This week I am headed to Club Wyndham Lake of the Ozarks. This resort is in Osage Beach, MO. It sits right on the water in an amazing location.
Video by Family Travel
Day One Travel and Arrival
Given the distance from my home, I headed for a flight from my local airport. I was able to find a great rate on a flight with only 1 layover. The total flight time is about 4 hours, so it is a trip that the coach might be OK for. I am a tall person with long legs and I am large. So, if I can, I book the seats in the escape exit location for the extra legroom.
The flight was a little bumpy at one point with some summer storms, but the time went by fast. Once I arrived at St. Louis Lambert International Airport, it was time to get my rental car and head to the resort.
The drive to the resort was another 2.5 hours. So, in getting to the resort, it was about a 7-hour trip. Once I arrived, I was happy I made the journey.
The resort itself has a great feeling, and the location feels private but not too exclusive where you might feel uncomfortable. For some reason, I feel almost like I am at a relative’s place on the water. There are several main buildings and a view from the pool and even a parking area that are amazing.
There is also a doc right on the lake that is a quick walk past the main buildings. You drive into the resort on Agony Acres LN which seems odd unless you happen to be a comic book fan, then you realize the owners here at some point must have been comic book fans, since Agony Acres was the name of a popular comic in the 90s.
Checking in was a breeze thanks to TZort. They must do a great job in communicating with the resorts.
I went to my room to put down my bags and just chill out for a few moments after all the travel today.
The resort has villas that are 1-4 bedrooms and size and range from about 720sq ft to over 2,220sq ft. So, they are great-sized villas for sure. I had the good fortune to be checking in and was upgraded to a 2-bedroom unit.
Whichever size room you choose, know that they are full of great features.
- Cable TV
- Coffee Maker
- DVD Player
- Ice Maker
- In-Room Safe
Then the resort itself offers all of these options.
- Activities Center
- BBQ Grills
- Business Center
- Grocery Service
- Picnic Area
- Children’s Pool
- Hot Tub
- Indoor Pool
- Internet Access
- Kid’s Activities
- Beach (Lake)
- On-Site Security
- Gift Shop
Okay, all settled in now it is time to get something to eat. After all that travel, I am hungry. I mean, my shoe was starting to look good. After a few questions for the staff, I heard about Coconuts Caribbean Beach Bar & Grill so this was one I had to try. I love Caribbean and Island themed restaurants.
I tried their Coconuts Chicken, which was a great choice. It comes with blackened shrimp on the top. I also tried their house drinks: Voodoo Juice, and the Royal Margarita, both were worth trying and took the feeling of flight or all-day travel away.
Afterward, I returned to the resort and walked down to the pier, before calling it a night.
Day Two Club Wyndham Lake of the Ozarks
I started my day with breakfast at Stewart’s Restaurant. Stewart’s does breakfast well, let me tell you.
I had their country-fried steak and eggs, then one of their Cinnamon Rolls which are so huge they are served with a knife in them. It was one of those breakfasts you crawl away from instead of walking.
That was a champion way to start the day for sure. If I was a runner, I would have enough energy stored up for a 5-mile run. Tons of calories for certain. Instead, I would spend my time today getting to see the area.
I wanted to understand the history of the Lake of the Ozarks area. I enjoy history and historic sites. I went first to the Bagnell Dam and what is called the Bagnell Dam Strip just across from the dam itself.
Here you can visit the dam and understand what started it all in 1931, then enjoy the strip for the shops, pubs, restaurants, and during the summer live entertainment.
It was a hot day so thinking outside the box, I chose to go to the local Bridal Caves. Since the caves themselves are so deep underground the year-round temperature is near 60. This makes for a refreshing break from the hot summer heat. Tomorrow I was going out on the lake, but today I was trying to see most of the area around the lake itself, so this was the perfect solution to the heat.
I think anyone who loves nature and wants to get out and walk will enjoy the trails and the underground caves here.
The site also has some amazing rocks and collectibles for sale too. So, for the geologically interested this is a must-stop. I think for kids with grandparents or parents on vacation this would be a stop they would all like to make. It certainly could not hurt to get them off their phones and interested in nature.
The rates are $22 for 13 and up, $11 for 5-12, and free for 4 and under. So given all, there is to do and see it is a great time for younger kids with their folks. Just do not hit the shop here unless you are ready to buy them some kind of collectible it may be too tempting.
There is a neat virtual tour on the website as well as tons of information if you are interested.
After all the sightseeing, I was getting hungry again. 6 hours of walking and messing around will do that to you.
For late lunch or early dinner, I went to Shady Gators which was huge and had a menu to match. When this place has live entertainment filled up so be ready for a crowd.
