This reservoir in central Missouri has a rep as a full-throttle boating vacation destination.

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.

Day 1

On the Rise Bakery's breakfast menu typically 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.

Lake of the Ozarks Missouri Bagnell Dam area
Credit: Nate Luke

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.

Margaritaville Lake Resort reflects a $10 million renovation that gave a beachy new vibe and updated rooms to the former Tan-Tar-A in Osage Beach. The resort features a spa, indoor water park, horseback riding, minigolf, water sports and a family game room.

Day 2

The activities at Margaritaville easily fill a day. For other adventures, local fishing services will 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: mango margarita and raspberry daiquiri served side by side.

Golfers love staying at Old Kinderhook resort 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.

Grandma's Candy Kitchen Lake Ozark Missouri
Credit: John Noltner

If you're traveling with kids, be sure to 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 downtown Lake Ozark. Visit Grandma's Candy Kitchen, known for penny candy, fudge and saltwater taffy, for a souvenir of your trip.

Ha Ha Tonka State Park.
Credit: John Noltner

Road Trip Stop

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 at the southern end of Lake of the Ozarks. Check out the topographical and geographical points of interest carved on the relief map made of stone.