Lake of the Ozarks Vacation

We had a blast on a six day vacation to Lake of the Ozarks to play some courses on 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 a winery, 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 sand box for the grand kids. 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 Lake of the Ozarks Golf Trail with 13 courses that were designed by some of the best golf architects (Arnold Palmer, Tom Weiskopf, Ken Kavanaugh and Robert Trent Jones, Sr.) and the variety of lodging options as well as all of the fun things to see and do around the 1100 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 on the edge 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) - but when I heard "Pour me somethin' tall an' 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"! 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 edge 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 lodging - Holiday Shores Resort. For golfers, Holiday Shores Resort is centrally located and 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 the Resort is close to lots of very good restaurants and other things to see and do. Check our our review of Holiday Shores Resort.

Lake of the Ozarks Golf Courses

Just like the big differences between each of the 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 and 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 common to all of the courses we played were near perfect conditions from tee box to the cup, 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 rest of the 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 fun things that we did, we:

  • spent several hours on one of Alhonna Resort's 27' pontoon boats cruising a very small portion of the 1100 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

  • had a good lunch and sampled some wine at Seven Springs Winery; sat on a deck high above Lake of the Ozarks with a panoramic beautiful view and listened to some great singers at Shawnee Bluff Winery. Nearby there is also Ozark Brewery for those who enjoy craft beer and whiskey.

Shawnee Bluff WinerySeven Springs WineryOzark Brewery

  • took an informative and scenic tour of the nations 3rd most decorated cave - Bridal Cave

Bridal CaveBridal CaveBridal Cave

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

  • enjoyed several good meals at a number of restaurants on or overlooking the golf course, the lake, or a beautiful sunset - the highlight was JB Hooks which sits on a tall bluff overlooking the lake and serving 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'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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