Day Trips Near Springfield 

From the tiny Pleasant Hope to the bustling tourist attractions of Branson, the towns surrounding Springfield, Missouri offer natural beauty, American history and good old fashioned entertainment.


Grab your camera and hit the road for a day trip that offers all the experiences of a full-fledged vacation. These might be little towns, but they have big stories to tell.

1. Ozark—Caves and Curds


Drive six miles south of Springfield to the charming town of Ozark. Cool off in the Smallin Civil War Cave during a one-hour guided tour that details the cave's history. Bring a jacket and be prepared to walk about a half mile; it’s stroller and wheelchair accessible. See bats, blind salamanders and a rare species of cave crayfish. If you’re up for a more physical challenge, take the two-hour off-trail Wild Tour, where you’ll splash through knee-deep water and see parts of the cave others miss. Advance reservations are required, and you must be at least 12 years old for the Wild Tour. Before you leave town, stop at Heather Hill Farms, where you’ll find over 175 varieties of cheese, many produced locally.

2. Republic—Civil War Site


Immerse yourself in Civil War history with a day trip to the town of Republic, Missouri, about 13 miles south of Springfield. Stop at Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield, the site of the second Civil War battle. Standing amid so much history, it’s not difficult to imagine what it must have been like on that fateful day. This National Park, the site of one of the best-preserved battlefields in the country, has a museum full of artifacts, photographs and historical information about the men who fought and died there on August 10, 1861. Read soldiers' letters, check out their weapons and learn about Nathaniel Lyon, a Union General killed at Wilson's Creek.

3. Nixa—Civic Pride


You’ll get a real feel for agricultural Missouri when you visit this little town with a population of less than 20,000. Nixa is just six miles south of Springfield along U.S. Highway 160. Visit the quaint downtown where you can grab a cone from Braum’s Ice Cream and Dairy Store or lunch at Bud and Walt’s Pizza and Pasta. Catch a Little League game; then cool off in the pool at the Aquatics Center. Romp through the 40-acre McCauley Park where you can play a rousing game of tennis, have a picnic or hit the playground. Don't miss the park's xeriscape garden. See a movie or bowl a few frames at Century Lanes before heading back to Springfield.

4. Pleasant Hope—Tiny and Quaint


A leisurely drive through tiny Pleasant Hope—settled in the mid-1800s—leads you past quaint barns and rolling hills. Go for a lazy stroll in City Park and pay your respects at the Veterans Memorial. Grab lunch at Junction Grill or pick up some necessities at Laney Limited, the grocer on Main Street. The charm of Pleasant Hope lies in its small-town atmosphere; only 614 people call this place home. Wander around town to meet the locals and learn something new.

5. Monett—Natural Beauty


Fifty miles southwest of Springfield, the small town of Monett is a rural haven that’s well worth the drive. Put on your walking shoes and set out on the Greenway Trail, a path that takes you on a comprehensive tour of the town. If you have a free weekend, stop by the Monett Racing Speedway and take the kids on a spin around the track. Stroll through the town, grab an ice cream at New Beginnings Ice Cream and Deli or a meal at the Happy House Restaurant. Pick up a copy of the "Monett Times" to see what's happening locally.

6. Branson—Variety's the Spice


There's so much to do in Branson, you'll hardly know where to begin. The city is a hub for entertainers, and you'll certainly find one that suits your musical or entertainment taste—from comedians to acrobats to an exciting variety of country music legends. The town is chock-full of excellent restaurants, and there's plenty of opportunity for people-watching, too. While in Branson, perfect your golf game at one of several courses, visit the Branson Dinosaur Museum or Branson Scenic Railway, or take a lake cruise.

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