Camdenton came into being in the 1930s after the Osage River had been dammed and the Lake of the Ozarks formed. The 92 mile lake, made by the Bagnell dam, was the largest in the USA at the time and one of the largest in the world. It brought hydro electricity to the area and shortly afterwards tourists started arriving. There are now 70 000 homes on the lake, most of them vacation homes. Most of the 1150 km shoreline is privately owned. There are around 3 million visitors to the area each year.
1.Ha Ha Tonka State Park
This 3700 acre state park is situated on the Lake of Ozarks. The main attraction is the ruin of an early 20th construction that was designed to look like a European castle. The businessman who conceived the plan named it after the bubbling water of the natural spring. The building has a sad history, ending in a fire in 1942. Fifteen kilometers of trails have been laid out on the land so visitors can see the sinkholes, caves, bluffs and natural bridges in the park. Boating, swimming and fishing are popular lakeside activities. A visitor center and outdoor interpretation area provide information on the various attractions and activities.
1491 Missouri D, Camdenton, MO
© Bridal Cave
A story of a wedding in the early 1800s, as told by the Osage Native Americans that lived in the area, is the origin of the cave's name. Fittingly, it can be hired for weddings in the modern era and more than 3000 couples across the globe have done so. The area has been protected since 1948 but visitors are welcome. There are frequent guided tours through caves where many rock formations and the Mystery Lake can be seen. Outside of the cave, there are viewing decks, an observation tower, trails and picnic spots. Gems can be 'mined' in the souvenir shop.
526 Bridal Cave Rd, Camdenton, MO 65020, Phone: 573-346-2676
3.Lake Valley Golf and Country Club
The golf course was commissioned in 1967 but torrential rain and the rocky terrain delayed construction and necessitated a change in design. Instead of being a par 70 course, it became a par 72. The early years were difficult financially but a volunteer spirit, donations and dues paid in advance helped the fledgling club to survive. Today there is a clubhouse, pro shop, restaurant, locker rooms, ablution facilities and a swimming pool. The golf course and the banquet hall in the clubhouse can be hired for group functions. Regular events ranging from Independence Day celebrations to trivia evenings are held at the club.
367 C.C. Blair Drive, Camdenton, MO 65020, Phone: 573-346-7218
4.Casa de Loco
© New Africa/stock.adobe.com
The 'House of Crazy' has a checkered history and was once known as the Milionaires' Club. After the Ozark region was dammed up in 1929, the area became a vacation spot for wealthy residents of Kansas City and St Louis. The first owner of the 5 acre hilltop plot built a lodge, two cottages and a large garage on the property. He also laid steps down to the river, hundreds of feet below. Visitors to the winery now enjoy the views as they taste wine and eat pizza overlooking the river. Luxury accommodation is available for overnight stays and there is a gift and wine shop on the premises.
3 Riley Mead Road Unit 3, Eldon, MO 65026, Phone: 573-693-1441
In 1958 apple, pear and peach orchards were established on this property. For almost half a century, the fruit that fell off the trees enriched the soil. In 2007 vineyards replaced the orchards and the Morris' began their winery. They offered wine tasting and rented out kayaks for use on the lake but have since retired from these activities. They still produce estate wines and rent out five properties on the estate and at the golf resort complex across the way. The kayaks are available for use by guests. The property is suitable for outdoor weddings and honeymoon accommodation.
66 Feline Lane, Camdenton, MO 65020, Phone: 573-873-2020
6.Pepperoni Bill's Pizzeria
© Pepperoni Bill's Pizzeria
Growing up in the Lake of Ozarks was sometimes lonely for Bill. Neighbors were far away so he spent time with his mother and grandmother in the kitchen and developed a love of cooking all the old family Italian dishes. He grew up to establish his own restaurant near where he grew up. It is small but expanding due to increased popularity. Pizzas are most popular, from the 10” Billy the Kid to the 16” Jumbo. There are also gluten-free options, including a cauliflower crust. Raviolis, insalatas and calzones are also crowd pleasers. The restaurant opens at 4 pm from Wednesdays to Sundays.
On the Square - 35 Camden Court SW, Camdenton, Phone: 573-873-2365
Randy Jung has been in the restaurant business for more than 40 years and attracts clients from 40 miles away. His family-friendly diner serves breakfasts and lunches. The food is home-cooked using fresh, local ingredients and the portions are huge. Specials change almost daily but some favorites remain, such as a short stack of pancakes, crispy French toast and Friday's fisherman's platter. There are a range of pies to choose from for dessert. RJs caters for special events and large groups. The restaurant is open 7 days a week from 6 am to 2 pm.
275 W. Hwy 54, Camdenton, MO 65020, Phone: 573-346-6133
7 Best Things to Do in Camdenton, MO