The great outdoors is open for business. Springfield is home to dozens of outdoor trails, parks, and attractions that will surely satisfy your desire for adventure. We’ve compiled a list of some of our most popular outdoor attractions that will get you out and about.
Where To Stay
Springfield has a variety of accommodations to fit your desired experience, needs, and budget. Check out our places to stay page for more information.
Things To Do
Nathanael Greene/Close Memorial Park
Walkthrough the various botanical gardens of Nathanael Greene/Close Memorial Park. Enjoy the beautiful flowers and Japanese architecture in the Mizumoto Japanese Stroll Garden, or walk the trails along Lake Drummond. There are over 20+ themed gardens to explore along with the Roston Native Butterfly House.
Bass Pro Shops
Outdoor lovers have to visit The “Grandaddy” of All Outdoor Stores. The 500,000-square-foot store is home to many outdoor items from camping supplies, to firearms, to your next fishing vessel. Bass Pro Shops is also home to the National Sporting Arms Museum, the National Archery Hall of Fame and the Motorsports Museum, and is adjacent to Wonders of Wildlife National Museum & Aquarium.
Sculpture Walk/Mural Hunting
Head to downtown Springfield to see an outdoor art museum. The Springfield Sculpture Walk has sculptures scattered all over downtown, making it the only museum without walls in the Ozarks. For more outdoor art, check out the murals in Springfield to see over 40 works of art by local artists.
Springfield has a variety of farmers’ markets open every Saturday morning. For close-by markets, head to the Farmers’ Market of the Ozarks for local honey, fruits, veggies, homegrown flowers, smoked meats, sauces and spices.
Fantastic Caverns and Smallin' Civil War Cave
Missouri is known as a cave state, and there are plenty of caves to choose from in the area.
No need to bring your walking shoes here; just north of Springfield, Fantastic Caverns is North America’s only completely ride-through cave. Open year-round, its constant 60-degree temperature provides welcome coolness in summer and a warm respite from winter’s cold, making it an attraction that’s perfect to see in any season. To protect the cave’s fragile beauty, the 55-minute tours are conducted in trams that follow the course of an ancient underground river.
Farther south sits Smallin Civil War Cave. Discovered in 1818, Smallin Civil War Cave features a breathtaking 10-story arch that leads you into rich human history and rare cave life that begins all the way back with the Native Americans. The cave is open year-round for guided, half-mile walking tours accessible with strollers, wheelchairs and mobility scooters. Visitors can walk through the cave and see rare bristly cave crayfish, blind cave salamanders, an array of bats and fossils embedded in the cave’s walls.
Address: 3575 N Smallin Rd, Ozark, MO 65721
Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield
For a walk through history, your next outdoor stop should be Wilson's Creek National Battlefield. The battlefield southwest of Springfield near Republic preserves the site of the Battle of Wilson's Creek. Fought on August 10, 1861, the battle was the first major American Civil War engagement west of the Mississippi River. Guests can drive through the battlefield and observe what remains of this historic battlefield.
While your last day includes a bit of a drive, it’ll be well worth it. About an hour from Springfield sits Dogwood Canyon Nature Park, a 10,000-acre paradise full of adventures. Guests can walk or bike the four-mile trail or take a variety of tours such as Segway and tram tours. Anglers can also take self-guided or guided fishing tours to catch all the rainbow trout they possibly can.
Kayak at Lake Springfield Boathouse
Head back to Springfield to relax and float in Lake Springfield. Rent a few kayaks for you and the whole family to paddle around the lake.
What To Eat
Tea Bar & Bites
Start the morning with breakfast on the Tea Bar & Bites patio. Serving tea and brunch from 8:30 AM-4PM, Tea Bar & Bites makes the outdoors enjoyable with covered patio seating. A customer favorite breakfast item on the menu is the quiche of the morning that can change daily.
Red’s Giant Hamburg
Inspired by the first original drive-thru restaurant in the United States, Red’s Giant Hamburg is a great stop for your favorite fast food classics. Enjoy burgers, fries and onion rings and add a banana split for dessert.
The Order and Drinks at Vantage
To finish off the night, stay downtown and head to The Order at Hotel Vandivort for burgers, seafood and lamb chops. Treat yourself to a local dessert of Askinosie Chocolate and Coffee Ethic Pot De Creme to finish off your meal. For the best view in Springfield, check out Vantage Rooftop Lounge & Conservatory for drinks on the outdoor patio.
Aviary by Lavender Falls
For delicious crepes and mimosas, start your morning off at Aviary by Lavender Falls near Farmers Park. For a more savory breakfast crepe, get The Farmer and enjoy a crepe filled with scrambled eggs, cheddar jack cheese, and a meat of your choice that includes ham, applewood smoked bacon or sausage. If you’re deciding on a side dish, the pommes frites are a must.
Home of “Throwed Rolls” Lambert’s Cafe is a great stop for southern comfort food. Besides hot and ready rolls thrown right to the table, you can do classics like chicken fried steak, chicken pot pie or for something a little weird, such as frog legs or chicken livers.
Address: 1800 W State Hwy J, Ozark, MO 65721
Route 66 Food Truck Park
Lunch and dinner is best enjoyed outside. The Route 66 Food Truck Park is home to a variety of food trucks that each have a little something for everyone to enjoy from street tacos and Mediterranean cuisine to vegan options and London pasties.
If you’d rather sit inside and eat, you’re in luck. The park also has indoor seating for those wishing to get out of the rain, snow or shine and enjoy a meal from the comfort of indoors.
Dinner at Bambino’s
Finally, end your adventure at Bambino’s Cafe for a plate full of italian food. Start off your meal with a bit of bruschetta or plate of toasted ravioli. After that, it’s all about the pasta. Try everything from fettucini alfredo to baked ziti and spaghetti and meatballs.
Lunch at Mill & Canyon Grill Restaurant
Dine at the Mill & Canyon Grill Restaurant at Dogwood Canyon for lunch by an exquisite waterfall view. Choose from fried mushrooms to classics like the bison burger, dogwood salad, and pan-fried trout.
To take lunch on the go, guests can also order ahead to purchase a picnic lunch to bring on their hike.
Other Outdoor Attractions
Did one of the ones up top not suit your trip? Here are a few other outdoor attractions you can explore to take their place.