Ha Ha Tonka State Park, Missouri
One of our favorite places to get away for a long weekend is a fantastic state park south of Lake of the Ozarks called Ha Ha Tonka, which is Osage Indian for "laughing waters".
The park's 15 miles of hiking trails will take you through a geological wonderland, including a 100-foot-high, 60-foot-long natural bridge...honeycombs of tunnels, caverns and sinkholes...and clear springs.
The castle ruins sit high atop a 250-foot cliff overlooking picturesque Ha Ha Tonka Spring, one of the state's largest, emitting 48 million gallons of water a day.
The ruins represent the failed dream of wealthy Kansas City businessman Robert Snyder, who started building a luxurious three-story mansion in 1905.
Construction stopped when he died in one of the state's first automobile accidents. His two sons completed the building and it eventually became a hotel.
A fire gutted the building in 1942, and now only the walls remain. You can hike or drive to the ruins, where the view of the lake and spring is breathtaking. A visit here is truly a memorable experience!
Ha Ha Tonka State Park is in south-central Missouri, south of U.S. Highway 54 and Lake of the Ozarks and 30 miles north of Lebanon.