When we started planning our family vacation at Lake of the Ozarks, not much was mentioned about doing things outside of our rental. One place I did want to go back to was Ha Ha Tonka. The little one and I made a trip there in 2010 and I figured it could be a fun outing for a large group of people. The park is located on one arm of the lake and covers about 3,700 acres. There are hiking trails and some gorgeous views, but most people go to see the castle ruins and the natural bridge. You can hike down to the spring, but it’s over 300 steps each way.
Keep in mind that I’ve seen European and Asian castles. What they consider a castle is really just a larger than normal house made of stone. It was destroyed by a fire at some point, so the walls are all that remain. It’s still fun to walk around it though. A littler farther down is the remains of the carriage house and father past that, the water tower used by the house.
In a different section of the park, but still easily accessible from the parking lots is a huge natural bridge. The natural bridge is a massive stone arch that was left behind when the cave system around it collapsed. It spans 60 feet, is 100 feet high, and 70 feet wide. After a heavy rain, water will run off the back side, providing a nice waterfall.
We took five kids to the park that day, ranging in age from 3 to 7. All had little to no difficulty. The smallest got a few rides from his dad, but otherwise all the kids ran around and had no issues. We didn’t attempt any of the actual hiking trails though. It’s free to get in and a must if you are in the area.