Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Make Central Missouri’s Lake Of The Ozarks Your Home-Away-From-Home For The Holidays

With many fun and festive events, spectacular shopping, impressive holiday light parks, delectable dining, entertaining musical shows and the entire community dressed up for the season,
Central Missouri's Lake of the Ozarks is the perfect home-away-from-home this holiday season.

The festive season at the "Best Recreational Lake" in the Nation begins on Thanksgiving but holiday visitors can get a head start on the festivities as early as Friday, Nov. 16 with the lighting of the Enchanted Village of Lights. This 27-acre drive-through light park is located at the Laurie Fairgrounds in Laurie on the westside of the Lake of the Ozarks and is open through January 1, 2019. Over 8,160 vehicles and 25,600 people visited the Lake's most popular light park last year. The Enchanted Village of Lights is open from 5 p.m. until 9 p.m. on weekdays and open until 10 p.m. on weekends. Admission is free to the light park, though donations are welcome as they go toward maintaining and expanding the light displays for future years.

In addition to the Enchanted Village of Lights, the Lake of the Ozarks' three other light parks open Thanksgiving weekend. Vacationers can experience the glow of holiday lights at the Osage Beach City Park, the Festival of Lights at St. Patrick's Shrine in Laurie, and the Unity Circle of Lights in the Versailles city park at the junction of Highways 5 and 52. Admission to all light parks is free but donations are welcome. For more information about the light parks, including hours of operation, visit

Thanksgiving also marks the opening of Old Kinderhook's annual Christmas Village and The Ice, Central Missouri's only outdoor ice rink. The resort's annual Christmas Village opens on Friday, Nov. 23, featuring visits from Santa and Mrs. Claus, elves, carolers, ginger bread house-making stations, horse-drawn carriage rides, and more. The Christmas Village will take place every weekend (Friday, Saturday and Sunday) until Christmas Eve. The Ice at Old Kinderhook will also be open for the season for casual holiday skating sessions and a "pond hockey" league. The hours for The Ice are from 1-10 p.m. Thanksgiving weekend. The rest of the winter, The Ice is open from 5-10 p.m. on weekdays and 1-10 p.m. on weekends. For more details, visit

Another longstanding Lake of the Ozarks holiday tradition kicks off on Friday, Nov. 23. Christmas on Main Street, at the Main Street Music Hall at 5845 Osage Beach Parkway in Osage Beach, features holiday carols, gospel hymns, comedy and musical impressions. The Christmas on Main Street shows take place at 7 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays and 3 p.m. on Sundays, from November 23 through December 22. For more details, including show dates, times and ticket prices, or to order tickets, call the Main Street Music Hall box office at 800-348-9501 or visit

Visitors can take in the spectacular sights of lighted lakefront homes and boat docks during the Deck the Docks holiday dinner cruises aboard The Celebration motor yacht from November 24 through December 29. The Deck the Docks cruises feature dinner and live musical entertainment and occur on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday evenings. Boarding for these two-hour cruises begins at 5:30 p.m. at 5085 Davis Drive at the west end of the Grand Glaize Bridge in Osage Beach. Proceeds from these holiday dinner cruises go to benefit the Dogwood Animal Shelter. For additional details on different cruises, prices or how to book a reservation, visit

In addition to the events and attractions listed above, there are many festive events taking place throughout the month of December at the Lake of the Ozarks. For a complete list of holiday open houses, Christmas parades, musical performances, plays, pageants and more, visit the event calendar at

Those looking to create a memorable holiday excursion to the Lake of the Ozarks can easily find the perfect accommodations for groups and families of all sizes. Accommodations at the Lake include resorts, cabins, condos, vacation homes, hotels, motels, bed and breakfasts, and RV parks. And, with special winter and holiday lodging rates, travelers can save as much as 40 percent off in-season rates. For all the different lodging options available around the Lake of the Ozarks, click on the "Places to Stay" tab at

The holiday season at the Lake of the Ozarks concludes with several New Year's Eve celebrations at many resorts, restaurants and bars. There will be live music, dinner and at dancing Camden on the Lake, The Inn at Grand Glaize, The Lodge of Four Seasons, Old Kinderhook and Tan-Tar-A Resort, just to name a few. 

