Stonewater Cove

Before I had kids, I never would have considered an all-inclusive resort. It seemed so unadventuresome.

But once I had kids, I fell in love with the ease of it all. Going to an all-inclusive resort meant that I could be on vacation, too. There was no need to figure out where we would go to dinner or what we would cook in the room. No need to check the budget to figure out whether we could afford to do something that sounded interesting. If it was included, the only thing we had to decide was whether it was something we wanted to do.

Most all-inclusives, though, are huge resorts with thousands of guests and a long line at the buffet.

But Stonewater Cove Resort is not your average all-inclusive. This all-inclusive, about an hour west of Branson, Mo., is small, intimate and decidedly upscale. The resort is family owned, the activities are individually planned and the meals are gourmet.

When I visited, I zipped around the 500-acre resort atop an ATV (loved it) and hung from a zip line (hated it). Unfortunately, an unseasonable cold snap kept us out of the bucolic waters of Table Rock Lake, but it was just the right temperature for sitting around the roaring fire or soaking in the cool bubble tub in my room.

This is a destination made for active, nature-loving families. There are guided tour options (challenge ropes course, archery lessons and boat rides, in addition to the ATVs and zip lines) and nonguided tour options, such as canoeing, kayaking, fishing and just walking in the woods alongside the Mark Twain National Forest.

Stonewater Cove has just 21 rooms and suites, each individually decorated. Adventure rates, which include all meals, drinks and up to two guided activities per guest per day begin at $827 per night for double occupancy. Additional guests are $285 per night. Prices are lower for just one guided activity per day and lower still for nonguided activities, although all of the meals, snacks, drinks and nonguided activities are included at a price of $499 for double occupancy and $85 per night for each additional person.

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