Who knows the city better than the locals who live in it? If you’re wondering what to do in Springfield, ask a local! They’re more than willing to tell you their favorite parks, fishing spots, and happy hour patio spots. Thankfully, we did the hard work for you. We asked Springfield locals on Instagram and Facebook what their favorite outdoor activities were in Springfield. This is what they chose:
Photo courtesy of @thisisjamiekay
Jamie Kay and her daughter love paddleboarding on the James River.
For a nearby float, paddle the pretty James River Water Trail between the Joe Crighton access and the Lake Springfield boathouse where you can rent canoes, kayaks and paddleboards.
For other paddleboarding excursions, south of Springfield, the James continues through Christian and Stone counties. A few access points between Delaware Town and Galena include Shelvin Rock, Hooten Town and Kerr. Or paddle the nearby Finley, a James River tributary, from Finley Park in Ozark.
Address: James River Waterway
Adapted Bikes at Rutledge Wilson Farm Park
Photo courtesy of @beautifuldaywiththedulas
The Dula family loves bringing their daughter Claire to Rutledge-Wilson Farm Park. They love that the park offers adapted bikes that their daughter can use to explore the park.
The 207-acre farm park was created by the Springfield-Greene County Park Board to celebrate the rich agricultural heritage of the area. Amenities include an animal barn, farm-themed playground, visitors center, gift shop, and a fishing pond. The grounds include demonstration crops and gardens, 20-acre native prairie, pasture land, a one-mile paved trail, urban community garden plots and Wilson's Creek.
Picnic At Lake Springfield
Photo courtesy of @maddygiovani
Maddy’s favorite outdoor activity is climbing up to the bluffs at Lake Springfield for a picnic.
After lunch, consider exploring the beauty of Lake Springfield. Lake Springfield park offers 153 acres of rolling parkland, featuring trails, woods, bluffs and more than a mile of shoreline along the beautiful Lake Springfield. Just a short walk away is the Lake Springfield Boathouse with a sprawling deck and a gorgeous view of Lake Springfield. The boathouse also includes boat rentals. Canoes, kayaks and paddleboards are available to rent at the Lake Springfield Boathouse April 1 - October 31.
The park also has several hiking trails, including the Greater Ozark Audubon Trail, the James River Greenway and the Lake Springfield Park Trail.
Wade Fishing the James River
Photo courtesy of @Chrs_wlsn
Chris enjoys wade fishing in the James River as his favorite outdoor activity. It’s an excellent place to catch smallmouth bass, channel catfish and longear sunfish.
Address: James River Waterway
Kayaking & Fishing at Fellows Lake
Photo courtesy of @mgx.shtevnin
We’re combining two locals' favorite things to do! Kristen and her husband took up kayaking last year and can’t get enough of it! One of their favorite spots is Fellows Lake just a short drive north of Springfield.
Margaux loves to fish at Fellows Lake as it makes for a gorgeous view and an excellent fishing spot.
Taking Our Dogs To All The Parks & Hiking Trails
Photo courtesy of @courtmkrueger
Courtney and her boyfriend love to explore Springfield’s parks and trails with their dogs. Lucky for them, Springfield is full of pet-friendly places.
Many parks and trails in the city welcome leashed dogs, and several dog parks offer off-leash amenities. Check out our guide to pet-friendly spots in the city.
Cruising Cherry and Pickwick Avenue
Photo courtesy of @mrs.amandajenkins
Amanda enjoys strolling the intersection of Cherry and Pickwick Avenue in the Rountree Neighborhood. The area is filled with adorable shops, restaurants, and quaint shopping destinations like The Local Bevy, Tea Bar + Bites, Fleur Floral Studio, Culture Counter and Cherry Picker Package + Fare.
After a walk in the sunshine, you can catch Amanda grabbing a bite to eat at one of these places.
Alli loves having a glass of wine at one of the wineries in Springfield. We're lucky to have three amazing wineries in Springfield such as 7 Cs Winery, Bear Creek Winery and Lindwedel Winery. All of them have great outdoor patios and some incredible views of the Ozarks.
Kadie loves going to the Dickerson Park Zoo here in Springfield.
The zoo is a self-guided walking tour you can explore at your own pace with a wide variety of animal exhibits. Kids can explore the reptile house, feed the giraffes, and attend special events for more hours of fun. There’s even a miniature train ride, a gift shop, playground and cafe for snacks.