Cruise past history aboard the Belle of the Ozarks

Thursday, June 26, 2008
Have a picture perfect time on Beaver Lake... let the experts show you around.

Beaver Lake is a great place to swim, fish, scuba dive or zip around in a boat, but most people only see a fraction of the lake's beauty. Take a tour and see what you've been missing aboard the Belle of the Ozarks, a fun and informative trip through 12 miles of clear, cool lake. The tour takes one hour and 15 minutes and departs from Starkey Park, just a few minutes off the main highway of U.S. Hwy. 62.

  While the view is spectacular, you also learn about submerged homesteads below the lake's surface, and can see an ancient Native American burial ground without ever touching its sacred soil. Captain Jay Viator and his lovely wife Mary Anne share lots of great tales about the area, like the fascinating history of Native American tribes that once called this area home, or how a retreat on the lake nearly became home for one of country music's biggest legends. You'll also cruise around the wildlife preserve island, a 200-acre refuge for deer, eagles and more. Show up at the right time, and you could even see a deer swimming across the lake, heading for home.

  Riding the Belle means no fumbling with a camera for those dramatic panoramic pictures: you'll see more than 60 miles of shoreline, and plenty of amazing shots, from the impressive sight of Beaver Dam itself to the breathtaking White House Bluffs. Since you're on the water, a cool breeze gently wafts past even in the heat of the day, making the tour a relaxing and refreshing break for anyone who needs a bit of nature. The cruises at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. are great escapes. The Belle of the Ozarks is only closed on Thursdays, so call early for a great seat.

  The Belle's spacious deck is perfect for family reunions, group tours, or a wedding you'll never forget.

  The season runs from May through October. Tours on Oct. 17-19, at the height of the fall color season, will also focus on the eagles arriving to spend the winter here.

  To find the Belle of the Ozarks, take U.S. Hwy. 62 West four miles to Hwy. 187, then turn left onto Mundell Road into Starkey Park. Take the first right after the gatehouse to find the dock on the lower level left of the marina. While the drive is just ten miles from town, the friendly folks at the Belle of the Ozarks always suggest allowing a half hour for travel. For more information, call (479) 253-6200.

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