For other holiday attractions, events, as well as all dining and lodging options available at the Lake of the Ozarks, visit the Lake of the Ozarks Convention and Visitor Bureau's award-winning website, Or, call 800-FUN-LAKE (386-5253).

Monday, October 15, 2018

Central Missouri’s Lake of the Ozarks Voted Second Best Destination for Fall Foliage in US

It was announced on Friday, Oct. 12 that the "Best Recreational Lake" in the NationCentral Missouri's Lake of the Ozarks, was voted the second-best "Destination for Fall Foliage" in America, according to a recent USA Today readers poll.

The survey, conducted by USA Today and, asked readers from across the country to choose their top spot for viewing the stunning colors of fall. Central Missouri's Lake of the Ozarks finished in the polling behind Michigan's Upper Peninsula, but beat out eight other destinations, including the Pocono Mountains, Door County in Wisonsin, the White Mountains in New Hampshire and others.

"Every autumn, we have many visitors return to the Lake of the Ozarks area for the changing of the seasons," says Tim Jacobsen, executive director of the Lake of the Ozarks Convention and Visitor Bureau. 

"The majority of our fall visitors come from Missouri, but we get a lot from all over the Midwest and the west coast, as well, because they don't get to experience fall like we do here in Central Missouri. They plan their entire vacations around it. Perhaps with this recognition, we'll see more visitors from around the country traveling to our beautiful destination to enjoy our stunning scenery. We would certainly welcome them."

Traditionally, the peak of the fall color at the Lake of the Ozarks occurs in mid- to late-October, when the maples, ashes, oaks and hickories - which abound around the area - are at the height of their fall display. The peak season varies from year to year depending on the weather and can last until early November.

The Lake of the Ozarks features 1,150 miles of shoreline, much of it lined with pristine stretches of hardwood forests that turn vibrant hues of red, orange and yellow. The Lake stretches across four counties, running 92 miles from end to end, so this expansive area makes for prime "leaf-peeping" action every year.

There are many excellent ways to experience the splendor of the season at the Lake of the Ozarks. On land, visitors can take self-guided scenic driving tours, hike in the area's two state parks, play a round at one of 14 championships golf courses or enjoy the scenery from a delicious lakeside restaurant. On the water, "leaf-peepers" can take in the sights on a leisurely cruise on the Lake of the Ozarks or by fighting fish in a colorful cove. 

However visitors decide to spend their time at the Lake, they will want to bring their cameras because they'll be in for a treat during one of the most visually stunning times of the year in the Ozarks.

For other attractions, events, as well as all dining and lodging options available at the Lake of the Ozarks, visit the Lake of the Ozarks Convention and Visitor Bureau 's award-winning website, Or, call 800-FUN-LAKE (386-5253).

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Ha Ha Tonka State Park Named Most Beautiful Place In Missouri

In a recent article published by Condé Nast Traveler, the Lake of the Ozarks' Ha Ha Tonka State Park, located at 1491 State Highway D near Camdenton, was named the most beautiful place in Missouri.

The article, which listed the most beautiful and compelling place in each of the 50 states, urges readers to consider the list as a "starting point to the most epic cross-country trip ever."

According to Condé Nast: "Picking just 50 places isn't easy, but we polled our Facebook followers, did some digging and came up with this list of the must-see, must-visit spots in each state. Of course, it only scratches the surface of what this country has to offer, so consider it your starting point and start exploring."

Central Missouri's Lake of the Ozarks, named the "Best Recreational Lake in the Nation" by readers of USA Today, is worth a road trip all on its own. The Lake of the Ozarks covers 54,000 acres with 64 billion gallons of water stretching 92 miles end-to-end across a four-county area. The Lake boasts myriad attractions and events as well as over 200 restaurants and nightspots and more than 50 marinas for on-the-water fun along its 1,150 miles of shoreline.

However, Condé Nast honed in on the area and named Ha Ha Tonka as the "Show-Me" state's must-see, must visit destination.  Widely considered one of the shining jewels of the Missouri State Parks system, Ha Ha Tonka also was voted the fourth-best state park in America by readers of USA Today a few years back.

"We're thrilled that Ha Ha Tonka State Park has been recognized as the most beautiful place in Missouri," says Jim Divincen, administrator for the Lake of the Ozarks Tri-County Lodging Association. "The park truly is stunning and we hear time and time again from many of our vacationers that Ha Ha Tonka is the highlight of their trip. It's one of many reasons why five million visitors come to the Lake of the Ozarks each year."

