Though restrictions are lifting and we’re able to go out and enjoy more activities and expand our social circles, concern about potentially spreading COVID-19 any further continues to keep people close to home. Luckily, here in Springfield, we’ve got the beauty and adventure of the Ozarks right in our own backyard. You won’t have to travel far for a mini-vacation full of fun!
Roaring River State Park
Scenic Roaring River State Park offers trails, camping, cabins, a swimming pool, a nature center, picnic sites and shelters, and dining. Though the availability of amenities can vary depending on state restrictions, the park is located just about an hour southwest of Springfield and you can easily prep for a day trip. We suggest packing sunscreen, bug spray, comfy shoes, swimming or floating supplies, and a picnic lunch for the family. Bring along some fishing supplies to join other avid trout fishers!
Ancient Ozarks Natural History Museum
If you’re interested in learning more about the natural history of the Ozarks, check out the Ancient Ozarks Natural History Museum, featuring artifacts, images and interactive exhibits that walk you through the development of the Ozarks. The museum is located about an hour south of Springfield at Top of the Rock. You’ll likely pass through Branson on the way down, so you can stop by your family’s favorite locally owned Branson restaurant for lunch or dinner.
Ha Ha Tonka State Park
Known for the towering remains of an early 1900s European-style stone castle located on it’s grounds, Ha Ha Tonka State Park features majestic views of the Lake of the Ozarks and more than 15 miles of winding trails. Take your time and explore caves, a spring, a natural bridge and the lake. Ha Ha Tonka is a gorgeous spot for a picnic lunch as well!
Another great locale in the Camdenton area is the gorgeous Bridal Cave. A stalactite adorned Bridal Chapel is the star of the caves, but they also offer guided tours of the cave system, a rock shop, a sportswear shop, and observation decks. They even offer lantern tours Saturday nights Memorial Day through Labor Day weekends by reservation. Camdenton’s downtown is also less than 10 miles from the caves, offering a wide selection of artisan gifts and foods for sale in several small businesses.
Stockton State Park
If a day trip to the lake sounds ideal, check out the hidden gem of Stockton Lake at Stockton State Park. The clear waters of Stockton Lake inspire visitors to water ski, scuba dive, swim or fish. Two boat launches make it easy to get in the water, as does a swimming beach. Want to stay on land? The park is great for photographing wildlife, picnicking with the family, hiking or just reveling in the beauty of the Ozarks. The park also offers a range of lodging from campsites to cabins.
Whatever your choice of mini vacation, you’re sure to enjoy gorgeous sights wherever you travel in the Ozarks. And whenever you’re ready to go further, the Springfield-Branson National Airport will be here to help you get there, ready to serve as your connection to the world.