According to the latest U.S. Census figures, the lakeside lifestyle is attracting a growing number of seniors, age 65 and over. That population grew by more than 26 percent from 1990 to 2000 at the
Lake of the Ozarks. In
Camden, Miller and Morgan counties surrounding the
Lake, the percentage of population over age 65 is well above state and national averages. Eighteen percent of the
Lake population of approximately 80,000 falls into that age group, compared with 13.5 percent statewide and 12.4 percent nationally.
It’s what’s underneath the water that counts – and that includes largemouth bass, crappie, white bass, hybrid striped bass, catfish and walleye. Anglers age 65 and older do not need a fishing license in
On the water, with more than 1,150 miles of shoreline, the
Lake is an endless source of recreational boating. More than 40 of the
Lake’s 100-plus restaurants are situated right on the water. Lake-area dining options range from hot dogs to haute cuisine, including outstanding Ozarks-style barbecue and many well known chains. Most offer senior and early-bird discounts.
Golf-wise, The Lake of the Ozarks has access to 16 world-class courses, including those designed by well-known names like Roger Null, Arnold Palmer, Tom Weiskopf, Jim Lewis and Bruce Devlin and Robert Von Hagge. The courses are open year round; off-season, travelers and retirees can take advantage of fewer golfers and deep discounts.
Shopping is another major
Lake attraction for travelers and retirees. The largest outlet center in
Missouri, Osage Beach Premium Outlets, features 110 name-brand stores and special discount days for seniors. In addition, the Lake area includes 50-plus antique stores, one-of-a-kind specialty shops and boutiques as well as large discount stores like Wal-Mart, Target and
Marshall’s. Numerous day spas also appeal to travelers and retirees, including the award-winning Spa Shiki at The Lodge of Four Seasons, plus spas at Tan-Tar-A Resort and the Country Club Hotel and more.
Outdoor activities abound at the
Lake year-round. Those who enjoy walking head to the trails at the
Lake area’s two state parks.
Lake of the Ozarks
State Park is
Missouri’s largest at 17,442 acres. Ha Ha Tonka State Park features the mysterious ruins of a castle built by a
Kansas City businessman in the early 20th century.
The parks also are good destinations for birdwatching. The Lake area is on the Mississippi Flyway, the invisible highway in the sky used by a wide variety of eastern and western birds migrating from their homes in Central and
South America. Lake-area bird traffic peaks at the end of May, making springtime the perfect time for birding. And in the winter, travelers and retirees and others take advantage of eagle-watching. About 2,800 bald eagles annually migrate to
Missouri, including more than 100 that congregate at the
Lake of the Ozarks for the winter.
Many travelers and retirees participate in the
Lake area’s active arts and cultural scene. The Lake Arts Council supports organizations for painters, actors, musicians, writers, singers and photographers. Every year, from early October through late November, the Carousel of the Arts celebrates the diversity of the arts all around the
Lake with gallery walks, special performances, book fairs, craft shows and much more. Also throughout the year travelers and retirees volunteer for and attend the
Lake area’s numerous festivals celebrating hummingbirds, hillbillies, wine, apples, dogwood trees and Christmas trees and more. And that’s in addition to bingo at area VFWs and American Legion posts.
Body and Soul
Travelers and retirees can depend on exceptional medical care at the
Lake of the Ozarks.
Beach is an awarding-winning, 140-bed, Level III trauma center with state-of-the-art diagnostic equipment and a skilled professional medical staff. Top-flight cardiovascular services include open-heart surgery and digital cardiac catheterization and a three-year-old cancer treatment center offers patients convenient testing and treatment. Additionally, specialty clinics located throughout the area round out the full range of available services in the community. Travelers and retirees’ spiritual needs are met through approximately 100 churches representing many faiths and denominations located throughout the
The quality of life available at the
Lake of the Ozarks doesn’t require a huge pension or savings account. According to the latest figures available, in 2004 (2nd quarter) the state of
Missouri had the 11th lowest cost of living index in the
United States at 92.7. A further breakdown shows
Missouri’s ranking in the
U.S. as follows: utilities, 3rd lowest; transportation cost (gasoline), 7th lowest; health care, 16th lowest; housing and food, 18th lowest. The composite index for the Lake of the Ozarks Region is below the
Missouri state average. Low state and county taxes also benefit travelers and retirees living at the
As for housing, the region offers apartments, condos and houses on and off the
Lake, from modest to luxurious. In particular, gated communities that cater to retirees are being developed all across the area.
Seniors agree living at the
Lake allows them to feel safe and secure. The crime rate is substantially lower in all categories compared to urban areas. Also, the Lake’s location in central
Missouri helps keep the air and water clean. Recent infrastructure projects, like road improvement and utility expansion, assure the area will continue to accommodate its growing population of seniors and other newcomers.
Lake area offers a pleasant year-round climate; even in the winter the average daily temperature is in the 40s. Best of all, travelers and retirees enjoy four distinct seasons, each with its own special beauty in an area of natural splendor surrounded by the rolling Ozarks hills.
With everything a traveler or retiree could want and more, it’s no wonder the
Lake of the Ozarks is a magnet for people looking for a rewarding lifestyle. For more information on Lake-area living, dining, shopping, events, activities, lodging and more, call the Lake of the Ozarks Convention & Visitor Bureau at 800-FUN-LAKE (800-386-5253), or visit www.funlake.com.