A summer of fun

Great ways to spend the season at Lake of the Ozarks

Charis Patires
Lake Sun Leader

Need something fun to do at the Lake this summer? Our ultimate guide will give you some ideas. Summer is here, so it’s time to get out and enjoy the Lake.

Big Surf is located in Linn Creek.

Waterparks

Big Surf Waterpark is best outdoor place to go for fun rides for all ages. Open daily through August 23, waterslides, the Lazy River, a 375,000 gallon wave pool, and Splash Island for younger kids make it a place for the whole family.

An indoor adventure awaits at Margaritaville’s Jolly Mon Indoor Waterpark featuring 600 feet of water slides, an activity pool, oversized whirlpool, a lazy river for tubing and the 600-gallon tipping bucket … just to name a few of the amenities.

Bear Bottom Resort has the two longest open flume body waterslides in Missouri. For a $12 admission you can ride the slides as much as you want all day.

The Calypso.

Be a pirate

Take a memorable cruise on board the Calypso, a gigantic pirate ship docked at Jolly Roger’s at the 4-mile marker of the Gravois Arm of the Lake. Choose between the Treasure Hunt Excursion where you’ll look for buried treasure on Skull Island or the Sunset & Fireworks cruises taking place July 3 & 4.

Hiking and biking trails are located all over the Lake area.

Take a hike

If there’s one thing the Lake has is amazing hiking trails. Between the Lake of the Ozarks State Park and Ha Ha Tonka State Park, there are plenty to choose from — some short, others quite treacherous. Make plans ahead of time by going to MDC’s website to find trails that might suit you best and always pack plenty of water and safety gear.

A variety of loaded milkshakes are on the menu at Malted Monkey in Lake Ozark.

Fun for the kids

The Malted Monkey on the Bagnell Dam Strip is a fun ropes/obstacle course that is a hands-on experience. Once you are done climbing through the course, a visit to the restaurant for a handcrafted shake or burger is a must. Another place you can go for a loaded milkshake on the water is Lake Burger located in the Gravois Arm of the Lake or Gravois Mills by land. If you visit either place, bring your appetite.

Dogpatch Arcade on the Bagnell Dam Strip.

Games & arcades

When it rains, it can be a challenge to find something to do at the Lake. Miner Mikes offers an indoor playground with two stories of arcades, indoor rides, a maze and Buster’s Garage — the largest indoor elevated electric go-kart track in the U.S.

On the Bagnell Dam Strip, Dogpatch Arcade is an open-air arcade with games for all ages.

Farmers Markets

There’s no better place to find local artisan gifts, fresh food and interesting merchandise than at one of the area's farmers markets. The Eldon Farmers Market is open on Fridays from 3-6 p.m. It is located at Rock Island Park.

The Osage Beach Farmers Market is in front of the Osage Beach Outlet Mall every Saturday from 9 a.m.-1 p.m.

The Camdenton Farmers Market is on the courthouse square from 7 a.m.-12 p.m. The Morgan County Farmers’ Market hosts vendors the 1st, 3rd, and 5th Saturday from 9 a.m.-noon. at the Morgan County Library.

In Sunrise Beach, the Sunrise Farm Market has the largest selection of garden decor, signs and outdoor plants. They also have plenty of fruits and vegetables, Mennonite baked goods and homemade jarred products. The Linn Creek Farmers Market is held Wednesdays 3-7 p.m. at the Camden County Museum.

Shawnee Bluff Winery.

Visit a Winery

Take in the views at local wineries while you sip on the finest Missouri wines. If you want a view for miles, Shawnee Bluff Winery in Lake Ozark is hard to beat. Their vineyard is located off of Highway 54 near Eldon and has a more secluded country-like setting. Seven Springs Winery in Linn Creek is a treat as you drive through the vineyard to get to the tasting room.

Spend the afternoon but remember to designate a sober driver!

The Morgan County Museum started as a hotel in the 1850s where rooms rented for 25 cents per day.

Get a history lesson

Camden, Miller and Morgan counties each have a museum to showcase area history.

Willmore Lodge features a museum but the building itself is historic and has great views of the Lake.

From 1930 until the mid-1970s, the Camden County Museum (206 S. Locust) in Linn Creek was the Linn Creek School. The Martin Hotel was once the oldest continuously-operated hotel owned by one family in the U.S. Now, the landmark hotel houses the Morgan County Historical Museum in Versailles. At the Miller County Museum you’ll get a feeling of pioneer days with a glimpse of life in the 1800s with rebuilt log cabins from the post Civil War era.

Check their websites for hours and locations.

Take a swing

Beautifully-manicured mini golf courses surrounded by wooded landscape can be found in the area. In Osage Beach, Pirate’s Cove and Putt N’ Stuff have two 18-hole courses to choose from, but you can always do both and take advantage of a discount.

In Lake Ozark, Sugar Creek is cool and shady with two 18-hole courses in a park-like setting. Margaritaville also has a small course.

Adults might want to venture out to one of the more than a dozen golf courses at the Lake. Don’t forget to book a tee time.

If the weather isn’t cooperating, LOZ Golf Lounge is an indoor rage with top-of-the-line simulators where you can play some of the best courses in the world.

Tour a cave

Three caves in the area offer a unique experience and a cool environment, especially in the heat of the summer. Bridal Cave in Camdenton is the most famous, since its Bridal Chapel has drawn more than 3,000 couples to have their weddings inside the cave.

Stark Caverns off of Hwy. 54 near Eldon has daily tours, a blacklight tour, lantern tours and an escape room as part of their attraction.

Jacob’s Cave is located between Versailles and Gravois Mills off of Hwy. 5. The tour is 100 percent handicap accessible.

There are many marinas that rent paddleboards by the hour.

Boating & paddling

Of course you can always rent a boat, and local marinas have you covered. Make sure to pack a cooler, lots of sunscreen and other necessities for a day out on the water. Stop by waterfront bars and restaurants where you will find many of them have pools to enjoy.

If you’d prefer to paddle your way around the Lake, a good spot to rent equipment is Paradise Marina and Watersports where you can rent stand-up paddleboards, kayaks and even aqua mats.  

While you are there you can also book a parasailing adventure to see the Lake from 600 feet in the air.

Life’s a beach

There are a couple of sandy beaches you can visit including the Grand Glaize Beach in Lake Ozark. Captain Ron’s in Sunrise Beach is a sandy spot with food and drinks served up lakeside. Coconuts opened up on the Bananas Water Park this year but also has a beach by the water.

Franky & Louie’s in Sunrise Beach is a popular spot.

Listen to music

Live music is in full swing at area venues both on and off the water. A great way to see who’s playing where is to check out our Lake Live Calendar but visit with your favorite venue to find out who they are hosting.

Main Street Music Hall has been entertaining audiences for years. The Main Street Opry offers a night of comedy, music, and impersonations all on one stage. Shows are Wednesday-Saturday during the summer.

For big-name acts coming to the Lake this season, check Ozarks Amphitheater, Shawnee Bluff Vineyard and the Regalia Hotel & Conference Center.