Lake of the Ozarks is known for summer fun on the water, but many people don’t realize the Lake Area creates a completely new atmosphere during the winter holidays.
With three drive-thru light parks spread throughout the Lake Area, it’s no wonder people travel from all over to visit Lake of the Ozarks during the holidays. There are lots of great holiday activities for people to enjoy – and of course, there’s the shopping.
Let’s first take a look at the light parks, which for years have drawn visitors from across the state. Here’s a recap on what to expect when you visit each one.
Enchanted Village of Lights in Laurie is just that … enchanting! It truly feels like you are stepping into a winter wonderland. This beautiful light park is located at the Laurie City Park. From the moment you enter to the moment you leave you feel like a kid again.
It is an amazing LED-lit display for all to enjoy. The sparkling mile-long drive is well worth the trip. And the best part about this park is that it is free to see!
After going through Enchanted Village of Lights, stroll down the street about a mile to the St. Patrick’s Festival of Lights. This is the Lake’s longest-running drive-thru light park; it has been around for more than 30 years.
Many people love to visit this great attraction in the summer, but it is definitely worth the trip back during December to see the 4,000 strings of lights. With a long driveway lined with beautifully lit Christmas trees – plus the cake, coffee and gift shop you are treated to once you arrive – this attraction makes you stop and enjoy the reason for the season.
The Lake Area also is home to the Versailles Unity Circle of Lights, which has been a part of the holidays for the past six years. Each year, new lights and displays are added – a great way to keep you coming back year after year to see the changes. This light park, located in a beautiful city park, takes you back in time.
After taking a day or two to see the beautiful light parks, continue your fun with a variety of holiday-season activities.
If shows are what you like, you are in for a treat. The Main Street Music Hall Christmas Show is an unforgettable experience; a must-see for all who come to the Lake. If you aren’t in the holiday spirit when you arrive at the show, you will be by the time you leave.
The Greater Lake Area Chorale Concert Series has many concerts throughout the month of December. These performances take place at a variety of venues and celebrate the holidays with amazing music and singing.
Let’s not forget the Camden County Museum in Linn Creek, which hosts plays, dances, and cookie parties. The museum is a great place to visit. You find photos and artifacts from around the Lake Area – many dating to a time before the Bagnell Dam’s construction. Camden County Museum offers a great way to spend a few hours enjoying the history of the area, which was bustling even before it became a tourist destination.
For many of you traveling with kids, the Lake Area has lots of fun ways to spend the day. Santa is often spotted at many locations; you can take a picture with Santa at various shopping venues or even have breakfast with him at some of our resorts. You may see Santa show up at Christmas on the Square in Camdenton or at one of the many Christmas parades around the Lake. In short, you are sure to spot Santa at Lake of the Ozarks.
If you still have shopping to do, the Lake is the perfect place to do it. With many shopping centers, an outlet mall and tons of boutiques around the Lake, you’re sure to find a present for everyone on your list.
The holidays should be a time for family fun and relaxation, but for some reason, they can end up being stressful, with lots of running from event to event. The best way to de-stress is to slow down the pace. There is no better way to do just that than at Lake of the Ozarks.
If you do nothing other than enjoy the lights strung on docks while riding on one of the excursion boats or relax at one of our great lodging facilities, it is worth the trip and a great way to re-energize for the holidays.
If you haven’t made it down to Lake of the Ozarks to see the light parks this year and enjoy the holiday activities, you still have time! All the parks are open until Jan. 1, so pack up the family and enjoy a weekend at the Lake.
If you want to make a trip out of the experience, check out FunLake.com for information on shopping, dining, area attractions and events mentioned in this article.
Written by Heather Brown, director of member services at the Lake of the Ozarks Convention & Visitor Bureau.