According to Ozark folklore, the park's name  - Ha Ha Tonka - is derived from the local Osage Native American phrase thought to mean "laughing waters," in reference to the large natural spring that pumps out over 48 million gallons of water per day.

The park's main attraction is the ruins of the 20th century "castle" perched high on a bluff overlooking Ha Ha Tonka Spring and the Lake of the Ozarks. The skeletal stone structure was originally constructed as an opulent country escape for Robert M. Snyder, a wealthy Kansas City business man who perished in one of Missouri's first automobile accidents. Snyder never lived to see his dream realized but the home was completed by his sons and later operated as a hotel before being gutted by a fire in 1942. In addition to the outer walls of the estate, a stone water tower also remains to stand sentry over the park.

Over 520,000 visitors trek to Ha Ha Tonka annually to explore the ruins as well as the 14 different hiking trails and the numerous natural highlights, including the spring, which is the twelfth largest in the state. 

The park is Missouri's premier showcase of karst geology and features a massive natural bridge, a steep-sided sinkhole named "The Colosseum," a 150-foot deep sink basin with two bluff shelters that were used as hide-outs by bandits in the 1830s and 250-feet high bluffs that tower above Ha Ha Tonka Spring.

The park also is home to one of Missouri's best examples of a woodland landscape as well as several large glades.

Located on the Niangua arm of the Lake, Ha Ha Tonka State Park is accessible by water as well as by land and offers opportunities for fishing and swimming in addition to boat docks, picnic tables, pavilions and a visitor center complete with a topographical map of the park carved out of stone. Ha Ha Tonka is open year around from 7 a.m. until dark and admission is free. 

To learn more about Ha Ha Tonka State Park, visit .

In addition to Ha Ha Tonka, the area also is home to Lake of the Ozarks State Park. The largest in Missouri, Lake of the Ozarks State Park encompasses over 17,626 acres and is consistently Missouri's most visited state park. For all the details on Lake of the Ozarks State Park, visit

Visitors that would like to find out more about lodging and dining options available at the Lake of the Ozarks, or to learn about all the different events and attractions, should visit the Lake of the Ozarks Convention and Visitor Bureau's (CVB) website at or call   800-FUN-LAKE (386-5253).

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Fireworks & Fun Scheduled for Labor Day Weekend 2018 at Lake of the Ozarks

Fireworks, festivities and live music add to the Lake of the Ozark's usual blend of fun on the water and on land during the Labor Day Weekend celebrations, Friday, Aug. 31 through Monday, Sept. 3.

Multiple lake-area resorts host large-scale fireworks displays throughout the weekend as a colorful send-off to the summer tourist season.

Bear Bottom Resort, located at 123 Bear Bottom Drive in Sunrise Beach, will entertain guests throughout the three-day holiday celebration with live music featuring the country-rock sounds of  Dirt Road Addiction from 7-11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday evenings. On Sunday, Bear Bottom features the impressive vocal performances of ChristiAna also from 7-11 p.m. On Saturday and Sunday nights, the resort will light up the sky with professional fireworks beginning  at 9:45 p.m. Fireworks also can be viewed from the water at the 38 Mile Marker of the Osage Arm of the Lake of the Ozarks. To find out more about the resort's holiday weekend activities or to reserve lodging for the festivities, call 573-374-6905 or visit .

