Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri

12 Reasons to Love Fall Boating at Lake of the Ozarks

September 25, 2018 by Boat Planet

The so-called 100 days of summer are over. It was another fun and busy Memorial Day through Labor Day at Lake of the Ozarks. Fall is now here. The local chambers of commerce refer to the period post-Labor Day as the "shoulder season." Locals say we have our lake back. It’s safe to say, tens of thousands of people won’t return to the Lake until next summer.

However, Lake of the Ozarks is a special and beautiful place during the fall. The fall foliage is outstanding. Soon, the Lake’s magnificent colors will be on full display! Enjoy the Lake this fall as the locals do with our 12 reasons for loving fall boating at Lake of the Ozarks:

1. Fall Harbor Hop - As we stated in an earlier blog post, the Fall Harbor Hop signals the unofficial end to the boating season at Lake of the Ozarks. We all know there are many great weeks of boating left! For many, the Fall Harbor Hop is their last hurrah of the boating season. The 33rd annual Fall Harbor Hop is on October 13, 2018.

2. End of Season & Customer Appreciation Parties - Many of your favorite lakeside establishments have end-of-season discounts and customer appreciation parties where great discounts can be had on food, drink, and apparel. Jolly Rogers Grub n Grog (4.5MM Gravois Arm) hosts “Drink Jolly Dry” on October 20, 2018. The best way to find out if your favorite lakeside hot-spot is offering any deals is to check out their Facebook page or website.

jolly rogers grub n grog lake of the ozarks
3. Thunder Mountain Fall Festival at Bridal Cave - Bridal Cave (10.5MM Big Niangua Arm) is an institution at Lake of the Ozarks and every weekend in October the Thunder Mountain Fall Festival activities are included in your tour of Bridal Cave. Among the activities: enjoy live Bluegrass music, sarsaparilla making, caramel apple bar, pumpkin chunkin' range, fire pits for smores, face painting, selection of mums, pedal tractor races, hike the pumpkin trail, pick out your favorite pumpkin and take advantage of many family photo opportunities! The best way to arrive is by water and there are several docks for you to tie up your boat.

bridal cave lake of the ozarks
4. OkToaderFest at The Horny Toad - Located at Camden on the Lake (7MM), OkToaderFest on October 13, 2018, features German fare, beer and wine tastings, music, and a variety of unique vendors. The event runs from 11 AM to 3 PM and there are usually plenty of slips available at Camden at the Lake.

5. Fall Foliage - With 1,150 miles of shoreline, Lake of the Ozarks offers boaters some of the best fall foliage viewing opportunities in the Midwest, and arguably, the nation. Enjoy the brilliant colors of white oaks, maples, dogwoods, redbuds and more. Take a ride down the Glaize Arm (1MM - 14MM) for some undeveloped views of beautiful foliage through Lake of the Ozarks State Park. For those of you who already know the Lake is a beautiful place to view fall foliage, be sure to vote in the USA Today 10 Best Readers’ Choice 2018.  

fall foliage lake of the ozarks
6. Enjoy the Warmth of an Outdoor Fireplace or Fire Pit - Enjoy a hot bowl of jambalaya in front of the outdoor fireplace at Shorty Pants (21MM) or head over to The Lodge of Four Seasons (13.5MM) to warm up in front of one of their two gas fire pits that sit poolside–both have beautiful lake views. Also, check out the Lodge’s Halloween dinner and hayride on October 27, 2018–details here.

7. Relax in a Hot Tub or Heated Pool - Relax to a sunset in one of Lake of the Ozarks’ many heated pools or hot tub options. Among them, Redhead Lakeside Grill (21MM) is open year round. Enjoy their heated pool that sits right outside the restaurant and lakeside. If you’re looking for even warmer water, take a dip in the hot tub at Camden on the Lake (7MM). In addition, they have a heated pool.

8. Spend the Night on the Water - Coving out or spending the night on the water can be a much more enjoyable experience with the cooler temps of fall. Perhaps, pick a spot you normally don’t frequent. One that will allow you to enjoy some fall scenery along the way. A great spot is Ha Ha Tonka State Park (14.5MM Big Niangua Arm). With towering bluffs and castle ruins overhead and beautiful fall foliage opportunities on each shoreline, Ha Ha Tonka State Park won’t disappoint.

ha ha tonka lake of the ozarks
9. Horseback Riding at Tan-Tar-A - Take the family by boat to Tan-Tar-A Resort (26MM) for a horse or pony ride. Once docked, head to the stables just up the hill from Tan-Tar-A’s main entrance.

10. Big Bass Bash - This amateur only fishing tournament is October 6-7, 2018. Like the professionals, weekend anglers will have a chance to win big prize money. How big? $100,000 to the angler who hauls in the biggest bass! In total, over $250,000 in cash payouts! Anglers can enter online until October 4, 2018. Complete details here.  

boating lake of the ozarks big bass bashPhoto Credit: FunLake.com

11. Bald Eagle Viewing -Bald eagles arrive at Lake of the Ozarks in October. A few have been known to nest along the shoreline. In addition to bald eagles, ring-billed gulls migrate from the Great Lakes region to winter at the Lake. Although rare, golden eagles have been seen in the area as well. A comprehensive list of birds that can be observed at Lake of the Ozarks can be found here.

12. Enjoy Less Traffic - From coving out to viewing fall scenery, navigating the Lake during the fall is much easier. There are fewer boats on the water, so captains and their guests can enjoy the unusually calm water. There are also plenty of open docks at your favorite lakeside establishments, and it’s a lot easier to find that quiet cove where you may be the only one anchored out. As always, be safe and watch your wake.

As the boat traffic wanes and the days shorten, fall foliage will be on full display at Lake of the Ozarks. It’s a beautiful and pleasant time to be on the water. Seize the moment while you can, before you have to winterize your boat. As we all know, winter is just around the corner.  

Why do you enjoy fall boating at Lake of the Ozarks? Do you have a go-to spot to enjoy fall foliage? How about a favorite warm meal on your boat? Join the conversation, we would love to hear from you!

Boat Planet