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Quick Guide To A Fun Weekend At Table Rock Lake

For a lake vacation that combines adventure, time on the water, and relaxation, Table Rock Lake in southern Missouri is hard to beat. My family spent a memorable three-day getaway early in the summer. Keep reading for our suggested activities and experiences, plus places to eat and where to stay when you visit Table Rock Lake.

Disclaimer: My visit was hosted by Visit Table Rock Lake and Silver Dollar City. All thoughts, opinions and typos are my own. This post may contain affiliate links. 

The Reiner Family boating at Table Rock Lake, with two kids on a tube in the background

Quick overview of the trip

Table Rock Lake is huge, and there are many places to stay that put you close to the water. We wanted to be fairly close to Branson for our visit to Silver Dollar City, but far enough away from the hustle and bustle of the city. We stayed at an incredible cabin at Table Rock Shore Resort in Kimberling City. 

On our first day, we rented a boat from Suntex Boat Club at Port of Kimberling Marina. That evening, our dinner was at Pier 28 located conveniently next to the boat club.

Day two was spent at Silver Dollar City. You need at least a day there. We relaxed afterward back at the resort, enjoying the pools, hot tub and pickle ball courts.

Four people stand by a red jeep in a forest near Table Rock Lake
Adventure Cave Tours jeep stop

Day 3 was a half-day, but it was quite an adventure. We had a four-hour wild cave tour with Adventure Cave Tours. Our reward after the tour was ice cream at The Funky Twig before we headed home.

We could’ve easily have spent another day or two. In addition to seeing more of Table Rock Lake, there’s plenty to see and do in nearby Branson.

Distance from Kimberling City to attractions

  • To Port of Kimberling City Marina: Less than a mile
  • To Adventure Cave Tours (and Talking Rocks Cavern): 7 miles
  • To Silver Dollar City: 10 miles
  • To Branson: 18 miles
Riders on Thunderation raise their hands in the air at Silver Dollar City
Thunderation at Silver Dollar City

Where to stay for this Table Rock Lake adventure 

I’ve been to the Branson/Table Rock Lake area a number of times since childhood and stayed everywhere from chain hotels near all the Branson theaters to a condo near Table Rock Lake. Hands down, the best place we’ve stayed at was Table Rock Shore Resort in Kimberling City.

The cabins at the resort are spacious for a large family and more than one family. The thought crossed my mind that it would be the ideal location for a family reunion. 

A boy sits in a chair inside a cabin at Table Rock Shore Resort. Stairs lead to a second floor behind him.
Table Rock Shore Resort cabin living room

Our cabin had three bedrooms, several bathrooms, and the kind of kitchen you dream of. It was a great place to retreat to after a long day, with comfy beds and couches to relax and unwind.

But the true relaxing place to head to at the resort is the pool area. There are two salt water pools with waterfalls and two hot tubs. There’s also a spray ground for little ones. 

A waterfall cascade between two pools at Table Rock Shore Resort in Kimberling City, Missouri
Table Rock Shore Resort pools

If you want to stay active, you can there. Near the pools are a pickle ball court and shuffleboard. There are trails on the property and access to the lake. 

The resort is ideal for those who want to be close to nature but not totally immersed in it. It’s great if you want to make some of your own meals (or all of them). If you want a place to hang out with a larger group, this is it.

It’s not a good option if you want to be really near all the tourist attractions of Branson. It’s not far from Branson, but you won’t find souvenir shops or a go cart track down the street.

Things to do when visiting Table Rock Lake

1. Boating

Table Rock Lake is an obviously big draw to this part of the state with more than 800 miles of shoreline, and the snake-like river covers more than 40,000 surface acres. It’s huge, is what I’m saying.

If you have your own watercraft, lucky you. You can explore the lake easily, finding lakeside restaurants and filling stations along the way. If you don’t own a boat, no worries. It’s easy to rent a boat!

A boat with a blue partial roof waits at a dock on Table Rock Lake
A rental boat from Suntex Boat Club at Port of Kimberling Marina

We got our boat at Suntex Boat Club at Port of Kimberling Marina. They offer memberships to get access to the top-of-the-line fleet of pontoons, tritoons, center consoles, and runabouts.

For our vacation situation, a one-time rental was what we needed. Suntex Boat Club offers full-day and half-day rentals. We had a half-day rental and added a tube rental from a nearby business so we could pull the kids along on the lake.