Tan-Tar-A Resort, at 494 Tan Tar A Drive in Osage Beach, will host its annual "End of Summer Celebration" from Friday, Aug. 31 through Sunday, Sept. 2. On Friday evening, guests can enjoy free face painting and free popcorn in the main lobby of the resort. There also will be s'mores and a bonfire outside on Windgate Plaza from 8-9:30 p.m. Throughout the day on Saturday, there will be a mini-golf extravaganza with a chance to win passes to the arcade and/or bowling alley, an all-American burger cookout at the lakeside pool from 12-6 p.m. as well as a variety of fun games and contests. Cody West performs live music from 7-10 p.m. at the Tiki Hut Pool Bar. Sunday's schedule of activities includes more mini-golf fun, limbo and hula-hoop contests, an all-American burger cookout, and visits from Uncle Sam the Stilt Walker and Sprinkles the Clown. Live music featuring the acoustic sounds of Grayson Wood will take place in Mr. D's Lounge from 9-11:30 p.m. Tan-Tar-A's festive weekend is capped off on Sunday evening with a huge fireworks display beginning at dusk. Fireworks can be viewed from the resort or from the Lake at the 26 Mile Marker on the Lake main channel. In addition, the Tropic Island luxury yacht, which docks at Tan-Tar-A's marina, will have a sunset Lake cruise to watch the resort's fireworks. The cruise boards at 7:00 p.m., departs the marina at 7:30 p.m. and returns following the fireworks shortly after 9:30 p.m. Tickets for the cruise cost $30 per person and include light appetizers.  Children three years of age and under are free. To book the Tropic Island fireworks cruise, call 573-348-0083. For complete details on Tan-Tar-A Resort's weekend activities or to make lodging reservations, call 573-348-3131 or visit

Aside from the Tropic Island, there will be two other opportunities to see fireworks from a luxury yacht. On Saturday, Sept. 1, visitors to the Lake of the Ozarks can enjoy a scenic sunset cruise complete with fireworks on the Celebration II. This vessel docks and departs from 1006 Bagnell Dam Boulevard, near Bagnell Dam on the historic "Strip" in Lake Ozark. And, on Sunday, Sept. 2, the original Celebration cruises from its Grand Glaize location, 5085 Davis Drive in Osage Beach, to enjoy the fireworks from that section of the Lake. Boarding for both Celebration cruises will be at 7 p.m. with departure at 7:30 p.m. Each vessel will return to its marina at approximately 10 p.m. following the fireworks, which will take place around 9 p.m. Tickets are $35 for adults, $25 for children from 3-10 years of age and free for kids under 3 years. To purchase tickets or to learn more about the two Celebration yachts, call 573-480-3212 or visit

On Sunday, Sept. 2, The Lodge of Four Seasons, 315 Four Seasons Drive in Lake Ozark, hosts their "Family Labor Day Festival" for guests of the resort. For children, there's an indoor carnival with free activities in the Campana Hall from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. featuring games and contests as well as a cookie decorating station. There also will be waterslides outside on the lawn. During the carnival, there will be hot dogs and sweet treats available for purchase. For the adults, there will be wine samplings at HK's Restaurant from 1-3 p.m. And, there will be happy hour specials at Breezes from 4-6 p.m. and happy hour specials in the Lobby Bar from 10 p.m. until midnight. There will be water-focused activities throughout the day at the resort's cloverleaf pool and a barbecue buffet in Breezes from 4-9 p.m. The Lodge's spectacular fireworks begin at dusk and can be seen from the resort or by water at the 13 Mile Marker on the main channel of the Lake. To learn more about The Lodge of Four Seasons or to make reservations for lodging for the holiday weekend, visit

Elsewhere on Sunday, fireworks at the Inn at Grand Glaize, 5142 Osage Beach Parkway in Osage Beach, will begin at dusk and will be viewable by land at the Inn or by water at the 1 Mile Marker of the Grand Glaize Arm of the Lake. For additional details on the holiday activities taking place at the Inn, or to make lodging reservations,

If a vacationer's idea of a great holiday getaway consists of live music, there are several concerts taking place over the extended weekend.

The Horny Toad Entertainment Complex at  Camden on the Lake Resort
located at 2359 Bittersweet Road in Lake Ozark, hosts its annual "Contagious Labor Day Weekend," with repeat nightly live performances from one of the Lake-area's favorite  bands, Contagious. This full-service resort has a well-earned reputation for hosting great bands and great parties. Labor Day weekend will be no exception. The celebration kicks off on Friday and continues through Sunday night. Contagious, hailing from St. Louis, will play on the outdoor boardwalk stage overlooking the beautiful Lake of the Ozarks. Contagious performs contemporary and classic hits from a wide array of popular artists spanning the decades. The music starts at 9 p.m. and concludes around midnight on all three nights. For more weekend details or to book a stay, visit

