Everything You Need to Know About Belle of the Ozarks

With 487 miles of shoreline, it’s no wonder Beaver Lake is one of Arkansas most popular tourist destinations.  There are plenty of marinas for boating and areas for swimming, fishing and campsites surrounding the parks on Beaver Lake.  The natural beauty of the limestone bluffs, natural caves and trees bring in 3.1 million visitors each year.  With the summer months being one of the busiest times to visit Beaver Lake, there is still plenty to do in the off season.  The lake is surrounded by many hiking and nature trails that show off the scenic beauty of the mountains, lake and wildlife.

For the best views of Beaver Lake, the Belle of the Ozarks cruise is the way to go.  The Belle of the Ozarks offers a twelve mile cruise around the lake from May to October.  This open-air vessel departs from Starkey Park at 11:00am, 1:00pm and 3:00pm with the exception of being closed on Thursdays.  Tours last around one hour and fifteen minutes.  Included on the tour are panoramic views of the shoreline and over a dozen points of interest.  Sit back and relax while the Captain narrates about the history of the lake.  Whitney Mountain, Whitehouse Bluffs and Beaver Dam are also popular sites that can be seen along the tour.  The cruise also passes a 200 acre game preserve island where birds and deer can often be seen in the water.

Each October, The Belle of the Ozarks offers eagle watch tours.  This special cruise includes an expert guide to help passengers spot perching sites, mature and immature bald eagles and even eagles hunting for fish in the lake.  Be sure to bring a camera to capture these magnificent creatures as they make their way back to Beaver Lake for the winter season.  This is also a great month for touring the lake to see the beautiful fall foliage in the Ozarks.

The Belle of the Ozarks has been a tourist and local favorite for twenty four seasons.  Tickets are $22.00 for adults and $8.50 for children 12 and under.  The Belle of the Ozarks is also open for group tours and perfect for reunions and small weddings.  Group rates apply for 20 to 50 passengers.

When staying in the Eureka Springs area, be sure to check out Arsenic and Old Lace Bed and Breakfast.  Located just twenty minutes from Beaver Lake, this historic mansion in the hills of the Ozarks sets the scene for all things peaceful and relaxing.  After a day at the lake, retreat back to the inn and unwind on the large wrap around porch.  Four of the five guest suites offer a private seating area or balcony perfect for enjoying a glass of wine or morning coffee.  A complimentary gourmet breakfast is served daily to get you ready for the day ahead.  The inn is within walking distance of the Historic District of Eureka Spring and all the shopping and dining the downtown area has to offer.  Specials are offered throughout all seasons so be sure to check the website for deals to help you save on booking your stay.

Photo courtesy of Doug Wertman

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