Top Ten Free Things To Do At Lake of the Ozarks
They say, there is no free lunch...
but there are free things to do at Lake of the Ozarks.
Ha Ha Tonks State Park
From dark caves to back-country hiking trails to castle ruins perched on a cliff, Ha Ha Tonka State Park is the ideal place for the adventurous. Ha Ha Tonka is a geological wonderland: sinkholes, caves, a huge natural bridge, soaring bluffs, and Missouri's twelfth largest spring. Fifteen miles of trail traverse the park, leading visitors to spectacular scenery, natural wonders and the famous castle ruins. Accessible, paved walkways and rugged, rocky trails provide every hiking experience, from a casual boardwalk stroll to an overnight backpack trip. Looming over all is the ruin of the turn-of-the-century stone castle built by a wealthy businessman. The empty shell of this great mansion overlooks Ha Ha Tonka Spring and Lake of the Ozarks from atop a 250-foot bluff. The Ha Ha Tonka Savanna preserves an excellent example of pre-settlement landscape. Scattered oaks, prairie grasses and wildflowers, open rocky glades and valley woodlands form a savanna mosaic. A seven-mile backpack trail winds through much of this area so visitors can easily explore the savanna. Rugged terrain, beautiful bluffs, dark caves and a castle on a cliff -- bring your camera because Ha Ha Tonka State Park has it all. 346-2986
Trails Picnic Castle ruins
Lake of the Ozarks State Park
Enjoy the solitude of an undeveloped cove, hidden along the shorelines of one of Missouri's largest lakes, Lake of the Ozarks. The 17,626-acre Lake of the Ozarks State Park offers this opportunity, along with a variety of recreational activities on the lake or on shore. On shore, hikers, backpackers, equestrians and bicyclists can use one of 12 trails that wind through oak-hickory forests and sunny glades and offer bluff-top views of the lake. Or visitors can take a guided tour of Ozark Caverns, best known for a formation of stalactites and waterfalls known as "Angels' Showers." Water enthusiasts can make use of the park's two swimming beaches or rent a boat at one of the park's marinas. Necessary supplies for a day of fishing or fun on the water can be found in the park stores. Hwy 42 & Lake of the Ozarks State Park Glaize, Osage Beach 348-2694
Trails Picnic Swimming Beach:
Camden County Museum
In Linn Creek is house in what was once the Linn Creek School located on V Road just off US Hwy 54. Each classroom has been devoted to a specific theme, ranging from archives to a weaving room, where woven rugs can actually be purchased. Open April through October, Monday through Friday, 10:00 am to 4:00pm. Limited hours Nov thru March. Call 573-346-7191 for details.346-7191
Area history in photos and artifacts
Thunder Mountain Conservation Area
Lake Road 5-88
Trail 80ft. Tower Archery Range:
Miller County Museum
In Tuscumbia can be found in the old Anchor Mill building, located on West Hwy 52. The building and the museum serve as a monument for the folk life of central Missouri society, its Indian heritage, early home accessories, machines, crafts, schools, churches, and agrculture. Open Mid-May through Mid-September, Mon, Wed, and Friday, 10:00am to 4:00pm. Write PO Box 57, Tuscumbia, MO 65082. 573-369-3500 or www.millercountymuseum.org. Special Tours Available. Log Cabin History Presentation by advanced appoinment.
Willmore Lodge Museum and Dam
Over Look Willmore Lodge is the home of Lake Area Chamber of Commerce as well as Bagnell Dam History Museum. Stop by for visitor information and to hear sites and sounds from Lake of the Ozarks since passed.
National Mother's Shrine
A magnificent Shrine dedicated to Mary, Mother of the Church features an awe inspiring fourteen foot stainless steel sculpture of Mary, which stands in a natural amphitheatre surrounded by beautiful fountains. The Mothers Wall of Life has become a great attraction of the Shrine, with the names of mothers from around the world engraved in the polished black granite. The Mothers Wall of Life continues to grow daily and is an everlasting tribute to all mothers. The first engraving on the Mothers Wall of Life was April 1, 1999. It is a tribute to motherhood and family life, for all mothers living or deceased, regardless of race, color or creed. There are now 37 states and 13 countries represented on the Wall, making this one of the most meaningful shrines in the country. In 2003, the Shrine became a National Shrine, making this the sixteenth National Shrine in the United States, and the only recognized National Shrine in Missouri.
Swinging Bridges and Shallows
If you're able to enjoy an extended stay at the Lake, an area called Swinging Bridges is well worth visiting. It was built by Union Electric in 1929 or 1930 when Bagnell Dam backed up water over county roads near Brumley. The bridge was one of 40 bridges designed by Joe Dice from Warsaw who left school after the fourth grade with poor eyesight. starting with a ball of twine to judge the curve and distance, horses or men to pull the wires across, men and mules to mix cement and haul river gravel and timbers from local farms, his genius has long gone unrecognized. Swinging Bridges is located about 10 miles down Hwy 42-18. then a pleasant county drive along and across Mill Creek.
Tunnel Dam Whistle Shallows
If you'd like a lovely drive through the wood to enjoy a gorgeous panoramic view, topped with gravel bars and shallows to wade and tube in, take a picnic lunch for a mini adventure into the Ozark hills. Lake Niangua at Tunnel Dam is 3 miles long and was built by Sho-Me Power Cooperative Electric in 1929. It is the end of the Big Niangua and is located 18-20 miles west of Camdenton. The area retains the rustic charm of the Ozarks with majestic hills and dense forests. To get there, take Hwy 54 west, past Camdenton to the junction of J and U. Go left on U (and immediately right), 2.5 miles to Edith, then right on Whistle Road. After not quite a mile, go left across the bridge, which is Tunnel Dam Road. The gravel bars make perfect spots for afternooon picinics. Since the water is shallow it's ideal for kayaks or canoes.