Day Trips: Branson & Beyond

Springfield is surrounded by communities that help make up the fabric of the Ozarks. While a trip to Springfield may be your first stop, there are many cities and small towns in the Ozarks that are less than an hour away.

Nixa, just south on U.S. 160, is certainly one worth visiting thanks to contemporary dining, rustic stores and outdoor living. The town’s most well-known event is Nixa Sucker Days Music, Arts and & Crafts Festival set in May. This event started as a fish fry in 1957 with suckers provided by anglers who snagged them from local rivers and streams.

Branson, Missouri, farther south on U.S. 65, is filled with live music theatre shows from every genre and home to the famous Silver Dollar City amusement park that pulls in thousands of visitors each year. Other amazing attractions include the Titanic Museum, Ripley’s Believe It Or Not!, The Branson Landing, Branson Scenic Railway and others.

Just north of Springfield sits Bolivar, Missouri, home to country-style cuisine such as Smith’s Restaurant, famous for its huge pork tenderloin sandwich. The Dunnegan Gallery of Art showcases its permanent collection of more than 1,000 sculptures along with traveling exhibits. Finish the day at Dunnegan Memorial Park where you can walk the trails and see the domestic wildlife such as swans, ducks and peacocks.

Travelers heading between Springfield and Branson on U.S. 65 have good reason to make a pit stop in the thriving community of Ozark. Its midwest charm, local restaurants and unique shops combine to create an experience exclusive to the Missouri Ozarks. The newest addition is The Ozark Mill at Finley Farms filled with event venues, a coffee shop, workshop space, and more.