Ozarks Amphitheater, the 10,000-seat outdoor music venue located at 2629 North Business Route 5 near Camdenton, celebrates Labor Day Weekend by welcoming back Aaron Lewis on Saturday, Sept. 1. Lewis, a Grammy-nominated, multi-platinum-selling recording artist, will be joined by country music star Drake White and up-and-coming country-rocker Alec Davis. Doors open at 6 p.m. with the show beginning at 7 p.m. Tickets start at $30. On Sunday, Sept. 2, for fans of the Netflix original series, "Ozark," the amphitheater hosts a free marathon watch party to celebrate the release of the second season of this gritty crime drama. The open-air screening begins at 12 noon and runs until the tenth episode is complete. Binge-watchers can expect to pay $10 for all-day parking and concessions will be available on-site . The Emmy-nominated show is intended for mature audiences and tells the fictional story of the Byrde family and stars Jason Bateman and Laura Linney.  For additional information or to order tickets for the Aaron Lewis concert, and/or to learn more about the free screening of "Ozark," visit

This is a highlight of some of the fun that awaits visitors at the "Best Recreational Lake in the Nation" over the upcoming holiday weekend.

For all attractions, events, as well as all lodging options available at the Lake of the Ozarks, visit  the Lake of the Ozarks Convention and Visitor Bureau 's award-winning website, Or, call 800-FUN-LAKE (386-5253).

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

30th Annual Lake Of The Ozarks Shootout Promises Fast Boats & Fun Times at The Lake

Some of the world's fastest boats will be in Central Missouri for two days of speed and nine days of entertaining events during the 30th Annual Lake of the Ozarks Shootout, August 18-26.

Heralded as one of the "must-see boating events" in the country by Powerboat Magazine, the Lake of the Ozarks Shootout is the largest unsanctioned boat racing event in the nation. Over 100,000 spectators turn out for the Shootout each year to witness  some of the fastest offshore powerboats in the world race individually to see who can clock the fastest speed as they compete for the coveted honor of "Top Gun."

According to Tim Jacobsen, executive director of the Lake of the Ozarks Convention and Visitor Bureau, the Shootout is a fun and exciting family-friendly event.

"The Shootout is certainly one of the most popular summer events at the Lake of the Ozarks and for a good reason," Jacobsen says. "It's an event that's unique to our lake and it's an amazing experience to see these incredibly fast boats fly across the water and hit top speeds of over 200 mph. And, the atmosphere at Captain Ron's is great. Everyone in attendance gets pumped up and cheers for the boats as they try to break the speed record. It really is a 'must-see' event."

The Shootout, celebrating its 30th anniversary, brings in about 100 boats to compete for top honors along the lake race course in front of Captain Ron's Bar and Grill. Captain Ron's is located on Lake Road 5-50 in Sunrise Beach or the 34.5 Mile Marker by water. Last year, the American Ethanol powerboat was awarded the overall "Top Gun" honor for the third year running after its best run clocked in at 204 mph. The eight-person American Ethanol team will be back again this year to defend their title and try to break the current Shootout speed record of 244 mph, set in 2014 by the Spirit of Qatar.

"There's a lot of excitement with it being the 30th anniversary," says Ron Duggan, the event coordinator and owner of Captain Ron's Bar and Grill. "Because of that we're expecting a larger crowd for the weekend. We also have some big name competitors signed up to race this year, so it's going to be really exciting and a great show for the crowd."

The races take place on Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 25 and 26 along the official three-fourths-of-a-mile-long track. There will be nearly 70 different race divisions with over 10 Top Gun class winners named over the course of the weekend. Divisions include professional, non-professional and manufacturer classes, among others.

Saturday's activities get underway with personal water craft races from 8:30-9:30 a.m., followed by the official opening ceremonies and national anthem at 9:45 a.m. The powerboat races begin after the opening ceremonies and continue until 5 p.m. Between powerboat races there also will be a powerboat parade by the local marine dealers as well as acrobatic aerial performances by Brian Correll Airshows. From 9 a.m. until 5 p.m., there will be a vendor village selling various goods and souvenirs and a racing village with the latest and greatest in performance engines and accessories on display. There will be over 60 different exhibitors present and both villages are open to the public. After Saturday's races conclude, there will be live music at Captain Ron's by Fat Mike and the Bartenders followed by Members Only. DJ Kyle will close out the evening after Members Only. The music will run from 6 p.m. until 1 a.m.

