With watersports, a scenic golf course, and an indoor waterpark for chilly weather, this popular Missouri resort makes a good base in the region.
The result of a project to bring electricity to the city of St. Louis, Lake of the Ozarks was created in 1929 when the hydroelectric Bagnell Dam was erected across the Osage River. Opened for use in 1931 as the largest man-made lake in the world, its 1,375 miles of zig-zagging shoreline made a vacation region that now welcomes over 4 million visitors a year at lakeside resorts and vacation homes.
Located about three hours from both St. Louis and Kansas City, the sprawling Tan-Tar-A Resort on 420 acres at Osage Beach is a family resort where you can explore the scenic lake and be as active or relaxed as you choose. Your family will enjoy the comfort of gracious accommodations in guest rooms or suites.
Choose from hotel rooms, 1BR units with kitchenette or wetbar, and 2BR units with kitchen in the Resort Complex where everything you need is within a short walk. Another option is to locate yourselves in the Estates Complex, a secluded setting around the golf course. Here, the units range from one to six bedrooms and offer a living room with a sleep sofa, a full kitchen and private outdoor space. The estates are located about 8 minutes by car from the main resort. Dining is available at one of three restaurants overlooking the lake or the greens, and for faster food, there is a Burger King and Sbarro on property.
Play Time at the Resort
For recreation, select from land activities such as tennis, 27-hole championship golf, horseback riding, bowling and billiards, or enjoy the lake with swimming, boating, fishing, waterskiing, tubing, scenic boat tours (on Tan-Tar-a’s Ozark Princess) and wildlife sightings. Looking for a pool? There are two outdoor and one indoor. Want some pampering? Visit the Windjammer Spa for a massage, or soak in the whirlpool.
Children’s programs are a priority, and in summertime Camp Tan-Tar-A welcomes kids from age 4 to 10-years-old for morning, afternoon or full day sessions. Activities include playground time, indoor pool swimming, sand play, bumper bowling, fishing and paddleboating, and lunch is included in the fee. In the evenings, Kid’s Cabin is available with or without dinner and provides supervised play and movies until 10pm. For kids from age 11, activities include swimming, bowling, fishing, playing video games in the Bears Den Arcade and scavenger hunts. For younger children, in-room babysitting is available through the concierge desk — reservations are recommended.
Plan to play at Timber Falls, Tan-Tar-A’s on-site indoor waterpark, available to resort guests at a reduced daily fee. Features include a large pool fed by four waterslides, creating 600 feet of sliding. There are lots of interactive play areas in a three-story treehouse from which, once every two minutes, 700 gallons of water come pouring from a tipping bucket. Don’t worry — when you need to catch your breath, there is a large 21-seat whirlpool and a Lazy River for tube floating.
Exploring the Lake and Beyond
Missouri prides itself on its many state parks, and two fine examples are near the resort. At over 17,000 acres, Lake of the Ozarks State Park (573/348-2694) draws visitors from all over to discover its almost 90 miles of shoreline on an “Aquatic trail” conceived for boats. Walking, mountain biking, and horseback riding trails as well as public beaches are available.
The sights and sounds of Ha Ha Tonka
Stunning Ha Ha Tonka State Park (573/346-2986) offers over 3,600 acres brimming with geological formations such as a natural bridge, caves and sinkholes. Hiking on fifteen miles of trails and fishing, boating and picnicking are favorite activities, as is visiting the ruins of a wealthy businessman’s stone castle, burned by fire in 1942. From atop a 250 foot limestone bluff near the ruins, you can enjoy spectacular views of Ha Ha Tonka Spring and Lake of the Ozarks.
Famous for its many caves (numbering over 5,000), Missouri is a great place for underground exploration. Surrounding Lake of the Ozarks are three “Show Caves,” which have been paved, lit and outfitted with handrails. Call for information on hours and guided tours at Bridal Cave 573/346-2676), where 2,000 couples from around the world have said their vows Jacob’s Cave (573/378-4373), the area’s largest show cave; and Ozark Cavern(573/346-2500), which offers a special children’s tour. Remember that cave touring is a great activity on a hot summer day as the underground temperature is consistently about 55ºF. However, if you or your family suffer from claustrophobia, discuss what to expect before entering the cave.
Country Music shows are not only available in Branson. Here in the Lakes Region, check out the Main Street Music Hall (573/348-9500) for an evening of country, gospel and patriotic music, as well as comedy routines.
If you like to shop, the hotel can direct you to the Factory Outlet Village near the resort, as well as over to 50 antique shops in the region.
Resort Report Card
|Address:||State Road KK · P.O. Box 188TT
|Phone:||(573) 348-3131, (800) 826-8272|
|Seasonal Rates:||$ – $$|
|Choice of Activities:||A|
|Quality of Amenities:||B+|
|Bonus:||The waterpark is a blast|
|Note:||A great homebase, and a good value, for exploring the Lakes Region of Missouri.|
This story was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question, and stay up to date with current events to ensure a safe and successful trip.