Southwest Missouri was practically built with fun in mind. Branson, Missouri is one of America's favorite entertainment hubs, and is located in the Southwest Missouri Region of the Ozarks. Discover many natural wonders that are complemented with family focused attractions, great for kids and adults of all ages. Parks such as Silver Dollar City, White Water and Dogwood Canyon in Branson to Wonders of Wildlife in Springfield are all popular tourists attractions in this region of the Ozarks. There are many zoos and wildlife viewing parks located throughout Southwest Missouri. Shopping, museums, historic stops, amazing caverns and all manner of water sports showcase the state's versatility. Fun activities and things to do in Southwest Missouri continue into the night as well with the many theaters, live shows and concert venues of Branson and Springfield. Southwest Missouri is becoming a major stop on the concert circuit and big names (such as Garth Brooks) make this region of the Ozarks a destination for all.
Southwest Missouri lakes are among the nation's most lauded with unparalleled sunset views. Table Rock, Beaver, and Bull Shoals are deep and inviting lakes, playing host to visitors from far and wide, all on the hunt for things to do in the Ozark Mountains. Another popular lake in this part of the Ozarks is lake Taneycomo. Lake Taneycomo acts and feels more like a river and is the pride of the Ozarks for trout fishing, both brown and rainbow. Shepherd of the Hills Fish Hatchery is the largest trout-rearing facility in the state, producing between 350,000 and 400,000 pounds of trout every year. The Shepherd of the Hills Fish Hatchery is operated by the Missouri Department of Conservation and is located on the Lake Taneycomo side, just below the Table Rock Dam. This impressive structure, measures approximately 6,420 feet in length and rises 250 feet above the riverbed. You can learn about Table Rock Dam and other aspects of Table Rock Lake by visiting the Dewey Short Visitor Center located nearby. The visitor center contains several fascinating displays, a small theater for viewing historical films of Table Rock Dam and Table Rock Lake’s creation, a great gift shop, and more. Visitors looking for fun water things to do in Missouri, will find that the various lakes and tributaries are just as good for kayaking and canoeing as they are for fishing. The natural attributes of Missouri attract thrill-seekers as well as those who want to kick back and relax. The Missouri state park system includes 92 state parks and historic sites, totaling more than 150,000 acres and are a huge draw for campers and explorers alike.
For many travelers, dining out and sampling authentic local cuisine is high on their to-do list. Southwest Missouri doesn't disappoint, fresh water trout and mouthwatering beef steaks are just a couple of the popular food choices. The craft beer movement has exploded in Missouri and visitors will find local brew in most cities. Springfield Missouri is a hotspot for local breweries. A few popular choices are Springfield Brewing Company, 4 by 4 Brewing Company, Hold Fast Brewing, Wire Road Brewing Company, Mother’s Brewing Company, Banter Brewing Co and Great Escape Beer Works. A brewery tour is a delicious way to cool off on a hot day.
Looking for a fun place for the entire family to hang out for the day? The Branson Landing is popular mall overlooking Lake Taneycomo and with many shopping and dining options within its beautifully designed boardwalk, visitors enjoy a variety of things to do for all age groups, including a bowling alley. North Beach Park is located at the North end of the Branson Landing and a riverwalk runs parallel of the waters of Lake Taneycomo with several courtesy docks positioned along its corridor. One of the major highlights of Branson Landing is the magnificent fire and water show with a fountain and light display and free concerts on the weekends all summer long.
Southwest Missouri has become a golfer's paradise with some of the most scenic golf courses in the nation to choose from. Buffalo Ridge, Branson Hills, Ledgestone, Top of the Rock, Thousand Hills and Point Royale are popular golf courses located in or within minutes of Branson Missouri. Since 2014, the Bass Pro Shops Legends of Golf tournament has been played at Big Cedar Lodge in Ridgedale on the par-3 Top of the Rock course, designed by Jack Nicklaus and the 18-hole Buffalo Ridge course, redesigned by Tom Fazio. The tournament is sponsored by Bass Pro Shops, which owns the Big Cedar Lodge. It is often called "The tournament that launched the Champions Tour". Starting in 2018, a second Par-3 course, Mountain Top, a 13-hole course designed by Gary Player, was added to the tournament.
For a more outdoor-oriented activity to enjoy with the kids, visiting a cavern is a great option. For example, Fantastic Caverns near Springfield is a wonderful place to enjoy the natural beauty of underground rivers and caves. This fun and fascinating outing is even great for families of small children as all tours are done riding on trams – no hiking is required.
Joplin and Carthage are also popular vacation destinations in Southwest Missouri. Joplin is part of Route 66 and is full of history. Downtown Joplin offers unique shops, colorful art galleries, a nice selection of wonderful places to eat, and a lively nightlife. Joplin is the Sunshine Lamp District and is named after the lamps that miners wore on their helmets in the mining days. Downtown Joplin offers a bit of the old world charm with modern day finishes.
Carthage, Missouri is home of the Precious Moments Chapel. Carthage is easy to get to when visiting any part of the Southwest Region of the Ozarks. The Precious Moments Foundation is a nonprofit organization with an emphasis in the arts. If you are visiting the area, you will want to add the Precious Moments Chapel to your “to do” list. The Chapel is free of charge for all visitors to enjoy the art and inspiration of Samuel J. Butcher.
Each region of the Ozarks has its very own personality. There is no end of ways to entertain the family (and adults who act like kids) north to south, east to west in the Ozarks. Enjoy big-city experiences to small-town fun and some of the country's most beautiful landscapes right here in the Ozark Mountains.