The Suntex Boat Club staff was incredibly helpful and patiently explained all the rules and best practices for safe boating before we left the dock. So, if you are a first-time boater, this is the place to go!

2. Silver Dollar City

Silver Dollar City is consistently voted one of the nation’s top-rated theme parks year after year. If you’re traveling with kids or are a thrill seeker yourself, you need to include a day or two at the park! It’s an 1880s theme park, with the theme carried throughout in attraction designs, buildings, staff costumes, and artisan demonstrations. It’s remarkably well done.

A raft makes a splash after going down a ramp at Silver Dollar City in Branson, Missouri
Mystic River Falls at Silver Dollar City

Big draws are rollercoasters like the Time Traveler and the just-reopened Fire In The Hole, the largest indoor rollercoaster in the region (and the perfect first-time rollercoaster for kids!). There are also live performances, Marvel Cave tours, and more.

Two days would be adequate for exploring the park (and let’s not forget, there’s also a water park and dinner cruise). But if you’re in the area for just a weekend, like we were, you can do a lot in one day.

Tip: I highly recommend splurging on Trailblazer Pass in order to get front-of-the-line access on select Silver Dollar City rides up to eight times during a single visit. It helped avoiding lines at popular rides like Mystic River Falls.

3. Adventure Cave Tours

You can find show caves throughout the Ozarks – these are the ones that have paths, lights, and large tour groups passing through them. There are also wild caves, and these gems are mostly on private lands that you’ll never see…unless you book a guided tour with Adventure Cave Tours.

A girl crawls in a wild cave near Table Rock Lake in Missouri
Adventure Cave Tours

The four-hour tours include skills testing, safety equipment (like a helmet, light, and gloves), and a jeep ride to each cave. Skilled guides lead you through several caves, helping you and your group test your limits (or not…they helped whenever a climb was too difficult or slick). Our guides, Kenny and Ashley, were the best and my family overcame some obstacles I couldn’t have imagined us being able to do thanks to them.

Tips: There are morning and afternoon tours, and I recommend the morning to avoid the heat of the day. Caves are pretty moderate in temperature but the wooded areas of Missouri get hot quickly. I also cannot stress enough that you will want to wear long sleeves and pants on this tour. And sturdy shoes. Also, bring a complete set of clothes and shoes to change into after the tour. You will get wet. You will get muddy. Everything will get muddy.

Six people sit on a log, all of them covered in mud and wearing hard hats.
The crew after a few hours of spelunking with Adventure Cave Tours

The tour is tiring, so I recommend not planning a super active afternoon afterward. If you stay at the Table Rock Shore Resort, you’ll just want to alternate between the salt water pools and hot tubs. It’s pure bliss.

Places to eat near Table Rock Lake

I make it a point to seek out family-owned or locally-owned restaurants when I travel, and it’s not so easy to find those places in Branson. They are there, to be sure, but you need to look a bit. If you don’t mind popular chains or celebrity chef restaurants, well, you will love Branson.

Salads and wings at PIer 28 Pizza & Grill at Port of Kimberling
PIer 28 Pizza & Grill

Here’s a rundown of my favorite restaurants from this trip:

  • Breakfast: We had a diner breakfast Ma’s Place in Kimberling City one morning. It’s where the locals eat so don’t expect many frills. The pancakes are good, the service was quick, and that’s all that I was looking for. On our last trip, we ate at Billy Gail’s Cafe, a quirky Branson staple near Silver Dollar City. You pretty much have to eat there at least once in your life.
  • Lunch and Dinner: For waterfront dining, head to Pier 28 Pizza & Grill at Port of Kimberling. The menu includes pizza and wings, fresh salads, and burgers. Throughout the summer, you can catch live music Thursdays through Sundays. We also tried food at different eateries at Silver Dollar City. Hands down, the family favorite was Rivertown Smokehouse. You can enjoy your barbecue on the patio that overlooks Mystic River Falls.
  • Ice Cream: The Funky Twig is a local shop serving up delicious artisanal ice cream, and it’s a favorite among locals and tourists. You can stick to familiar flavors or try some of the more unique offerings like roasted corn. I got an ice cream flight so I could try a bunch of them!
A flight of ice cream with eight different cups of artisan ice cream at The Funky Twig
Ice Cream flight at The Funky Twig

Hope this article helps you plan a wonderful Table Rock Lake vacation. Leave a comment if you have any questions!

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