Vacation rentals, hotel rooms booked as Lake of the Ozarks expects record setting Memorial Day Weekend

LAKE OF THE OZARKS, Mo. -- Kevin Korte and his family drove to the Lake of the Ozarks from Springfield, Illinois.

"Yesterday it took three hours and fourty-five minutes," Korte said of the drive.

He had been itching to get back to a sense of normal life.

"Very excited, just to get out of the house," Korte said, while sipping on a frozen cocktail at the Margaritaville Lake Resort.

He's not alone. In the weeks since Missouri's stay-at-home order was lifted, local hotels, like Margaritaville Lake Resort, started to book up fast.

"We're looking at approximately 1,500 guests that will be here on Saturday and Sunday," said General Manager, Fred Dehner.

If you haven't made plans yet, you might want to act fast to make sure you have a place to stay.

"The resort is sold out on Saturday," Dehner said. "However, we do have rooms available in the estates complex, and we do have rooms available on Friday and Sunday, and we do have the fireworks on Sunday night."

Hotels aren't the only ones sitting pretty.

Russell Burdette, owner of 'Your Lake Vacation,' a vacation rental management company, says on a normal year, a little more than half of the available rentals get booked for Memorial Day.

"Usually, we hit about 60-percent," Burdette said.

This year, they've surpassed that number.

"This is the first time in the history of our company, in 36 years that we've been sold out for this holiday weekend," Burdette said.

Apps like Airbnb and VRBO show the pickings for condos or homes to stay in this weekend are very slim.

The end to the stay-at-home order is a big reason for so many people coming to the Lake this weekend.

Burdette said another big reason is the lake of the Ozarks is a 'drive - to' destination. People don't necessarily fly to the area.

Dehner said they're starting to see more bookings for June and July, something he said is great news.

"We had a tough few months the last few months, but we're very excited about the summer," Dehner said.

Social distancing orders are still in place, especially at bars and restaurants. Tourists are encouraged to call ahead to those businesses.

Read the original version of this article at www.ky3.com.