Lake of the Ozarks State Park Travel Guide
Lake of the Ozarks State Park is the largest of Missouri’s state parks. The park covers only a fraction of Lake of the Ozarks and adjacent terrain, and yet, it has almost 90 miles of shoreline. The park draws many thousands of tourists every year to fish, boat, swim, nature hike, and sight see, and many combine a trip to nearby Branson with their excursion to the park. Lake of the Ozarks State Park is located just south from Osage Beach, a little west of Brumley, and northeast of Linn Creek in south-central Missouri.
Lake of the Ozarks is a reservoir lake that was created in the 1930’s and was, at first, the property of the U.S. National Park Service. However, in 1946, what became Lake of the Ozarks State Park was transferred from federal to state control.
Things to see and do in Lake of the Ozarks State Park
Go hiking, biking, mountain biking, or horseback riding through the woods surrounding Lake of the Ozarks and along the lake shore. There are a dozen trails, of varying difficulty levels, and wildlife is abundant.
Go spelunking in the park’s Ozark Caverns. You can go on an organized cave tour, lantern in hand, and admire unusual rock formations, while catching a glimpse at bats and other cave creatures. The cave is located about eight miles from Linn Creek.
Go on a boat tour of the lake. There are many marinas, and almost any kind of boat can be rented. You may also want to swim at “artificial” beaches, meaning the sand was relocated to form the beach.
Fish the lake from the shore or by boat. Lake of the Ozarks is among the top fishing hot spots in the state, and you can expect to find catfish, bass, bluegill, crappie, walleye, and more in abundance.
Camp on rustic or electric-equipped campsites. There are also some cabins, RV-friendly sites, and “yurts.” Yurts are tent-like, circular structures set up on a small deck. They also have windows and wooden ribbing for support on the inside.
Visit the Highway 134 Historic District, which has dozens of historically important buildings built in the 1930’s and 1940’s by the Civilian Conservation Corps. There are also other historic sites scattered throughout the park. And be sure to stop by the Osage Village State Historic Site, where an Osage Indian village once stood.
Summers around Lake of the Ozarks are hot, while winters are moderately cold. The July high averages 91, and the January low averages 22. The area gets 43 inches of rain and 17 inches of snow. Most of the year is rather sunny, and the fall colors on the trees lining the lake shore are truly spectacular.