The Ozarks are a unique part of America, and the area does often draw visitors. In particular, the theaters and shows of Branson are popular among tourists, but there is more to the Ozarks than Branson alone.
The Ozarks is a term that refers to the Ozark Mountains. This area stretches from the southern part of Missouri to the northern area of Arkansas, and bits of the Ozarks even spread into Illinois, Oklahoma, and Kansas.
The forested Ozark region covers around 47,000 square miles, and on the Missouri side, it is quiet and charming. The Arkansas side has actually seen a fair amount of development.
The following are some of the places to go and things to know about a trip to the Ozarks.
It would be tough to mention Ozarks travel without talking about Branson.
Branson is a destination that is known for its many theaters, boasting more seats than Broadway in all. Many of the Branson shows and theaters feature country, bluegrass, and gospel music performances. There are also dinner theater shows like Dolly Parton’s Stampede.
Branson has golf courses, outdoor recreation, amusement parks, and other options that are good for travelers of all ages.
Table Rock Lake
There are numerous lakes in the Ozarks and one of the most popular is Table Rock Lake. Table Rock Lake has 800 miles of shoreline and there are several large-scale resorts in the area. There are beaches like Campbell Point and Moonshine Beach, and if you go to Branson Shores Resort, you can get your own private swimming area if you book one of their spacious five-bedroom villas.
Scuba diving is a popular thing to do in Table Rock Lake, and you can take lessons if you head to White River Dive Company or State Park Marina.
Camping surrounding Table Rock Lake is available at the Old Highway 86 Campground or Table Rock State Park.
Bentonville, Arkansas, might not have been on your travel radar previously, but perhaps it should be. Bentonville is an Ozark town that for many years was known mostly as being the hub of Walmart.
However, there has been substantial economic activity and quite a boom in recent years that has also made it a unique place to visit.
For example, Walmart heiress Alice Walton funded the Crystal Bridges Museum of Art. The Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art was designed by architect Moshe Safdie, and the building itself is stunning, set in a 120-acre Ozark forest.
The permanent collection includes pieces from American artists like Norman Rockwell and Andy Warhol.
If you are looking for a trendy, boutique hotel experience, there are options like the 21c Museum Hotel Bentonville. This hotel has its own art collection, and an onsite restaurant that pays homage to the Ozarks called the Hive. Another dining hotspot is the Preacher’s Son.
Eureka Springs is a small, charming town in Northwest Arkansas. It has only around 2,000 residents, but more than 750,000 visitors each year. The entire downtown is on the National Register of Historic Places and the Victorian buildings house restaurants, shops, and more.
If you want to get a full picture of the town’s charm and beauty, you can take a 90-minute tram tour.
The Crescent Hotel is often called the most haunted hotel in America and it is a luxurious mountain-top resort and spa with boutique hotel rooms. There are Victorian gardens surrounding the historic property and the hotel has been featured on a number of paranormal shows.
There is also the Basin Park Hotel, which is downtown and is often also called a haunted hotel.
Big Cedar Lodge
A destination in and of itself is Big Cedar Lodge. It is located on the shores of Table Rock Lake and is a family-friendly resort featuring two full-service marinas, four golf courses, restaurants, and accommodations.
The resort is located on 800 acres of Ozark Mountain preserve and the project was the brainchild of Johnny Morris, founder of Bass Pro Shops.
Many of the rooms in the main lodge have jetted tubs and gas fireplaces, and there are also cabins available with private decks, grills, and stacked stone fireplaces.
There is a wine cellar on the property, a natural history museum, and a floating golf course that was designed by Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, and Tom Watson.
There is a lot to see and do in the Ozarks, ranging from the bright lights of Branson to the natural beauty of Table Rock Lake, making it an excellent family-friendly travel destination.