a getaway with its Main Street charm. The city is also known as the starting point for Lewis & Clark’s expedition.