Central Missouri's Lake of the Ozarks offers families and friends the opportunity to get together, relax and enjoy the holiday season with many festive events, impressive holiday light parks, incredible shopping and delicious meals.
The festive season at the "Best Recreational Lake in the Nation" begins in earnest with the Thanksgiving holiday. Many restaurants and resorts around the the Lake of the Ozarks take away the stress and mess of the holiday by offering delicious Thanksgiving meals for their guests. Camden on the Lake Resort in Lake Ozark, The Inn at Grand Glaize in Osage Beach, The Lodge of Four Seasons in Lake Ozark, Margaritaville Lake Resort in Osage Beach, Old Kinderhook Resort in Camdenton and The Regalia Hotel & Conference Center in Lake Ozark are all offering Thanksgiving meals with all the trimmings. Most offer special lodging packages for the holiday as well, so visitors should check with the property of their choice for lodging specials, menus and available reservation times.
In addition to offering a delectable Thanksgiving meal, Old Kinderhook's annual Christmas Village opens for the season on November 29. The Christmas Village is open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays and features horse-drawn carriage rides, carols with Santa Claus and his helpers, gingerbread house-decorating stations, fun games, storytelling with elves, s'mores, bonfires and breakfast with Santa on Sundays. Thanksgiving weekend also marks the opening of The Ice, the only outdoor skating ice rink in Mid-Missouri. The Ice is open for casual skating sessions throughout the week and weekends. For more information on the Christmas Village and The Ice, visit OldKinderhook.com.
Visitors to the Lake of the Ozarks can enjoy the glow of thousands of holiday lights at the Lake area's four drive-through light parks, which open for the season around the Thanksgiving holiday and remain open through New Year's Day. The Enchanted Village of Lights, the largest light park in Mid-Missouri, opens on November 22. The Enchanted Village of Lights is spread over 27 acres of the fairgrounds in Laurie and is open from 5 p.m. until 9 p.m. on weekdays and until 10 p.m. on weekends. Also in Laurie is the Festival of Lights at the Shrine of St. Patrick Catholic Church, which opens on Thanksgiving Day. The Festival of Lights is open from 5 -10 p.m. throughout the holiday season. The Unity Circle of Lights in Versailles is open from dark until midnight, beginning November 29. And, on November 30, the Osage Beach City Park gets dressed in the holiday spirit and is open from 5-9 p.m. daily. Admission to all four light parks is free, but donations are welcome. For more information about the light parks, visit FunLake.com.
There will be many parades, holiday open houses and other festive fetes taking place in the different Lake of the Ozarks communities. The Laurie Lighted Christmas Parade takes place December 5 at 6 p.m. and winds through downtown Laurie; Camdenton's Christmas on the Square, which features a parade, 5K/10K run, choir performances and games and activities for children, takes place December 7 beginning at 10 a.m. in downtown Camdenton; on December 14, the city of Lake Ozark hosts its annual Christmas parade at 1 p.m. on Bagnell Dam Boulevard. Also on December 14, the city of Eldon hosts a lighted Christmas parade and the lighting of the "Magic Tree" in Rock Island Park. There also will be holiday music performed by the Eldon High School Choir and s'mores and hot chocolate will be available. And, of course, Jolly Ol' Saint Nick will be making an appearance at each event for the enjoyment of the young ones in attendance. For a complete list of holiday open houses, Christmas parades, musical performances, plays, pageants and other activities, visit the event calendar at FunLake.com.
A favorite holiday tradition is cruising on the Celebration II luxury yacht for the annual Christmas on the Lake events. On Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, from November 22 through December 28, vacationers can take in the spectacular sights of lakefront homes and businesses strewn up with colorful lights from the decks of the Celebration II while enjoying plated appetizers and live musical entertainment on a 2.5-hour cruise. The Celebration II docks at 1006 Bagnell Dam Boulevard and begins boarding at 5:30 p.m. For more information, or to make reservations, visit CruiseLakeoftheOzarks.com.
It wouldn't be the holiday season at the Lake of the Ozarks without the " Christmas on Main Street" musical variety show at the Main Street Music Hall, located at The Landing in Osage Beach. Holiday carols, gospel hymns, musical impersonations and comedy are all included in a great, family-friendly seasonal show offered by the cast of talented singers and musicians of the Music Hall family. The Christmas on Main Street show kicks off on Friday, Nov. 29 and runs through Sunday, Dec. 22. Evening shows start at 7 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays and there's a 3 p.m. matinee show on Sundays. For more information, including show dates, times and ticket prices, or to make reservations, call the Main Street Music Hall box office at 800-348-9501 or visit LakeMusicHall.com.
The Lake of the Ozarks also is an ideal shopping destination for marking items off Christmas gift lists of any length. The Lake is home to Osage Beach Outlet Marketplace, one of the largest brand-name factory outlet mall in Mid-Missouri, and The Landing on Main Street, a beautiful Victorian-themed village with over 20 boutique shops offering everything from home decor to chic clothing, kitschy souvenirs to homemade confections. There are also many antique shops around the Lake area and many unique shops and boutiques along the historic Bagnell Dam Strip in Lake Ozark. And, to make the deals even sweeter, m any of the Lake area lodging properties offer "Shop and Stay" or "Shop 'til You Drop" packages that include coupon books to the outlet mall worth hundreds of dollars in savings. Some lodging properties even throw in a pre-paid gift card for up to $50 for the outlet mall. To plan your Christmas shopping trip to the Lake of the Ozarks, visit FunLake.com and click on "Shopping" in the drop-down menu under the "Things to Do" tab on the website.
The holiday season reaches its climax with New Year's Eve. Visitors can ring in the New Year in style at many Lake of the Ozarks resorts and restaurants. Camden on the Lake, The Lodge at Four Seasons, The Lodge at Port Arrowhead, Margaritaville Lake Resort, The Regalia Hotel and Conference Center and Old Kinderhook, to name just a few, are all offering special New Year's dinners, dances, parties and/or special New Year's Eve lodging packages. For a list of resorts and restaurants offering New Year's specials, visit the event calendar at FunLake.com.
Anyone wishing to escape to the Lake for the holidays will find an ample selection of accommodations to fit families and friend groups of all sizes and budgets. Guests can choose from resorts, cabins, condos, vacation homes, hotels, motels and bed and breakfasts. Some offer special winter and holiday lodging rates where travelers can save as much as 40 percent off in-season rates.
To discover more ways to have fun at the Lake of the Ozarks and to get information on additional events, year around attractions, and available lodging and dining options, visit the Lake of the Ozarks Convention and Visitor Bureau's award-winning website, www.FunLake.com, or call 1-800-FUN-LAKE (386-5253).