This central Missouri destination appeals to outdoor-lovers. The reservoir calls for days on the water. No boat? No worries: Rent one at the state park marina. On shore, two state parks provide the perfect terrain for hiking, biking and horseback riding.
On the Rise Bakery and Woodfired Bistro’s breakfast menu includes baked vanilla bean French toast, lobster and chive omelets, and classic eggs Benedict.
Sandy beaches and boat rentals, 12 hiking trails, horseback riding and lantern-lit cave tours attract visitors to Lake of the Ozarks State Park.
You’ll find authentic Cajun cuisine at Shorty Pants Lounge; try the alligator eggs (jalapeño peppers stuffed with cheese, wrapped in prosciutto and baked).
At Bridgeport Boat Rental, choose from speedboats, pontoons, Jet Skis and fishing boats for your afternoon lake time.
Hand-cut steaks and battered onion rings at J. Bruner’s Restaurant make a no-brainer for dinner.
Lakefront resort Tan-Tar-A sprawls over 420 acres and features an indoor water park, horseback riding, water sports and a family game room (from $99).
The activities at the resort easily fill a day. For other adventures, the friendly fishing guides at Hook’em Guide Service teach newbies how to bait up and take experienced fishermen to the best spots on the lake for reeling in big catches.
When it’s time for lunch, Baxter’s Lakeside Grille has great views. Pair a swordfish Caprese sandwich with the signature Baxter’s Sunset cocktail: part mango margarita and part raspberry daiquiri.
Golfers love staying at Old Kinderhook resort (from $139) and playing the 18-hole course. In the resort’s Trophy Room, entrees include Korean-style Chilean sea bass and a filet medallion encrusted with porcini mushrooms.
More information: Lake of the Ozarks Convention and Visitor Bureau (800) 386-5253; funlake.com 
More than 15 miles of trails and the ruins of an early-20th-century castle draw visitors to Ha Ha Tonka State Park, 5 miles southwest of Camdenton. Check out the topographical and geographical points of interest carved on the relief map made of stone. (573) 346-2986; mostateparks.com 
Bring the Kids
Lake Ozark Guests pose for old-time photos, sample frozen drinks and take selfies with a two-story-tall Native American statue on the touristy Bagnell Dam Strip in this city’s downtown. Visit Grandma’s Candy Kitchen, known for penny candy, fudge and saltwater taffy. (800) 386-5253; funlake.com