Lori Lori is a work-at-home mom of three living in Noblesville, Indiana.

My husband and love the simple summer memories of the 80’s and 90’s when we were kids. The times of catching lightening bugs and bonfires in the evening. A time when screens were not such a big part of everyone’s daily life. So when we found out about Big Cedar Lodge, a resort in Ridgedale, Missouri in the Ozark Mountains (not to be confused with the Lake of the Ozarks!), we were sold.

Johnny Morris, the owner of Bass Pro Shops, owns Big Cedar Lodge and shared on his website that he created Big Cedar Lodge to encourage people to enjoy Mother Nature. We can say – he nailed it! Here are some things we loved about our trip to Big Cedar Lodge.

The Variety of Pools

One of the great things about the property are all of the pools! Every kid loves to swim on vacation. We hit up every pool on property and it’s hard to choose a favorite. There was an infinity pool that overlooked Table Rock Lake, there was a double infinity pool with waterfalls, and another pool with a slide (children must be able to swim independently) and a lazy river and a couple standard pools. One day we literally did a pool tour, because each pool offered something special!

Lazy River at Big Cedar Lodge
Lazy river fun at Big Cedar Lodge in the Ozarks.

The Beach and Lake

Big Cedar Lodge is located on Table Rock Lake. The on-property marina allows guests to rent a boat (for a fee). We were with my husband’s family, so we spent a few hours out on a really nice, new pontoon boat. The kids loved swimming in the lake!

Kayaks and canoes are also available to rent, and those are free with your stay. While I can’t say we were the best at controlling them (three kids ages 5, 10, and 11), it did make for a good memory.

There is also a sand beach. The sand is quite rocky — remember this is in the Midwest, so the sand is nothing like the gorgeous beaches on 30A in Florida — but the water temperature was terrific in mid-June. There were large floats anchored to the bottom on the lake to relax on. The time we spent at the lake was heavenly.

Table Rock Lake Beach
Enjoying Table Rock Lake Beach at Big Cedar Lodge in the Ozarks.

Top of the Rock

Guests on property can drive to Top of the Rock, or take a (free) shuttle up to it. Top of the Rock is also a Johnny Morris property, and it is unbelievable. There are three restaurants at the Top of the Rock to choose from; we sat outside and ate at Buffalo Bar. The food was a bit pricey, but my filet was delicious.

There is a gorgeous chapel, a golf course, and a museum at Top of the Rock too. Another neat experience is the ‘Top of the Rock, Lost Canyon Cave’ golf cart tour. We loved it! The golf cart path takes you past several scenic lookouts and waterfalls — and even in to a cave they turned into a bar! Make sure to have your camera ready!

If you are at Top of the Rock to see the breathtaking sun set over the lake, you’ll get to hear a gentleman play a bagpipe and they shoot a cannon too.

Top of Rock at Big Cedar Lodge
Enjoying the breathtaking sunset at Top of the Rock, Big Cedar Lodge.

Endless Activities for the Whole Family

Every night we were on property, Big Cedar Lodge offered a complimentary movie or party on the lawn. We chose to go one evening for the “Summer Party.” There were (free) kits for making s’mores around the bonfire, (free) glow sticks, a deejay playing music, black lights, light up beach balls to throw around and more. It was a blast! My daughter even got a $5 gift card for participating in a Dance Competition!

Fun Mountain is also on property. While I do not like arcades (just go ahead and light a $50 on fire), the kids, of course, had a ball.

Bowling, go carts, bumper cars, a gigantic ropes course with zip lines are offered at Fun Mountain too. There is also a large play area kids can play in with slides and tunnels for free. Our older two kids absolutely loved the ropes course and zip line – part of the course goes over alligators and a python. All participants must meet a height minimum and are harnessed in.

More Things to Know

For those who want to stay active, there are walking trails with scenic views of ponds, waterfalls, and more ALL around the property.

You can also book a kids fishing activity (free, just need to reserve your spot) online before you go. Big Cedar even provide the worms and fishing poles.

For the music lovers out there, make sure to head to Buzzard Bar (kids are welcome) to hear the singing Cowboy! He is charismatic – a true entertainer – with a great voice.

Top of the Rock, Big Cedar Lodge
A gorgeous sunset at Top of the Rock, Big Cedar Lodge.

Johnny Morris did not skip a single detail when he designed Big Cedar Lodge. He built a place that brings families together. There are so many reasons to take a family road trip this summer! If you are looking for a destination the entire family will love where screens can be tossed to the wayside, the food is top notch, the accommodations are stunning, and the natural beauty surrounds you, consider a vacation at Big Cedar Lodge.

Category: Vacation

Tags: Big Cedar Lodge