On Sunday, the vendor and racing villages will open at 9 a.m. and the high-octane action picks up with races taking place from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m.  The presentation of the 2018 "Top Gun" honors will take place during the awards ceremony at 4 p.m.

Many spectators choose to get a front row seat for the races by tying up their boats along the course outside of Captain Ron's. There are typically around 6,000 boats filled with onlookers cheering on the powerboats. On land, visitors can view the races on televisions at Captain Ron's. And, those who can't make it in person can watch live online at . 

Although the weekend races are certainly the largest draw, there are many other events that lead up to the action-packed weekend. Other activities and events include the Mini-Shootout the weekend of August 18 and 19 in the Ha Ha Tonka cove in Camdenton, which features remote-controlled boat races; the Great Lake of the Ozarks Shootout Treasure Hunt on August 20 in the sandy beaches at Captain Ron's; a Shootout Volleyball Tournament also at Captain Ron's on August 21 and the Shootout Hall of Fame Dinner and Induction Ceremony takes place at Cannon Smoked Saloon in Sunrise Beach on August 21.

The Shootout on the Strip meet and greet party takes place along the historic Bagnell Dam Strip in Lake Ozark the evening of August 22. The meet and greet is a great opportunity for the public to peek inside these incredible racing machines and meet the captains and crews of each participating vessel. There also will be fun and entertaining activities for children as well.

In addition, the heart-warming Wish Upon a Ride event takes place on August 23 from 12 p.m. until 4 p.m. at dock three at Captain Ron's. For Wish Upon A Ride, powerboat captains donate their time to give special powerboat rides to over 150 children and adults with disabilities and/or serious medical conditions providing them with an incredibly memorable experience that brings smiles to their faces as well as their families'.

There's the popular on-the-water poker run on August 24 with registration and breakfast running from 7:30 a.m. until 10 a.m. at Big Thunder Marina in Gravois Mills. The poker run concludes at Shady Gators Bar and Grill in Lake Ozark, at 6 p.m. At the completion of the poker run there will be a dinner and award ceremony as well.

Over the years, the Shootout has become one of the most popular summer events at the Lake of the Ozarks, as well as one of the most successful fundraisers for the community. Last year, the Shootout donated $200,000 to 28 local charities and eight fire departments. Duggan is hoping to surpass that figure for 2018 and he's proud to say that in the 10 years the Shootout has been held at Captain Ron's, they've generated $1.43 million for local Lake of the Ozarks charities.

For complete details on the 2018 Shootout, including information on lodging and parking as well as a full schedule of  activities , visit .  

For additional attractions, events as well as all lodging and dining options available at the Lake of the Ozarks, visit  the  Lake of the Ozarks Convention and Visitor Bureau's award-winning website,  Or, call   800-FUN-LAKE (386-5253).

Friday, June 29, 2018

Learn It, Do It And Love It at The Lake Of The Ozarks

When it comes to fun, there's no reason to sit on the sidelines and let the good times pass you by at Central Missouri's Lake of the Ozarks. With the variety of entertaining activities, visitors can partake in their favorite pastimes or embark on a journey of discovery trying their hand at new experiences. There are many opportunities to "learn it, do it and love it" at the "Best Recreational Lake in the Nation." Read on for a few ideas on how to discover new hobbies, create new family traditions and make a visit to the Lake of the Ozarks both a relaxing vacation and an exciting educational experience as well.

Ask any angler why they love to fish and they'll tell you it's the excitement and that electric sensation that travels through the body as you feel your line go taught and a fish fighting on the other end. "Whoa, I've got one!" After that, you're hooked. 

For anyone that's had an interest in learning the ropes or introducing their children to the age-old pastime, the professional fishing guides at the Lake are a great resource for anglers of any skill level. Novices can learn the basics: how to  properly cast with a spinning rod or a bait casting reel, what type of baits work best for each species and during which time of year. They'll also pick up many simple tips on easily overlooked essentials that will help beginners catch more fish and have more fun. The guides are friendly and eager to show off their "backyard playground" that is the Lake of the Ozarks. What's more, it's a great way to spend a day out on the water, enjoying the scenery and wildlife and making new friends and memories.

