Your Guide to Lake O

Every summer for as long as I can remember, my family takes a trip to beautiful Lake O, situated in the center of Missouri at about 8 hours from Tekamah, NE. I truly consider this place my second home now and as the years have gone by, I realize how at peace I am on the water.

To share what makes this place the perfect summer destination I considered a lot of different styles but in the end, I thought this short guide would be the best to show all the things the area has to offer, along with my personal favorites.

And yes, since this is a lake, it’s best to have a boat (but boat rentals are an option) although you can still access some activities from a car. So, let’s get started! 👉


For my family, we always rent a cabin near the water–with the exception of one year when we rented a condo.

Having our own cabin/house works best for us because there is usually a shorter walk from the house to the boating dock when compared to condos. We also like the freedom that comes with having a cabin.

We never stay in the same place twice, so I don’t really have a recommendation on where the best place is, but I say anywhere near the water is good!



Big Dick’s Halfway Inn

  • American food and signature “minnow shot”.
  • Mile marker 47.

Captain Ron’s Bar and Grill

  • American food featuring a pirate theme with a sandy beach area to swim in.
  • Mile marker 34.5.

Coconuts Caribbean Beach Bar and Grill

  • American food, swim-up bar, kids pool and lake toys.
  • Mile Marker 6.5.

Franky and Louie’s Beachfront Bar and Grill

  • American food, live music and games.
  • Mile marker 10.

Redhead Lakeside Grill

  • American food with a swim-up bar.
  • Mile marker 21.

Shady Gators

  • American food featuring a pool with a view.
  • Mile marker 7.

ALL food is boat and car accessible.



Bagnell Dam Strip

  • This is the premier tourist spot and yes, my family (usually the girls) go here every year. Anything from t-shirts, sweatshirts, mugs, candy, key chains, tattoos (fake and real) and games can be found here.
  • This is a strip mall that includes a lot of outdoor walking, so pick a non-rainy day of your trip.
  • If you are staying near the lake, you will likely have to drive to the dam.

Bridal Cave

  • Millions of years have worked their magic on this cave and can be seen through giant columns, soda straws (hollow mineral tubes) and massive draperies.
  • Tours start every few minutes and take about an hour.
  • You can get here by boat or by car.


  • Well you’re on a lake so you can partake in swimming, tubing, skiing, boating, fishing, jet skiing, parasailing (one of my personal favorites) or simply go sunbathing.
  • The lake has tons of boats, jet skis and other recreational activities for rent.
  • My FAVORITE thing about going to the Ozarks is cliff jumping. There is absolutely nothing like it in the world, I swear it.

To do this, we usually boat around and pull off the main channel and just keep an eye out for cliffs either high enough and that we can access.

We have a preferred spot that we usually end up going to, it’s on the way to Big Dick’s but I don’t know the specific mile marker.


Whatever you chose to do, wear sunscreen. Missouri heat is unforgiving

I am so excited to be going back to the Ozarks this year the end of July with my family and friends! It’s always a great way to end the summer and I hope you consider Missouri as one of your next travel destinations!

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  1. Great article Claire!! When my girls were young we would go to the Ozarks every summer with my sisters & their kids. It was great & I am so happy my girls & I have these great memories!! Would love to go again & take the Grandkids!!

  2. The US has so many great places but I havent heard of Lake O. Being a water lover I’ll have to look into it. I also love caves so I’d have to check out Bridal Cave. But trust me when I say I wont be doing any cliff jumping lol

  3. Sorry! I can’t stop laughing about Big Dick’s. Ha! I have been curious to know what there is to do in the Ozarks. All I know of it is from watching the show, Ozark, with Jason Bateman. The scenery on the show looks spectacular so I definitely want to visit someday!

  4. This reminds me of some of places that I went to when I was a lot younger in small towns in northern Ontario. In the summer, everyone would head to the lakes where there would be stores selling cheap t-shirts and yummy soft ice cream. I used to love the days there.

  5. I think I read about lake Ozark or heard about it from some movie, but I have never known anything else about the place. Thanks for the informative post.

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