Ozark Vacations


As this beautiful season falls into our laps, the itch to get outdoors nudges us from the controlled environment of our office, home or favorite local hang-out. Reds, yellows, and brilliant oranges beckon us to turn off the computer, pack our bags, and disappear for a while. Crisp mornings, and crystal clear skies ease our troubled memories of the blistering and parched days of this summer. Whether you have a long weekend, a needed day off, or just an afternoon to ditch the desk, the Ozarks offer endless options to those with the inclination toward the natural way.

Need to escape the cubical for a few hours? You’re in luck. A short drive north brings you to our doorstep at the Watershed Center. Two and a half miles of walking trails, fishing piers, and a serene streamside sitting spot will make you forget that you were in the office twenty minutes before. If you are a south side Springfieldian, it’s a short trip to the Springfield Conservation Nature Center. Wonderful hiking trails and a great visitor center make this a destination for that lunch hour or a day off. Maybe it’s the journey, and not the destination that gets you going. The Ozark Greenways weave themselves throughout the city, taking you through the most excellent urban landscapes around. With a very helpful map, and new sections opening all the time (including the long anticipated section near the highway 60 and 65 opening this Saturday!) it’s the perfect season to grab your bike, walking shoes, or four-legged friend and set off to undiscovered parts of town.

Maybe you have a bit more time and are looking for something more adventurous. Throw a boat onto the James River and enjoy a day on the water. There are a number of spots to put on and take off to suit any timeframe you could want. Have the crisp mornings and warm afternoons got you in the mood for camping or hiking? Drive a half hour south to Busiek State Forest and enjoy the trails and camp sites for the weekend. Or, if you really like to get out there, spend an hour on winding highways to get to Hercules Glade Wilderness area in the Mark Twain National Forest and experience some of the most incredible pine forests, waterfalls, and ridge-top trails in the area.

If you are looking for something with the luxury of modern living, like beds and toilets, we are only a short jaunt from world famous Branson Missouri, and only a bit farther down the road is the hidden jewel that is Eureka Springs, Arkansas.

These Ozark destinations may be less than exotic, but they lack nothing in beauty and excitement. For more information, use the links below. Better yet, post your favorite Ozark Stay-cation spot in the comments section below. After all, that secret hideout is nice, but isn’t it better to share? And remember, leave only footprints and take out only what you bring in so that we can all enjoy our clean and wonderful Ozark getaways.

Rob Hunt, Watershed Center Coordinator

Free afternoon

Ozark Greenways

Springfield Conservation Nature Center

Watershed Center


Day or Weekend Trip

Hercules Glades

Hercules Glades – Map and description

Buseik State Forest


Beds and Showers


Eureka Springs

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