Summertime in the Ozarks

Fireworks, fairs, the outdoors and more bring summer to life in Springfield.
506f3fcc34c8dbf6e214bf493f6a2b435682dfc9 adam mcmullin 201931 m Written by Adam McMullin on June 20, 2017.

Ahhh... the long, hot days of summer have arrived. What an incredible time of year to be in the Ozarks!

From summer festivals to outdoor adventures to things uniquely Springfield — here’s a list of great things you must do around Springfield during the summer months.

Catch a Fireworks Display

Fireworks at Hammons Field in Springfield, Missouri.

There are a number of thrilling fireworks displays in the Ozarks around, and on, the Fourth of July holiday. Here's a list of the best fireworks shows in southwest Missouri.

Willard Freedom Fest — June 24 in Willard, Missouri
College of the Ozarks Honor America Day — June 25 at College of the Ozarks in Point Lookout, Missouri.
Have-A-Blast Patriotic Celebration — June 30 in Republic, Missouri
Rogersville Independence Day Celebration — July 1 in Rogersville, Missouri
Chateau on the Lake's Fourth of July Celebration — July 2 at Chateau on the Lake in Branson, Missouri
Branson Landing Liberty Light Up Fireworks — July 3 at the Branson Landing in Branson, Missouri
Freedom Fest — July 4 at the Ozark Empire Fairgrounds in Springfield
Independence Day Celebration — July 4 at Top of the Rock & Big Cedar Lodge in Ridgedale, Missouri (near Branson)
Fireworks in the Park — July 4 in Battlefield, Missouri
Freedom Week Fireworks with Patriotic Music — July 5, 6 and 7 at Springfield Cardinals Game

Float a River

Paddlers on James River near Springfield, Missouri.

Putting your boat in the water is one of the best feelings in the world and the Ozarks boasts dozens of scenic waterways that make for a great float trip. For a float just outside of Springfield, visit James River Outfitters in Galena, Missouri. They manage floats down the James River and provide rentals and transportation. You can also head east of Springfield to the Mark Twain National Forest where you’ll find the North Fork of the White River provides for an excellent float. The nice folks at Twin Bridges Canoe and Campground will take care of your rentals and transportation as well.

Explore a Lake

Waterskiing on Table Rock Lake near Branson, Missouri.

Springfield is surrounded by beautiful lakes that help make up the natural beauty of the Ozarks. From Stockton Lake to the north of Springfield to world-famous Table Rock Lake to the south, there are hundreds of miles of lakeshore in close proximity to town. Located on Table Rock Lake, Table Rock State Park is ideal for water activities. It features a marina, dive shop, parasailing equipment, a boat ramp, picnicking, campgrounds, hiking and mountain biking trails, and a paved walking and bicycle trail. There’s also Cape Fair Marina — Table Rock Lake's newest destination that offers boat slip rentals, watercraft rentals, convenience store with gas dock, restaurant and ski shop...all close to Springfield.

Grab a Delicious Pineapple Whip

Pineapple Whip. in Springfield, Missouri.

This one really needs no explanation if you’re a Springfieldian, but if you’re from out-of-town and unfamiliar with this treat, you have to try it the next time you’re in Springfield. Pineapple Whip has been a summer-time tradition for over 40 years. The cold, fruity deliciousness got its start at the Ozark Empire Fair in 1974 and has been in Springfield ever since. They’re only open during the summer (sans special one-week openings during the winter months) at three Springfield locations. In addition to the traditional Pineapple flavor, they also offer Grape, Nanagranate and Strawberry-Kiwi.

Experience the Magic of Fireflies at Dusk

Chelsea Goodson (Chelsea Bird) at an Ozarks farm at dusk.

Inspired by a recent visit to Springfield by our friends from Phoenix, Arizona — Chelsea and Scott — this just had to be added to the list. Sometimes, no matter where we live, we tend to take the little things around us that are so special about where we live, for granted. This is one of them and thanks to Chelsea and her visit to Millsap Farms in Springfield, we were reminded how cool fireflies are at dusk in the Ozarks. Check out this write-up by Chelsea on her blog, Chelsea Bird, and stop and take it in the next time you see a field full of fireflies.

Attend a Springfield Cardinals Game

Springfield Cardinals baseball at Hammons Field in Springfield, Missouri.

It’s not summertime without a day or evening at the ballpark. The Springfield Cardinals have dozens of home games throughout the season.

Celebrate at First Fridays on the Square

Park Central Square in Springfield, Missouri.

Celebrate urban living with Downtown Springfield and Murney Associates, Realtors! This year’s First Fridays at the Square series will occur on the first Friday of each month from May to October. Enjoy live entertainment, food, drinks and much more at this annual event.

Discover the Ozark Empire Fair

Ozark Empire Fair in Springfield, Missouri.

The biggest fair in the Ozarks, the Ozark Empire Fair is July 27-Aug. 5 at the Ozark Empire Fairgrounds. Join in on the fun with all the great food and fun, carnivals rides, games, concerts and more. For 81 years, the Ozark Empire Fair has been a time for community celebration and 2017 promises to carry on the tradition.

Catch up at the annual Park Day Reunion

Park Day Reunion in Springfield, Missouri.

The Park Day Reunion takes place at Silver Springs Park every year on first weekend of August, bringing together friends and family from Springfield and around the country. The event name dates back to 1952, when Gerald Brooks, a teacher at Springfield’s Lincoln School, started a day of games and sports for young black residents at Silver Springs. 

Step Back in Time at the Birthplace of Route 66 Festival & Car Show

Birthplace of Route 66 Festival & Car Show in Springfield, Missouri.

From Aug. 11-12, the Birthplace of Route 66 Festival & Car Show will include a car and motorcycle show, live performances by Big and Rich, a parade and a 6.6K run. Also, enjoy businesses along Route 66 during this festival celebrating the city where Route 66 was named.

What’s your favorite thing to do in Springfield during the summer months? Have a good time out there!

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