Here I had the Jambalaya and to me, it tasted authentic. I also washed it down with a few adult beverages.
This spot is like a full resort itself but really caters to pools, drinks, and live entertainment. Think of it as a bit of a party spot.
They also have boat rentals too, but I was about done for the day at the moment, so I did not get into that for this visit.
Day Three on the Lake
It was time to get my feet wet. I love the water and I grew up spending most of my life living on the water. This means I was a bit spoiled with waterfront access when I was young. I had my own small Boston Whaler boat that I could take just about anywhere I wanted to go during the summer months.
This means when I get on the water even somewhere new to me, I feel nostalgic and enjoy all things on the water a little more than the average person I guess.
The Lake of the Ozarks is amazing. I started my day at Dirty Duck Boat Rental and rented a nice little speedboat. That title was, but it was a fine little ski boat type of craft. The rental comes with the required safety jackets and gear so you do not have to worry about that.
You will find Dirty Duck Boat Rental very close to the resort, which makes it an easy choice. If it had not been hot outside, I likely would have just walked to the location.
summer rentals seem pricy at $250 for 4 hours and that was the early bird special. But when in Rome.
I wanted to just go around and really get a feel for the lake area. To see as much as I could. This meant at least for today there would be no fishing poles in my hand. Though I hear fishing in the area is outstanding and should likely make my list if I am back in the Lake of the Ozark area again.
Worth noting if you are just cruising, they do have pontoon boats that rent out cheaper than ski boats, as well as jet skis. I just try to avoid jet skis in heavy traffic areas for boats and other jet skiers.
After my time on the water, it was time to fuel myself up, again my hunger called to me. For my big meal of the day, I headed to the Bear Bottom Resort. Here they offer a bit of everything for the family. It had a much more family feeling than Shady Gators. Both are nice but Shady just seemed more party focused to me.
They serve nachos here that is the biggest I have ever seen. Normally when I place to say that I want to order a half order because the full size is too big for most, I think they do not know me.
Here it would take a family to finish their big one. They even sell it by the quarter, half, or full order. That is how big it is. I opted for the half and was happy with the size and the quality. You could taste that the chili was fresh, and was prepared well. Too many places finish in the broiler and leave the nachos in there too long and it comes out burnt.
I had that and thought I would only eat that until I saw an item delivered to the table next to me; I had to try. It was their Slammin Shrimp Tacos, so I asked for an order of those as well.
Almost two hours of eating and drinking later, I was ready to be floated by water back to the resort. But I was able to walk around this resort a little and work enough room in my body to be able to sit in the driver’s seat of my rental.
Day Four saying goodbye to the Lake of the Ozarks
Waking up at the resort today, I was tired. I had really been moving go, go, go for a few days to try to make sure I saw everything. This made me choose to start the day with a few hours in the pool. There is so much to do at the lake and the surrounding area that the resort pool was almost a solo affair.
The pool has a good view of the lake even when you are in the pool, so it is very nice. If this was my resort, I would have tried to put the pool closer to the lake even, but likely for such a nice pool they needed the ground to be more stable and far from the lakeside. It still has a good view though and that cool water felt good as the day got warmer.
After the relaxing morning, I was ready to investigate the area some more. I had looked up the Ha Ha Tonka State Park online and wanted to check it out. The name itself is a Native American name so do not expect to see giant Tonka toys here.
Instead what you find is over 3,000 acres of mother nature and historic sites.
From the state’s website
Ha, Ha Tonka State Park is Missouri’s premiere showcase of karst geology and is unique in the quality and number of its remarkable geologic features. Karst topography is the result of the dissolving action of water on the bedrock and is characterized by caves, sinkholes, springs, and natural bridges. It’s easy to see why Ha Ha Tonka State Park is a karst showcase, since it has a natural bridge that is 70 feet wide, spans 60 feet, and reaches more than 100 feet in the air. Beyond the natural bridge is the Colosseum, a theater-like sinkhole that was formed by the collapse of a giant cavern and measures 500 feet long and 300 feet wide. Legend tells of it being used for tribal meetings and church revivals.
The collapse of a giant cavern created a gorge with 250-foot-high bluffs, an impressive setting for Ha Ha Tonka Spring. The spring, Missouri’s 12th largest, discharges more than 48 million gallons of water daily into the stream that flows into the Lake of the Ozarks. As a result of the collapse, two narrow water-filled channels remained, leaving a very steep-sided island between the channels. This island features an intriguing Balanced Rock formation and several small caves.
After the park, I headed back near the dam to get some gifts to take back home to the family. I think I am the first person from my immediate family to travel to the Lake of the Ozarks. I am likely not the last. The area has much to offer, especially in the summer.
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