Big Cedar Lodge
We started off our trip in Bentonville, AR and are now at Big Cedar Lodge in Ridgedale, MO.
Big Cedar Lodge was created by Bass Pro Shop founder Johnny Morris when he purchased the existing property in the area, known as Big Cedar Hollow, in 1987. Since then, it’s grown into one of the best wilderness resorts in the U.S. It covers 800 acres that overlooks Table Rock Lake in the Ozark Mountains just outside Branson, Missouri.
If you like being surrounded by gorgeous natural scenery while still enjoying premium facilities and amenities, this is a wonderful destination. This is one of my favorite places in Missouri.
Big Cedar Lodge offers plenty of outdoor activities for all ages. Having two very active little boys, this is music to my ears.
The main lobby is tastefully decorated in a rustic theme. While I checked in, my boys played with the Lincoln Logs on a game table, which would’ve kept them busy for hours.
For dinner we ordered some pizza from a local place, while playing some of the board games you can check out.
For dessert, we headed to the campfire area for s’mores. They had several fires going and each family got a s’mores kit. The weather was fantastic, and we were serenaded by the sound of hundreds of tree frogs croaking. To cap off our evening, we hit the links at the fishing-themed mini golf course located next to the campfire area.
When we returned to our room, the “cookie lady” had left us some treats: “wishing” maple leaf cookies. They’re gingerbread in the shape of a maple leaf. They get their name because when you hold one in your hand, you make a wish and then tap the cookie’s center. If it breaks into three pieces, your wish will come true.
When I woke up the next morning, I headed to Big Cedar’s fitness gym. This facility has a lot of machines of all kinds. After lifting weights, I went outside to get some cardio in. I quickly found the 5K walking/ running trail on site. Well-marked and paved, it took me all around the amazing property, where I was surrounded by the sounds of nature (waterfalls, frogs, birds, etc.)
The lodge had organized a kids fishing rodeo, so we hopped on the shuttle and headed to the lake. Just like at the s’mores night, don’t worry about bringing your own supplies to Big Cedar, you’re already covered. The staff gave my boys fishing, rods, showed them how to put a worm on the hook, and off they went!
After fishing, we headed over to the marina for the paddle boats. We toured the lake and cove, where there’s a beautiful waterfall. The boys enjoyed spotting ducks and turtles that were out sunning. When we got back to the marina, we headed to the outdoor café for lunch, where we saw even more turtles on the banks. There were several turtle families with babies, so the boys were very excited to see them.
Top of the Rock
The only time we left Big Cedar Lodge, was to go to Top of the Rock, which is a short drive north on Hwy 65 from Big Cedar.
They give you a golf cart, which an adult drives around the property on very scenic paved trails. Waterfalls, bridges and other breathtaking nature scenes surround you during your journey. The highlight of the drive comes when you drive into a cave with a gigantic waterfall. After leaving the cave, we drove over several covered bridges and saw more waterfalls. The drive lasts between 45 mins and a hour, but when done, we all wanted to go around again! It was amazing! Tickets are ($25 for adults/ $12.50 for kids), but we all thought it was well worth it.
I just read this week that Big Cedar opened a new activity center called Fun Mountain on property. It looks amazing.
Overall I would describe our trip to Big Cedar Lodge magical. If you love being outdoors I would highly recommend this place to anyone.