"I absolutely love teaching the art of angling to newcomers," says Ed Franko, owner of Big Ed's Guide Service and co-owner of Bass and Baskets Bed and Breakfast in Osage Beach. "I enjoy taking someone that's never fished before and helping them learn not just how to catch a fish, but how to tie on a lure and learn every aspect of fishing from start to finish. The biggest thrill I get is seeing the happiness on my customers' faces, especially kids, when they've learned something new and have success by catching the first fish of their life. Their face just lights up and their excitement is contagious. It can be a life-changing experience. And, I've found you're never to old to learn something new. I've been doing this for years and I still learn something new every time I'm on the water."

Some golfers make it look so easy. A perfectly fluid swing, an impossibly long and straight drive. An effortless chip and a short putt for an excellent score.

According to Rob Wilson, assistant golf professional at Old Kinderhook, everyone can get to that level. It just takes practice.

"Golf can be an intimidating and frustrating game, but it doesn't have to be," Wilson says. "Everyone has to start somewhere. With the right amount of patience and practice, any golfer can come a long way in a relatively short time, especially with the help of a golf pro. One has to remember, like anything in life, with a little dedication and practice you can go as far as you are willing to go. A pro can help you with your stance, your swing, your whole approach and can make a world of difference. Working with a pro in an easy-going, no-pressure setting can be a lot of fun and very beneficial, no matter what kind of golfer you are or if you've never played before at all."

Those that have ever desired to take up the game of golf, or work on minimizing their handicap, can benefit from a trip to the Lake of the Ozarks.  With 13 championship courses dotting the area, there's no better place to learn the finer points of the game. Nearly all 13 courses offer one-on-one golf tutorials with PGA professionals to ensure that visitors have a great first experience and/or improve their game while at the Lake. Personal attention and, in some cases, state-of-the-art video analysis will help iron out the kinks in any duffer's swing and help newcomers develop a solid foundation and appreciation for the game. All 13 courses also offer various practice facilities so golfers can work on long drives from the tees and master their short game on putting greens, chipping greens and more. Once a golfer spends a couple hours with a pro or working on their game on the practice range, they'll be ready to put their skills to the test on any of the courses at the Lake, from the most forgiving layouts to the most challenging. For more information on the courses at the Lake of the Ozarks, visit

In addition, Old Kinderhook Golf Resort, near Camdenton, offers a crash-course on the game that will help golfers new and old. The resort's weekly Golf Clinic takes place every Friday and Saturday, now until September 3. The two-hour classes run from 6-8 p.m. on Friday evenings and 9-11 a.m. on Saturdays. Also included with the instruction are two rounds of golf on Saturdays and Sundays. For complete details on the clinic, call the Pro Shop at 573-317-3575 or visit Old Kinderhook's website at

If a visitor is looking for something a little more extreme than fishing and/or golf, then studying at Kirby's School of Wake may just be the exhilarating education they're hoping to find. The instructor at the School of Wake, located in Osage Beach, professional wakeboarder Kirby Liesmann, has studied with and shadowed some of the most accomplished professionals and coaches in the wakeboarding industry. Kirby puts his years of experience to use in helping others learn the sport. Since 2008, Kirby has taught hundreds of people how to safely pursue wakeboarding with one-on-one instruction through individual classes, day camps and group clinics during the summer months. Whether a wakeboarding student is just starting out and learning the basics or trying to nail some of the most thrilling advanced tricks, they'll find Kirby's relaxed, no-pressure teaching style fun and beneficial to them obtaining their goals and progressing at a speed they are comfortable with. For complete details on Kirby's School of Wake, including a schedule of clinics and day camps, visit 

Super Dave's Paddle Craft Adventures, located in Sunrise Beach on the white sand beach near Frankie and Louie's Bar & Grill, offers a number of rental options for those looking to paddle around on the Lake, including kayaks, pedal boats and the newest craze to hit the paddling world, stand-up paddle boards. Stand-up paddle boarding, which is like a cross between surfing and kayaking, is one of the fastest growing sports world-wide and offers a unique and enjoyable experience as boarders glide across the surface of the water, providing a totally different perspective of being on the Lake compared with traditional skiing, boating or wakeboarding.  

