Hotel at a Glance: Chateau on the Lake Resort Spa
Dubbed “the Castle of the Ozarks,” the AAA Four-Diamond Chateau on the Lake Resort Spa sits on the shores of Table Rock Lake. Its classic decor befits its nickname. A towering atrium features indoor streams, a waterfall, and exotic flora. A Swarovski-crystal chandelier hangs above the luxurious Spa Chateau, where you can get a massage and relax in the steam room and sauna. The resort—which was awarded a 2014 TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence—towers over a lush, tree-covered landscape about five miles from Branson’s theater district, far enough to seem remote and close enough to keep you near civilization.
- Room with a view: Enjoy the sight of glittering Table Rock Lake from your spacious newly refurbished guest room, which feature ceramic lamps with plug-ins, leather chairs, sofa sleepers, makeup mirrors, and flat-screen TVs. Some rooms also have balconies.
- Take a dip in the 24-hour indoor pool or relax sore muscles in the indoor hot tub.
- Award-winning restaurant: Pair a gourmet meal at the Chateau Grille with a varietal from the six-page wine list, which earned a Wine Spectator Award of Excellence in 2014. The resort is home to three other restaurants, ranging from upscale to very casual.
- Indulge in dessert at the Sweet Shoppe, an old-fashioned soda fountain where you can get hand-dipped ice cream, candies, and fresh pastries.
- Take a hike on the property’s trails. Keep your eyes peeled for deer, wild turkeys, and armadillos.
- Time to relax: Spa Chateau offers luxurious massages, nail services, hair and makeup services, and facials.
Branson, Missouri: Family-Friendly Theaters and Concert Halls in the Ozarks
If you take a drive through the Ozarks in Missouri, it might seem like an unlikely place to find glittering lights and stage shows—for the most part, it’s a rolling plateau of wooded hills, snaking rivers, and limestone bluffs. But follow down Route 76 and you’ll find Branson, which looks like a miniature, more family-friendly version of Las Vegas.
Dozens of stages and music halls line Branson’s main strip, some of which are owned by stars such as Dolly Parton. On any given night you can watch anything from country music performances to circus acrobatics to magic shows.
If you’re traveling with kids, Silver Dollar City is a safe bet; it’s located about 5 miles west of the strip (seasonal). The popular theme park is built around Marvel Cave and modeled after an 18th-century frontier town. Here you can hop on a mine-car roller coaster, take a tour by lantern through limestone caverns, or watch as blacksmiths hand-forge mailboxes for the mayor’s private collection.
If you want to duck away from the lights, it’s worth it to explore the surrounding countryside. Within a short drive are two large lakes—Table Rock and Taneycomo. For the fly-fishing enthusiast, Taneycomo is stocked with trout and has boats available for rent as well fishing guides for hire. Or head to Ruth and Paul Henning Conservation Area, where you can bike or hike along Roark Creek and through dense oak forests. Paul Henning, who was inspired to create the Beverly Hillbillies after a Boy Scout trip to the Ozarks, donated the 1,534-acre reserve.