Community Profile: Ridgedale, Missouri
By Cole Currier
Welcome, lake lovers! Ridgedale is quite possibly the best of all worlds when it comes to property in the Ozarks. It’s just out-of-the-way enough that you get to enjoy the peace and quiet of the Ozarks, and yet you’re just a stone’s throw from all the action in Branson and Hollister. Table Rock Lake surrounds you here in Ridgedale, and there are several spots for easy lake access. Some of the area’s best lake homes are here in Ridgedale. Of course, this little town is best known as the home of America’s premier wilderness resort, Big Cedar Lodge.

Living in Ridgedale
With Big Cedar Lodge located here in Ridgedale, the resort really seems to set the tone for the entire community. Ridgedale is really all about nature. Much of the architecture in the area is even influenced by the woodsy feel that Big Cedar is known for. The great thing is that even though there’s a large resort here, the attitude of residents and visitors alike is very laid back and relaxed. Real estate in Ridgedale is focused on lake view and lake front homes, as well as homes tucked in the woods. There’s not much here in the way of traditional cookie-cutter subdivisions, and that’s the way folks like it. Ridgedale also has one of the area’s largest selections of log homes. Ridgedale is a wonderful place to relax and to get in touch with nature in the Ozarks.

Ridgedale is part of the rapidly growing Hollister School District. You can review Hollister’s current School ratings here.

In addition, there are excellent post-secondary education opportunities in the area. College of the Ozarks is a unique institution which is nationally recognized for their unique model where students do not pay tuition. Ozarks Technical Community College also offers programs at their brand new Hollister campus. In addition, Missouri State University, my alma mater, is located just a short drive away (about an hour) in Springfield.

Ridgedale is a small community. I wasn’t able to find exact population and demographic statistics for Ridgedale, but suffice it to say that at any given time, there are probably just as many visitors as residents! Yes, it’s a small town, but that’s what we like about it.

As mentioned before, Big Cedar Lodge is the big attraction in Ridgedale. There’s also a convenience store, but not much more. Of course, major retail stores, grocery stores, a hospital, restaurants, and a number of attractions are just up the road in Branson and Hollister – only 15 minutes away. Some stores there include:

  • Wal-Mart
  • Target
  • Best Buy
  • K-Mart
  • Kohl’s
  • Belk Department Store
  • Bass Pro Shops
  • Home Depot
  • Lowe’s (in Hollister – our sister community)
  • TJ Maxx
  • Bed, Bath & Beyond
  • Petco
  • Books-A-Million
  • Staples

My Favorite Branson “Hot Spots”:
One of our favorite things to do after a day on the lake is docking our boat at Bent Hook Marina at (you guessed it!) Big Cedar Lodge and walking up to have dinner at Buzzard Bar. There’s a great outdoor seating area with a lake view or you can sit inside and listen to Clay Self – an Ozarks legend – play the guitar, sing, and crack a few jokes.

Our other favorite spot is Top of the Rock restaurant, a place that has awesome food and atmosphere with some of the best views in the Ozarks… The problem is, the darn place has been closed for several years for renovations! All the locals are anxiously awaiting the grand re-opening… Rumor has it, it will be worth the wait!

Choose a price range to browse Ridgedale homes for sale:

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