Major tourist cities
Popular tourist towns
- Eminence, Missouri
- Hardy, Arkansas
- Jasper, Arkansas
- Mammoth Spring, Arkansas
- Mountain View, Arkansas
- Buffalo National River In northern Arkansas is an unpolluted and free-flowing river in the heart of the Ozarks. It has both swift water and calm stretches.
- Mark Twain National Forest
- Ozark National Scenic Riverways In southern Missouri consists of the spring-fed Current River and Jacks Fork River.
The Ozarks is a plateau that covers 50,000 sq. miles. There is also an Ozark culture which embodies the people that live in this region. The area has rolling hills, mountains that have eroded over time along with many man-made lakes. All of this makes the area attractive for outdoor activities including fishing, hunting and hiking.
The area became a popular tourist attraction overnight with Harold Bell Wright's 1907 novel, "The Shepherd of the Hills". His novel told a story about the mountain country and hill people nearby Branson, Missouri.
The people of the Ozarks have their own way of talking and a set of terms that you might not hear outside the region. For example some of the common terms are; "Frog Strangler" or "Gully Warsher" both of which mean a heavy rain. You might hear some way say "You look mighty peakid, are you a-fixen to be sick?" Others are "Rosanears" is corn on the cob, "yourn" is yours "Is that yourn?", a "krick" is a creek, "pritnear" is almost like ""I'm pritnear done with this". The hill people of the Ozarks are affectionately called Hillbillies.
- Interstate 44 runs across the Missouri Ozarks from St. Louis to Tulsa.
- Interstate 40 runs East-West along the southern edge of the Ozarks
- Interstate 70 runs East-West along the northern edge on the Ozarks.
- Also historic Route 66 runs from St. Louis to Tulsa in the Ozarks.
The best way to get around is to drive. You will also get a good fill of the scenery driving the hills of the Ozarks.
- Roaring River State Park. In southwest Missouri has a fresh water steam with trout fishing, camping and hiking.
- Branson, Missouri with world class entertainment and access to Table Rock Lake for Bass fishing and Lake Taneycomo for lake trout fishing.
- Silver Dollar City theme park near Branson, Missouri
- Eureka Springs, Arkansas sometimes called the little Switzerland of the Ozarks and on other occasions the San Francisco of the Ozarks. Local craft shops and art galleries, good food and shopping. Close to Beaver Lake with fishing, water skiing, swimming and other water sports. Don't forget to see the Passion Play.
- Lake of the Ozarks in central Missouri
- Harry S. Truman Lake in central Missouri
- Table Rock Lake in southwest Missouri
- Stockton Lake in southwest Missouri
- Pomme de Terre Lake in southwest Missouri
- Lake Tanneycomo in southwest Missouri
- Grand Lake O' the Cherokees in northeast Oklahoma
- Beaver Lake in northwest Arkansas
- Bull Shoals in northern Arkansas & Southwestern Missouri
- Lake Norfork in northern Arkansas
- Ozark Mountains in southern Missouri
- St. Francois Mountains in Southeastern Missouri
- Boston Mountains in northern Arkansas
- Cookson Hills in eastern Oklahoma
- Visit the Lake of the Ozarks area.
- Follow the particularly scenic Ozark Highlands Trail, which runs from Lake Fort Smith State Park to the Buffalo National River.
- Canoe one of the clear, clean rivers of the Ozarks, to include: the National Scenic Jack's Fork or the Current rivers, Elk River, Meramec, Big Piney, Gasconade, or the Huzzah. For the fishers, all contain good populations of smallmouth bass.
- A number of natural attractions exist in Mark Twain National Forest in southeast Missouri. Among these, Taum Sauk Mountain offers nice hiking starting near the highest point in Missouri. In 1.2 miles the trail reaches the Mina Sauk falls, which is splendid to see in the wet season. A little to the west are Johnson's Shut-Ins, some rock bluffs lining a river where the water is channeled in-between the rocks and can develop a nice little current. There are a few spots that are nice for swimming. Elephant Rocks State Park to the north also has some interesting rock formations, and driving a little farther on Highway 21 one comes to Hughes Mountain which has interesting rock outcroppings at the top called the Devil's Honeycomb.
- Many campsites, rivers, and trails are to be found in this area. There are also some caves open for tour groups. The Onondaga Cave is of particular interest.
- Ozark Highlands Trail. A long distance that runs over 218 miles through the Arkansas Ozarks and Boston Mountains. From south to north, it passes near Oark approximately 5 miles to south, and through the Buffalo National River area.
- Ozark Trail. A National Recreational Trail that runs over 225 miles through the Missouri Ozarks, with spurs totalling 350 miles. From south to north, it goes from the Eleven Point National Wild and Scenic River area, passes 5 miles to the east of Van Buren, through the Ozark National Scenic Riverways area, to Johnson Shut-Ins State Park.
Frog legs are a popular dish in this area of the country. Catfish, deer and green tomato relish are also some very popular examples of the "stick-to-your-ribs goodness" that warms these hillpeople during the bitter cold months and long, steamy summers.
Tornadoes are a very dangerous surprise to watch for as well as deer that frequently jump into the road.