Exploring Southern Missouri
Southern Missouri is a beautiful place with many things to do. The southern part of the state has some of the best fishing, hiking, and exploring you can find. There are so many scenic spots to enjoy in southern Missouri, including the Ozarks, which are often comsidered Missouri’s best-kept secret! If you’re looking for an RV camping adventure or just want to explore southern Missouri, then this blog post will help get you started on planning your journey. Locations listed here include noteworthy sites and locations, as well as an incredible variety of Harvest Hosts locations.
Places to Go
The following are excellent places to choose from when planning your vacation to Southern Missouri. Each of these locations has nearby campgrounds and/or Harvest Hosts locations available for reservation.
Archery Hall of Fame
The Archery Hall of Fame is located in Sparta, Missouri. It is a non-profit organization dedicated to the history and the future of archery. The museum has many exhibits on ancient civilizations that used arrows for warfare or hunting. There are also several galleries with items from different countries around the world, including Africa, southern Asia, Oceania, North America, and South America.
Dickerson Park Zoo
The Dickerson Park Zoo in Springfield, Missouri, is located in the southern part of the state. It has over 400 animals on display, including tigers, gorillas and bears! This zoo has many exhibits that focus on specific animals or ecosystems around the world. Some of these specific exhibits include Polar Frontier, which focuses on arctic species such as wolves, snow leopards and grizzly bears; Asia/Australia where you can see red pandas, white Bengal tigers and black swans; North American Plains, which focuses on prairie dogs and moose among other things; and African safari, which features a large herd of African elephants. The African exhibit exhibit even allows people to feed the elephants food from a conveyor belt inside their enclosure!
Discovery Center of Springfield
The Discovery Center of Springfield in southern Missouri is a science and technology center that was designed to teach children about all kinds of subjects related to these fields. There are lots of hands-on exhibits, shows, and even special events like robotics competitions. The museum has over 100 permanent exhibits, including one on the human body, where you can see what your insides look like or how strong your muscles really are. You can also try making an art project using raw materials from water, sand, and other substances. This is an especially great place to bring kids, as they tend to enjoy all the hands-on experiences provided.
Springfield Contemporary Theater
Springfield Contemporary Theater in southern Missouri is a performing arts theater that brings shows to the area for people of all ages. The venue features both live performances and movies. It also offers classes on topics such as ballet, tap dance and acting, as well as workshops where you can learn things like acrobatics. This is a great place to take your family so they can enjoy watching Broadway-quality productions without having to travel out-of-state.
Pythian Castle in Springfield, Missouri is a beautiful castle-like building originally built as the meeting place for the Pythian Sisters. It now serves as an office complex, but travelers are still invited to visit! You can take tours of this historic site or see special events that might be going on inside, such as concerts and wedding receptions. This unique structure has something interesting around every corner, including several stained glass windows along with ornate woodwork throughout.
Wonders of Wildlife National Museum and Aquarium
The Wonders of Wildlife National Museum and Aquarium in Springfield, Missouri, is a huge aquarium and wildlife museum with lots of different exhibits. There are several galleries here that focus on specific parts of the world, such as Africa or southern Asia where you can see some amazing animals, including tigers and elephants. You’ll also find exhibits about predators in North America, including grizzly bears and bald eagles. This large site offers many shows for people to enjoy, even if they don’t want to explore all the galleries themselves. These include an otter show and a show focused on endangered species around the world.
Sometimes referred to as the Ozark Mountains or the Ozark Plateau, the Ozarks are one of Missouri’s best-kept secrets. This southern part of the state has lots to offer, including RV camping, fishing and hiking. These mountains are one of the most diverse areas in all fifty states, with landscapes ranging from dense forests to majestic waterfalls. The Ozarks offer something for everyone, including tours through historic caves or scenic drives along forested roads.
The following two campgrounds are fantastic options for RVers looking to visit the Ozarks.
Ozark County Campground
This family-owned campground has numerous full-hookups sites. Some spots are shady, while others receive prime satellite connection in the sun. They have an on-site camp store, a playground, high-speed WiFi, and more. They are open year-round, but they have limited hookups in the colder months.
Ozarks Luxury RV Resort
This beautiful, luxurious resort has 164 prime sites available for ultimate relaxation. They have a hot tub, a pool, pickle ball courts, a golf course, and more. There is also a full-service marina nearby with rentals available.
Top Hiking Trails
The Ozarks are a popular place for hiking, and the following trails are top-rated in the area.
Blue Spring Trail
This easy, dog-friendly trail is suitable for all skill levels. It totals 3.1 miles out-and-back, and follows alongside a scenic river.
Alley Spring Overlook
This moderate, yet short hike features a waterfall. The dog-friendly hike is a 1.7-mile loop trail with a few steeper climbs and inclines.
The Ozark Trail: Current River Section
Hikers looking for a challenge can tackle this multi-day, 29.2-mile hike. Along the way, there are several swimming spots for you and your dog to cool down. Most hikers set aside at least three days to complete the entire trail.
Lake of the Ozarks
Located in the heart of Missouri, Lake of the Ozarks is not to be missed. The lake spans over 73,000 acres and has so much to offer. For RVers looking for an unforgettable experience with friends or family, this southern Missouri destination will not disappoint!
