Four-Diamond Majestic Resort on Mountain Lake
Table Rock Lake spreads across two states and more than 50,000 acres in the gently rolling Ozark Plateau. On the Missouri side, the AAA Four Diamond Chateau on the Lake Resort Spa—dubbed “the castle of the Ozarks”—sits on the lakeshore. It rises above a lush, tree-covered landscape about 5 miles outside Branson’s theater district. The resort exudes luxury and serenity. Its vast, skylighted atrium features indoor streams lined with exotic flowers and trees. A Swarovski-crystal chandelier hangs above the luxurious Spa Chateau, which features a steam room, a sauna, and indoor and outdoor hot tubs. The resort’s full-service marina and complimentary kayaks, paddleboats, and canoes mean guests can explore the lake in a variety of ways, making it a perfect getaway for both families and couples.
Upstairs, most lake-view rooms let you walk through sliding doors to private balconies that look out on glittering Table Rock Lake. Inside each, a king-size Serta Perfect Sleeper mattress is set amid furnishings such as leather chairs, cherry-wood headboards, and a credenza. Each lakefront Ambassador suite offers a little extra room, plus two flat-screen televisions, complimentary robes, and other luxurious amenities.
The resort complex encompasses four eateries. The upscale Chateau Grille offers elegant American fare and a six-page wine list, which earned an Award of Excellence in 2013 from Wine Spectator. After dinner, you can head over to the Sweet Shoppe, an old-fashioned soda fountain scooping out hand-dipped ice cream.
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. 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 about 30 miles, there are two large lakes—Table Rock and Taneycomo. Each is stocked with trout and has boats available for rent. 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.