The owners of Super Dave's, Lisa and Dave Bertel, fell in love with paddle boarding after being introduced to the sport while on vacation in Florida. According to Dave, it was tough going for him at first. "The first time I tried it, everyone else just took off with no problems at all, and I just kept falling in. I'd get back up on the board and fall right back in. Get back on, fall back in," Dave says. After a few more tries and a lot of laughs from his friends at his expense, Dave was up and paddling and never looked back. "Once I figured it out, I absolutely loved it. It's a blast," he says. "I told my wife, Lisa, we have to bring this to the Lake. It'd be perfect."

In 2012, the Bertels opened Super Dave's at the Lake of the Ozarks and began renting paddle boards  and all sorts of other paddle craft. In addition, the Bertels started  teaching customers all about the sport so that visitors will have better luck than Dave did his first time out. "I love seeing the pure joy that people derive from trying paddle boarding," Dave says. "A lot of people are afraid at first or think it's going to be hard. Then they get the hang of it and have a blast. Often times it's the most reluctant person in a group we're teaching that's always the last person back in because they've had the best time. We're all about having an adventure and having fun. Teaching new people paddle boarding and watching them fall head over heels for the sport makes our job the best job in the world," he concludes.

The crew of two at Super Dave's makes sure to set each intrepid adventurer up for success. Each  paddle board rental comes with personalized instructions from either Dave or Lisa where they teach their customers how to safely and successfully get on the board, stand up on the board, how to paddle efficiently and how to control their board before making their way out into the quiet Lake cove. This can take anywhere from five to 15 minutes, depending upon the customer, however, additional assistance and coaching is provided if desired. "We want to make sure everyone is successful and has a great time," Dave says.

Each rental from Super Dave's, whether a kayak, pedal boat or stand-up paddle board, costs $15 per hour. All paddle craft rentals come with up to 30 minutes of instruction to make sure customers feel comfortable with their vessel and have a safe and enjoyable time on the water. Super Dave's is one of the only paddle craft rental companies located in a large no-wake cove at the Lake of the Ozarks, providing a carefree day of fun on the water. To learn more about Super Dave's Paddle Craft Adventures, call 239-233-3038 or visit them on Facebook

Looking to learn more about the Lake's natural state? Lake of the Ozarks State Park and Ha Ha Tonka State Park both feature park naturalists who can enhance visitors' experiences at the parks with a wealth of knowledge about the flora, fauna, geographical and topographical makeup of the parks and the natural areas available within. 

During the summer months at Lake of the Ozarks State Park, park naturalists lead guided hikes and present evening programs to showcase the diversity of the park's natural areas as well as how the Missouri State Park system is working to restore these landscapes. There's also an interpretive center complete with displays and brochures located near the entrance to Ozark Caverns, an impressive show cave offering hand-held lantern tours. Along the half-mile guided round trip through this cave, explorers/visitors will see evidence of early spelunkers, claw marks in the sediment fills left by animals that sought shelter in the cave thousands of years ago and other natural cave formations, including an impressive "Angel Shower." Tours of Ozark Caverns are offered seasonally, from mid-May through mid-September. Complete details for Ozark Caverns, its tour schedule and admissions prices, can be found by going to

At Ha Ha Tonka State Park, which was recently voted the fourth-best state park in the country by readers of USA Today and The Most Beautiful Place in Missouri by Condé Nast Traveler, visitors can learn more about this celebrated park by visiting the  outdoor interpretive area and the visitors center located at the park office. The visitor center features a large relief map of the park carved from stone. Park brochures, trail maps and interpretive materials are available inside the park office.

Self-guided trail maps, species note cards and brochures help hikers at both parks learn about and identify different plants, trees and animals that can be found along the 25 trails located within the two parks. Informative placards also are placed throughout the parks making a trip to the Lake's state parks both an enjoyable and educational excursion in the Ozarks' natural beauty. Thousands of people visit the parks each year and many come back time and time again and always see, learn or experience something new. Both parks are open year around, though the hours of operation for the visitor centers vary by season. For more information about both state parks, visit the state parks page on

This is just a highlight of some of the opportunities visitors will find at the Lake of the Ozarks to jump into new experiences and create lasting memories and new traditions. For more ideas, or to learn more about all the fun events, attractions, as well as lodging and dining options available all year at the  "Best Recreational Lake" in the Nation , call the  Lake of the Ozarks Convention and Visitor Bureau (CVB) at  1-800-FUN-LAKE , or visit the CVB's award-winning website,