Things to Do
Of course the main attraction of visiting the lake is the lake itself. Visitors can rent almost any watercraft, including boats, stand-up paddleboards, inner tubes, jet skis, and more. Fishing in Lake of the Ozarks almost guarantees you to catch some bass! Visitors can even hire a local guide to find the best fishing spots.
Dining, Attractions, and More!
Within the immediate area are waterparks, golf courses, and amazing shopping and dining opportunities. RVers with or without children are in for a treat when visiting the Lake of the Ozarks.
Branson, Missouri is another popular city in southern Missouri. Visitors from all over travel here for the culture, the scenery, and the friendly people.
Silver Dollar City
This 1880s theme park is the perfect place for your southern Missouri vacation. There are several amazing roller coasters and other rides to try, as well as great food and shows every day. The Dixie Stampede is one of their most popular dinner show attractions here at Silver Dollar City in Branson. Here, you’ll watch an exciting horse show followed by a southern-style feast with all kinds of delicious foods, including fried chicken and barbecue ribs. They offer four courses that you certainly won’t want to miss out on! These people know how to do southern living right, which is why they have been entertaining folks from across the country since 1960 in this family-friendly venue. Come see what it has in store for your next trip down south!
Promised Land Zoo
The Promised Land Zoo has so much southern charm. The southern-style exhibits here will take you all around the world in just one day. Here, you’ll get to see zebras, giraffes, and even kangaroos before your southern Missouri vacation is over.
Highway 76 Entertainment District
All the fun is waiting for you in the Highway 76 Entertainment District. You can eat at any of the southern food favorites, shop for souvenirs and mementos from your trip, or just enjoy some traditional entertainment. You’re going to love all that highway 76 has in store for you. It’s a southern style experience you won’t want to miss.
Bull Shoals Lake
The clear waters of this lake make for the perfect scuba diving adventure. It is also popular amongst kayakers, canoe enthusiasts, fishers, and those who enjoy a wide range of water sports and activities.
Table Rock Lake
This is one of Branson’s top destinations. With more than 100 adjacent resorts and almost endless water activities to enjoy, it’s easy to see why visitors love it so much.
Visitors looking for a more laid-back vacation can enjoy the Branson Landing boardwalk, which is filled with plenty of shopping and dining opportunities set right on the water.
Mark Twain National Forest
The Mark Twain National Forest has over 750 miles of trails for hiking, horseback riding, mountain biking, and more. This national forest has seventeen established campgrounds that welcome RVs and tent campers.
Harvest Hosts Locations
Southern Missouri also features its fair share of Harvest Hosts locations to choose from. These include wineries, farms, distilleries, and several unique attractions. Be sure to pack your Harvest Hosts pass, because you won’t want to miss these exciting locations.
Seven Springs Winery & Vineyard – Linn Creek, MO
Situated on 160 acres of rolling Missouri foothills, Seven Springs Winery & Vineyard is stunning. Owner Mike Bleile has one primary goal: to stay true to time-honored traditions. He strives to bring guests the best wine Missouri has to offer. Visitors are welcome to hike the established trails on the property. This Harvest Hosts location offers five pet-friendly spaces for RVs under forty-four feet in length.
Maximum Genetics – Fair Play, MO
This farm strives to breed the best show pigs. They typically have a variety of sows and boars on site, along with a few new litters throughout each year. Maximum Genetics isn’t your typical Harvest Hosts farm stop, but their piglets sure are adorable! The best way to patron this Host is by purchasing fresh pork products or eggs directly from the source. This Harvest Hosts location offers ten pet-friendly spaces for RVs of any size.
Missouri Ridge Distillery – Branson, MO
Like many master distillers, M. Gregory Pope continues a legacy started by his grandfather many years ago. Greg’s grandfather produced small-batch spirits and eventually passed the recipes onto his grandson. Later, Greg opened Missouri Ridge Distillery, the area’s only grain-to-bottle distillery and its first-ever brewery. They produce a variety of whiskeys, bourbons, and moonshines. This Harvest Hosts location has one pet-friendly space for an RV of any size.
Fantastic Caverns – Springfield, MO
Buckle up and get ready for a truly unique Harvest Hosts stay. At Fantastic Caverns, visitors get to ride in a Jeep-pulled tram and explore the cave on a fuifty-five-minute guided tour. This Harvest Hosts location has two pet-friendly spaces for RVs under forty-four feet in length.
Bold Spoon Creamery – Park Hills, MO
Bold Spoon Creamery is a family-owned and operated ice creamery. With a passion for ice cream and bold flavors, they locally source all their ingredients to create flavors like Garden Mint, Brie with Spiced Honey, Salted Chocolate, Roasted Peach, and more. This fantastic creamery is sure to have a flavor you haven’t tried yet. Currently, they offer two pet-friendly spaces for RVs of any size.
MO Putts – Kennett, MO
Visitors of all ages can enjoy this indoor mini-golf experience. They offer a variety of challenges throughout their eighteen-hole course for an affordable rate. This Harvest Hosts location offers two pet-friendly spaces for RVs of any size.
If you’re looking for a new RVing adventure, exploring the Southern Missouri area is the perfect choice, especially as the weather cools and autumn begins. There are so many fun places to explore and activities to try that you may never even want to leave. For a fun family vacation and adventures you will never forget, visit Southern Missouri. You won’t regret it!
Have you taken your RV to southern Missouri yet? Where would be your first stop on this list of activities? Tell us all about it in the comments below!
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