If your family loves the great outdoors, then the Big Cedar Lodge Resort in Missouri is the ticket. Beautifully nestled on 800 sprawling acres amid the foothills of the lush Ozarks and hugging 43,000-acre Table Rock Lake, Big Cedar caters to the great outdoors person in everyone.
Big Cedar was built in the 1920s, and Bass Pro Shops acquired it in 1987. All throughout you will see strokes of the Bass Pro stamp, from the giant open-mouth bass at the ninth hole of the property’s miniature golf course to the keen attention to decor inside every room. Speaking of rooms, you can opt for six different varieties, ranging from a traditional hotel-like accommodation to a private log cabin. Each cabin contains a full kitchen (with cookware and dishes) and a private deck out back overlooking the lake (also equipped with a gas grill). All of the cabins are strategically nestled within the property’s flora in order to maintain privacy — exquisite to say the least!
FUN THINGS TO DO
Big Cedar is certainly BIG on activities; no worries about kids whining of boredom here! Of course, the huge attraction is bass fishing on the lake (where you can also find a variety of crappie, sunfish and catfish). Take a complimentary shuttle (a nice perk that runs 24 hours a day all over the property) to the Bent Hook Marina and Market where you can rig up with all the gear you need. Your family can rent a boat, or to find the best spots for bites, consider going with a professional guide. While folks fish the lake year round, the best time for catching bass is in the spring.
The resort does offer a variety of free activities including canoeing and paddle boating, horseshoes, a nine-hole miniature golf course, a lush nature trail, several hiking trails, basketball, shuffleboard, sand volleyball, tennis, several swimming pools, a lazy river (open seasonally) and more. In the event you encounter a rainy day, take advantage of the free DVD library! Golfing is a big attraction here, too, with four distinct golf courses nearby the property.
Your family can enjoy some concetrated relaxation time in the resort's spa. It features numerous services, includes special ones for youth ages 16 and younger.
For an additional fee, your family can saunter up to the Cedar Mountain Stables where kids 10 and younger can embark on pony rides daily from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. Ages 8 and older can set out on a one-hour guided horseback trail ride, and the whole family can enjoy a leisurely horse-drawn carriage ride around the property.
If your family makes the trip during the fall and winter months, you can have fun zipping around the outdoor ice-skating rink, complete with illuminated holiday trees with music filling the air. The rink is open Nov. 1, 2019 - Jan. 31, 2020.
When you get hungry, the resort offers four distinct eateries, spanning from soup and sandwich café fare to elegant dining, all within a casual environment.
JUST FOR KIDS
Ages 4 - 11 can have fun being a part of the Big Cedar Kids Adventure Club. Available in four-hour sessions, the Club gives kids the opportunity to have fun without Mom and Dad, while giving the two of you a block of time for fun elsewhere at the resort on your own. The Club's outdoor adventures include games and learning experiences, including archery, environmental awareness and Native American history exploration.
Kids loves heading to the bonfire pit on Friday and Saturday evenings where they can have fun roasting marshmallows and chowing down on complimentary s’mores while taking a break from playing assorted lawn games. Free activities for youngsters throughout the year include fishing programs, campfire activities, remote-controlled car racing and beyond.
In addition, your kids and you can enjoy all the fun at the resort's newest attraction, Fun Mountain. This 50,000-square-foot fun zone is bursting with all kinds of things to entertain you. There's a full arcade, bumper cars, a golf simulator, bowling with an underwater theme, laser tag, rock walls, go-carts, a ropes course, kids' nature activities and more. Fun Mountain is open 10 a.m. - 10 p.m. daily. All activities require fees.
DOGWOOD CANYON NATURE PARK
Should you decide to explore away from the resort, make the 15-mile trip to Dogwood Canyon Nature Park (also owned by Bass Pro Shops founder Johnny Morris through his Dogwood Foundation). There are several fantastic ways to embrace the great outdoors in this 2,200-acre site that stretches into nearby Arkansas. A single-day pass ($16 adults, $11 ages 4 - 11) includes biking, fishing, horseback riding, Segway tours and the wildlife tram tour.
The hour-and-a-half tram tour takes you deep into the park where you’ll see waterfalls and get up close encounters with wildlife including deer, elk, bison and Texas longhorns.
You can also enjoy trout fishing (catch and release or catch and keep) and learn skills in a fly casting clinic.
During summer months, kids 4 - 12 can have fun on a four-hour Kids’ Camp excursion at Dogwood every Saturday (arranged through Big Cedar). They’ll get to do activities like hiking and learning outdoor skills like archery, firing (BB/pellet guns), compass reading, fire building and pitching a tent.
Regardless of what time of year you may go, Big Cedar provides huge fun and unforgettable family memories.