Articles by John Neporadny Jr. - June
Lake of the Ozarks is premier vacation spot
By John Neporadny Jr.
With so much to do and see at Lake of the
Ozarks, anglers visiting this great bass fishery must make sure they set aside
plenty of time so they and their families can enjoy the total lake experience.
“It is Mid-America’s premier vacation
destination with all kinds of boating and water activities,” says Jim Divincen,
executive director of the lake’s Tri-County Lodging Association. “We have
different lodging facilities to meet all types of budgets.”
The lake’s hotels and resorts offer a wide
array of lodging choices (6,000 units) including family oriented resorts on the
waterfront, well-known motel chains, rental condominiums and bed-and-breakfast
accommodations. There are also 1,500 campground sites available for the outdoor
High on a visitors’ must-see list are the
area’s two state parks, HaHa Tonka in Camdenton and Lake of the Ozarks in
Osage Beach. Both parks offer hiking trails, boat docks and picnic areas.
“HaHa Tonka State Park continues to be one of
our highest visitors’ satisfaction activities,” says Divincen. High atop a
250-foot bluff at the park are the ruins of an early 20th-century stone castle
built by Robert McClure Snyder, a prominent Kansas City businessman who imported
stonemasons from Scotland to make sure his private retreat would rival the
castles of Europe. The park is also Missouri’s premier showcase of karst
topography with a honeycomb of tunnels, eight caverns, springs, a 70-foot wide
natural bridge that spans 60 feet and stands more than 100 feet high and
sinkholes, including a 500-foot long by 300-foot wide sinkhole called the
The Lake of the Ozarks State Park is Missouri’s
largest state park covering 17,441 acres with more than 80 miles of lake
frontage. The park’s log buildings, rustic bridges and stone ditch dams built
by the Civilian Conservation Corps are listed on the National Register of
Historic Places. Another park attraction is Ozark Caverns, a short, spacious
cave featuring a unique hand-held lantern tour that includes viewing the “Angels’
Showers” an endless flow of water that falls from the rock ceiling into two
massive bowl-shaped stone basins on the cave floor.
The lake also features two other underground
attractions—Bridal Cave in Camdenton and Jacob’s Cave near Versailles.
Bridal Cave was discovered by the Osage Indians centuries ago and features giant
columns, stalactites, stalagmites and Mystery Lake. Jacob’s Cave is the
largest and most decorated cave in the lake area with a one-mile tour over a
level concrete walkway.
Families will discover plenty of attractions
for kids at the lake. One of the top fun spots is Big Surf Water Park where the
family can enjoy Raging Rapids, the Space Bowl, the Wave Pool, Zambezi Falls and
other watery entertainment.
A couple of indoor amusement centers at the
lake include Miner Mike’s Adventure Town and Buster’s, a combining kids’
rides and high-tech games and simulations all under one roof; and Timber Falls
Indoor Waterpark that includes a three-story tree house, 600 feet of water
slides, activity pool, 21-seat whirlpool and a lazy river area all located in
Tan-Tar-A Resort. “Timber Falls is really neat for the kids no matter what the
weather outside is like,” says Divincen. Youngsters can also stay pretty busy
visiting the lakes seven miniature golf courses and seven go-kart tracks.
More family entertainment is available at Main
Street Music Hall in Osage Beach. The music hall features a two-hour variety
show packed with musicians, singers and comedians displaying their strong sense
of patriotism and singing gospel medleys.
For the shoppers in the family, the lake area
is one of the state’s major year-round retail centers. “We have the largest
premier outlet mall (Osage Beach Premium Outlets) in the state with 110 stores,”
claims Divincen. There are also more than 50 antique shops within 50 miles of
the lake. After shopping or enjoying any of the lake’s other activities, you
can satisfy your appetite at one of the lake’s 100 restaurants located on and
off the water.
Fifteen championship golf courses make the lake
area a great place for golfers as well as fishermen. Shooting enthusiasts can
also sharpen their skills at the Missouri Trapshooters Association’s shooting
range in Linn Creek and the indoor range (for pistols and bows) at Pistols Plus
gun store in Osage Beach.
All of these attractions make the Lake of the
Ozarks a great vacation place, but the top draw is the lake itself and its
various water activities such as swimming, boating and water skiing. The lake
features 31 marinas offering boat, houseboat and personal watercraft rentals.
Besides its great bass fishing, the lake is one of the best multi-species
fisheries in the state with thriving populations of crappie, white bass and
The watery environment makes the lake area an
ideal feeding and resting area for numerous species of wildlife, including a
large variety of birds. Some of the species bird watchers can view at the lake
include the great blue heron, hawks, ducks, wild turkey, pectoral sandpipers,
cliff swallows, terns, American goldfinches, ruby-throated hummingbirds, robins,
quail, eastern meadowlarks, belted kingfishers, pileated woodpeckers and
Covering 54,000 acres and running 92 miles, the
Lake of the Ozarks is a scenic panorama offering a wide range of leisure and
water activities that will excite visiting anglers and their families for as
long as they want to stay.
For information on lodging and
other facilities at the Lake of the Ozarks or to receive a free 162-page
vacation guide, call the Lake of the Ozarks Convention & Visitors Bureau at
1-800-FUN-LAKE or visit the Lake of the Ozarks Convention and Visitors Bureau
web site at www.funlake.com.
Copies of John Neporadny's book, "THE Lake of the Ozarks Fishing
Guide" are available by calling 573/365-4296 or visiting the web site www.jnoutdoors.com.