Known as Missouri’s Fun Lake, Lake of the Ozarks has a storied past tied to thousands of workers during the Great Depression.
The Great Osage River Project dam, completed in 1931, provided the promised hydroelectric power and created the (then) largest man-made lake in the country, turning central Missouri into an ultimate vacation destination for groups.
For an overview of the area, Lake of the Ozarks public relations representative Marjorie Beenders recommends a visit to the free Bagnell Dam Historical Museum at historic Willmore Lodge.
“You’ll get an understanding of how the lake was created, and you won’t get a prettier view than from right there on the deck,” she said.
The nearby Bagnell Dam Strip is an old-fashioned tourist area adjacent to the 2,543-foot-long engineering marvel, where motorcoaches can park and allow time for browsing the souvenir shops.
“You can walk right out on the dam and take pictures,” said Jennifer West, group sales manager for Lake of the Ozarks.
Serious shoppers head to the 110 name-brand stores of Osage Beach Premium Outlets, where groups scoop up terrific bargains and enjoy special events like dinners and style shows.
“It is truly a destination, and architecturally, it’s very attractive,” Beenders said.
Also in Osage Beach, The Landing on Main Street is known for distinct shops and entertainment at the Main Street Music Hall. Group-friendly dining options range from Stewart’s, which has been serving comfort food since 1953, to dozens of waterfront restaurants along the lake’s 1,150-mile shoreline.
Groups also can book a meal on one of the tour boats that cruise the 54,000-acre reservoir, named the country’s “Best Recreational Lake” by USA Today readers in 2015.
“The hardest thing to do is to come to the lake and not get out on the water,” Beenders said. “A boat cruise is absolutely wonderful. It’s a must.”
For more information, call 800-386-5253 or visit funlake.com.
Article by Kath Usitalo