The prairie region of the United States stretches from the Canadian border down to parts of Texas. Right in the middle of it all lies Lake Ozark, a dragon-shaped body of water created in the 1930s with the completion of the Bagnell Dam, and now stretching more than 90 miles through the Ozark mountains of Missouri.
On a recent trip to the area, I enjoyed staying lakeside at the Lodge of Four Seasons golf resort (check out my incredible experience here) and took in a scenic dinner cruise, but the best way to see the lake, in my opinion, is from the air!
There may be more than one way to do this, but I think the best is with Lake Ozark Helicopters, located at 2101 Bagnell Dam Blvd in Lake Ozark. You’ll recognize the place right away by the helicopters which rest alongside the road, or are taking off and landing.
Once inside, the base camp features T-shirts and ball caps for sale, and also has a clean restroom. There are also DVDs for sale which provide an aerial tour of the lake, and signs offering a GoPro video of your tour for $35. The GoPro recordings, it was explained to me, are of your conversations with the pilot and show the interior of the helicopter while in flight. Now, someone behind a counter will explain the various flight plans you can charter, beginning with a super-brief but super-affordable one for only $29. I opted for the more round-about State Park Tour ($99) which provided views of the state park, the dam, “Millionaires’ Cove” (the pilot described it as the “Malibu of the Midwest”), and an abundance of beautiful views of the lake.
The whole experience is comfortable, exciting, and very professional. When your flight is ready, you’ll be led to the helicopter, in my case by another pilot named Nick, and helped in (as griping the doors of the helicopter to pull yourself in damages the craft). If you’re curious how it works, you should pull up their website here and watch the live heliport webcam to see other folks as they take off!
My time in the air was spent in a Robinson 44 with a friendly and reassuring pilot named Ben who told me that in the peak summer times, he can easily give more than 100 tours in a day!
If you go, be sure to call 573-302-0022 first for information, and don’t forget to tell them you read about their tours here! Tours are given seven days a week until dusk, with sunset tours available by reservation. I was not compensated in any way for this post, but if you ask me, there’s no better way to explore the lake than from your own chariot in the sky!
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