page contents

9 reasons to love Big Cedar Lodge

Some links may be affiliate links.

Best resort on Table Rock Lake

We love, love, love Big Cedar Lodge on Table Rock Lake in southern Missouri.  Here's nine reasons why you'll love Big Cedar too for your next family vacation!

1.  Family vacation in the Ozark Mountains

Big Cedar is classy, rustic retreat for those seeking outdoor fun and cozy comfort.

 For seven years, when we lived just on the outskirts of Kansas City, MO, our absolute favorite family get-away was the breath-taking Big Cedar Lodge, an Ozark mountain resort parked on Table Rock Lake just 10 miles south of Branson, Missouri.  Hugging the Missouri - Arkansas border, Big Cedar sits right on Tablerock Lake.  

Spring, summer, fall, and winter, Big Cedar Lodge and Wilderness Club at Big Cedar offers outdoor fun and indoor luxury for all ages. You'll soon see why this resort has won a slew of awards and why folks travel from all over the United States to vacation here time and again.

2. The history of Big Cedar Lodge

The history of Big Cedar begins in the 1920s when two different family vacation homes were built adjacent to the Long Creek arm of the White River, also called Big Cedar Hollow.  The property eventually became a resort called Devil's Pool Ranch in the late 1940s.  In 1958, Table Rock Dam was finally finished and Table Rock Lake was born.

 Fast-forward to 1987 when Bass Pro Shops’ founder Johnny Morris purchased the resort and turned it into "America's Premier Wilderness Resort."  Morris's commitment to excellence and preserving history can be seen in his attention to detail (flowers everywhere!) and willingness to make constant improvements and additions.  

Across the decades, families continue to experience modern luxury in this gorgeous rustic resort known as Big Cedar Lodge on Table Rock Lake.  


3.  Swimming pools at Big Cedar

We have kids, therefore we swim.  A LOT.  

At Big Cedar, you have many seasonal outdoor swimming options:  Devil's Pool, the Swimmin' Hole (with amazing hot tubs!), Wilderness Falls, Lazy River at Brushey Creek, and the sandy beach near the Bent Hook Marina.  An indoor pool and outdoor hot tub are open year-round at the Brushey Creek Clubhouse.  

Us adults favor the Swimmin' Hole or Devil's Pool because of the poolside adult beverage service.  Our kids prefer Wilderness Falls and the Lazy River for the fun factor.

We all love the resort's free convenient shuttles.  Just call, and a shuttle will show up promptly to take you to a pool, restaurant, or wherever you want to go!   

4.  Bent Hook Marina

When you're looking for more adventure at Big Cedar, rent a pontoon boat or speed boat at Bent Hook Marina.  Usually two to four hours is plenty of time for cruising the lake, whipping around on the tube, and finding a cove for good-old fashioned jumping in the lake.  

From Bent Hook Marina, you can also hop in a paddleboat or a kayak and explore the nearby cove for free!  Or, gather your fishing pole and head to one of the fishing docks.


5.  Johnny Morris' big plans

The possibilities are endless for Johnny Morris, and he is always looking to add more to Big Cedar's fabulous list of amenities.  

In 2017, Big Cedar plans to open a brand-new Ultimate Fun Center complete with a 16-Lane bowling alley, arcade, laser tag, ropes course, and an All New Kids' Adventure Club

Next time, I'll send my kids to play at the fun center while I head to the Spa!  

Some of our other favorite resort activities have been simple pleasures like the walking trail, making s'mores by the campfire, playing yard games by Truman Cafe, geocaching, playing mini-golf (brand new course!), the morning fishing derby, kayaking, sand volleyball, shuffleboard and more!  

Click here for Big Cedar's full list of amenities

6.  Top of the Rock Ozarks Heritage Preserve

Johnny Morris's Top of the Rock Ozarks Heritage Preserve is a sight to behold.  

Top of the Rock is just a five minute drive up from Big Cedar, and once there, you can visit the Ancient Ozarks Natural History Museum, cruise the Lost Canyon Cave and Nature Trail via golf cart, or golf the par-3 Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course.  

My favorite activity up there is dining at the scrumptious Osage Restaurant.  Be sure to check out the giant sinkhole and the beautiful chapel while you are up there too.  

And don't forget your camera.


7.  Cabins and lodging at Big Cedar

The first time we vacationed at Big Cedar, we stayed in a room in the sweet Spring View Lodge.  Since that first time, we've stayed in a room at Falls Lodge and in a home located just down the road on the Cliffs at Long Creek (pictured above).  The large homes at the Cliffs are lovely and great for two large families to share, but they can be somewhat difficult to get into unless you are a Bluegreen Timeshare owner.  

Wilderness Club

We've always had the best luck booking a two bedroom lodge room or cabin at Wilderness Club at Big Cedar.  This is the Bluegreen timeshare side of Big Cedar.  

Even though we aren't timeshare owners, we've always had success booking a two bedroom cabin or lodge room for a great price on eBay.  Plan your family vacation or anniversary getaway between Sunday and Thursdays, and the rates are even better.  

If you're spontaneous like us, look for last-minute deals and you may score big on an awesome stay on the cheap!  Do some searching on eBay or  Find out more here: "Save money staying in a timeshare without owning one."  

8.  Dining at Big Cedar's various restaurants

Our favorite tradition is filling our tanks at the breakfast buffet at Devil's Pool Restaurant.  And while we typically eat most of our meals in our cabin (big families are expensive to feed!), we save one or two nights for dining out at one of the fabulous restaurants at Big Cedar.  

Besides Devil's Pool, we love the Worman House, Buzzard Bar, and the Osage Restaurant.  My favorite dish at the Osage: brown sugar glazed salmon with steamed greens, creamed baby potatoes with chives, and the wedge salad.  Yum!

9. Dogwood Canyon for nature-lovers

Opt outside and take the forty-five minute drive from Big Cedar to Dogwood Canyon.  All kinds of fun to be had horseback riding, fishing, hiking, biking and more.  

Check their website for hours of operation.  Take a picnic lunch and consider staying for the day.

Family fun in Branson, Missouri

Silver Dollar City & Branson Landing 

As if there isn't enough fun to keep you busy at Big Cedar, I just thought I'd mention Silver Dollar City and Branson Landing!  

We went to Silver Dollar City a few years back and had a blast, especially at the water attractions.  An 1880s theme park, there are some pretty fun rides there too!  Many people spend more than one day there, but we are usually anxious to get back to Big Cedar.  

Branson Landing is a great option if you are looking for shopping, dining, and entertainment.  The free Branson Landing Waterfront Fountain Show is fun for all ages with top-of-the-hour shows typically from noon to 10pm.  

Winter time fun in Branson

The attractions in Branson are great for cold winter days or rainy afternoons.  

Our two favorites are the interactive, family-friendly Titanic Exhibit and the Sight and Sound Theatre, where they magically bring the Bible to life.  We happened to see Jonah performed at the Sight and Sound, but their stage has also shown Moses, Joseph, and Miracle of Christmas.  

We highly recommend both of the above attractions!  Learn more about visiting the Branson area here.



My family has enjoyed Big Cedar so many times over the years!  My husband often suggests future travel destinations based solely on pictures he's seen online.  Hopefully, we've enticed you and your family to experience Big Cedar for yourselves!  


Know someone who would love Big Cedar for their next family vacation or family reunion?  Please feel free to share this post with them.  Thank you!

Have you been to Big Cedar or are you thinking of going?  What suggestions or questions do you have?  We'd love to know, so give us shout below!

All photos by Tanya Raedeke.  Please do not use without written permission.