Lake of the Ozarks Vacation

We had a blast on a six-day vacation to Central Missouri's Lake of the Ozarks to play some courses on the Lake of the Ozarks Golf Trail. We played golf on six different courses, toured Lake of the Ozarks on a pontoon boat, discovered some fun lakeside restaurants with pools, enjoyed a tour of Bridal Cave, sampled wine and lunch at two wineries, stayed in three very different resorts, gained 5 pounds, devoured a bottle of Advil, got sunburned, lost 10 golf balls, and brought home enough sand from the bunkers to build a sandbox for the grandkids. In other words, we had a blast, hated to leave, and can't wait to go back again - what a perfect golfing destination or location for a family vacation!

Golf Course at Lake of the Ozarks

After reading an email that I got about the Lake of the Ozarks Golf Trail promoting its 13 courses that were designed by some of the best golf architects (Arnold Palmer, Tom Weiskopf, Ken Kavanaugh and Robert Trent Jones, Sr.), a wide variety of lodging options as well as a lot of the fun things to see and do around the 1,150 miles of Lake of the Ozarks shoreline, I started planning the trip and packing the bags.

Golf Stay & Play Resorts

After an 11-hour drive from Austin, we arrived at Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville Lake Resort located on the shore of Lake of the Ozarks in Osage Beach, Missouri. We're not parrot heads, but after staying here we're considering it. Everywhere we went at Margaritaville we heard Jimmy Buffett songs in the background, saw him in concert on some of the TVs, viewed lots of pictures relating to his lifestyle, and read signs with sayings from his songs (for example, "Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes"; "Son of a Sailor")When I heard "Pour me somethin' tall and strong, Make it a 'Hurricane' before I go insane, It's only half-past twelve but I don't care, It's five o'clock somewhere," I was ready to have some fun! Inspired by the lyrics and lifestyle of Jimmy, Margaritaville made me want to put on my shades, kick off my shoes, and live it up at the lake - and we did all of that!. Read our article about a fun couple days at Margaritaville Lake Resort.

Bar and restaurant at Margaritaville

Alhonna Resort & MarinaWe reluctantly left Margaritaville and we went from a newly renovated pastel-colored hotel room at the lively Margaritaville Resort to Alhonna Resort & Marina in Lake Ozark, which was built in the 1950s and is one of the few remaining family-owned and operated resorts on Lake of the Ozarks. After all those years, the owners and staff still have that friendly and "welcome" attitude with a focus on service. Instead of 8 bars and restaurants, Alhonna has some excellent down-home cooking and a lively and fun bar at Bobber's Restaurant & Lounge! And, instead of a small hotel room, we stayed in a three-bedroom cottage with a fully-equipped kitchen, large living and dining area, and a deck 6 feet above the shoreline of the lake. Over the next couple days, we cruised the lake on one of the resort's 27' pontoon boats, played golf at a nearby course, and explored the local area. Here is a link to our article about a stay at Alhonna Resort & Marina.

Holiday Shores ResortNext up for lodging is what I considered to be the perfect golf stay and play accomodations - Holiday Shores Resort. For golfers, Holiday Shores Resort is centrally located and it's easy and quick to get to the majority of the courses on the Golf Trail. The accommodations are 3-story, 3-bedroom 1600-square foot cottages overlooking the lake. And, Holiday Shores is close to lots of very good restaurants and other fun things to see and do. Check out our review of Holiday Shores Resort.

Lake of the Ozarks Golf Courses

Just like the big differences between each of the three resorts that we enjoyed, the six Lake of the Ozark golf courses that we played each had their own unique personality and characteristics and were challenging but fair. Most had some interesting combinations of dramatic elevation changes, huge, strategically placed bunkers, challenging green complexes, lakes and creeks, forced carries, blind shots, and lots of dog legs. But, all the courses we played were in near-perfect condition from tee box to the cup, they had fast greens, excellent service, a great pace of play, first-class facilities, and beautiful scenery! We can't wait to get back and play the other 7 courses on the Lake of the Ozarks Golf Trail.

Oaks Golf CourseGolf hole at Osage National Golf CourseOld Kinderhook

Fun Things To See and Do at Lake of the Ozarks

Lake of the Ozarks

As I mentioned, in addition to excellent golf courses, there are lots of other fun things to see and do during a vacation at Lake of the Ozarks. Here is just a sample of some of the interesting and enjoyable things that we did:

  • spent several hours on one of Alhonna Resort's 27' pontoon boats cruising a very small portion of the 1,150 miles of shoreline of the beautiful and scenic Lake of the Ozarks (named the "Best Recreational Lake in the Nation" by USA Today and 10 Best) and we stopped at a couple of the lakeside restaurants with swimming pools - here is a link to learn more about our day on Lake of the Ozarks

Swim up bar on Lake of the OzarksBeautiful home on Lake of the OzarksRental pontoon boat

Shawnee Bluff WinerySeven Springs WineryOzark Brewery

  • took an informative and scenic tour of the nation's 3rd most spelothem decorated cave - Bridal Cave

Bridal CaveBridal CaveBridal Cave

  • had a great breakfast, an ok dinner, and took in some live music on the historic Bagnell Dam Strip

bar on Bagnell Dam StripLive band on Bagnell Dam StripBeavers on the Dam

  • enjoyed several good meals and several beautiful sunsets at a number of restaurants on or overlooking a golf course, and/or the lake - the highlight was JB Hooks which sits on a tall bluff overlooking the lake and serves half-price appetizers during happy hour and excellent fish and seafood

Best Eggs Benodect at Bear Creel ValleySunset at the lakeEating on the lake

  • loved several of the lakeside restaurants - most of which had live music, good food, and a sand beach on the lake - it's not surprising that I couldn't play golf well the next morning

Bar at Lake of the OzarksBar at Lake of the OzarksBar at Lake of the Ozarks

All too soon it was time to leave! We can't wait to come back with family or some golfing friends and sample more of this wonderful area that is clearly Missouri's number one family and golfing vacation destination. If you plan on visiting, check out Lake of the Ozark Convention and Visitor Bureau's website and Lake of the Ozarks Golf Trail. Have fun.

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Texas Outside has been alive & well since 1996 - that's ancient by today's internet standards! Texas Outside was originally developed by Lone Star Internet which is an Austin based web development company with an excellent reputation & client base. In March of 2006, we purchased Texas Outside & made a commitment to add new, exciting, & informative content on Texas outdoor activities & fun things to see & do.

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