Head west on Interstate 70, just past Wentzville, and you’ll find the exit for Innsbrook Resort. The gated community houses custom homes, iconic A-frame chalets and condos, all nestled in the woods or along the shores of one of 100 lakes.
The resort has everything you need for recreation. The centerpiece? Lake living. Big motors are not allowed, so it doesn’t have that hectic, slightly dangerous feel of the Lake of the Ozarks. Instead, pontoons, sailboats, kayaks and canoes rule the day. You can rent canoes and kayaks from the resort, and you can often find someone to rent you a bigger boat if you ask around. You can fish or swim; jumping off a pier seems to be a preferred activity for youngsters. There are lovely small beaches sprinkled throughout.
Hiking trails are plentiful, and a handy pocket guide you can download or pick up at several locations can get you to them. Take the guide with you because although the maps are well-documented, the trails can be hard to follow.
The resort also offers tennis, an 18-hole public golf course with a pro shop, a large outdoor chess set, horseback riding (a one-hour trail ride is $50), basketball courts, sand volleyball, pickleball, shuffleboard and a large pool complex.
We rented an A-frame chalet along Lake Aspen a few years ago. It offered a huge deck, views of the lake and about 100 steps down, a dock, where my dog jumped in and then struggled to get out of the water. Along the way down to the lake, a gravel area featured Adirondack chairs and a firepit. We hauled wood and marshmallows down there for a perfect end to the evening.
How much: Prices vary greatly. We found a 1-bedroom condo for $130 a night (plus taxes and cleaning fees) to $650 a night for a house that sleeps 22.