Summer is officially here, which means that it’s time to get outside and have some fun! Whether you’re just looking for something to enjoy with your family, or you’re entertaining guests from out of town, this area is full of fun summer activities! We’ve put together this list of ten of our favorite ways to get out and enjoy the summer in the Ozarks! From amusement parks, to shopping, and even a few ways to beat the heat, there’s something for everyone on this list!
1. Spend a weekend at the lake!
A trip to the lake is the perfect weekend getaway for the whole family! From Table Rock, to Lake of the Ozarks, to Stockton, to Bull Shoals, and many more, this area is full of awesome lakes! Spend your days swimming, boating, jet skiing, or fishing, and spend your evenings by the campfire roasting marshmallows for s’mores. When looking for a place to stay, there are tons of places where you can reserve a campsite to set up a tent, or if you’re not really into “roughing it,” you can always rent a cabin and enjoy your lake weekend with the same luxuries as home.
2. Enjoy some Pineapple Whip!
We all know that it can get HOT during the summer in the 417, and Pineapple Whip is the perfect sweet treat to help you stay cool all summer long. This Springfield original has three locations throughout town, one at 1310 S. Glenstone, one at 3850 S. Campbell, and one at 1517 W. Battlefield. Their hours are Monday through Thursday, 12:00 pm – 10:00 pm and Friday and Saturday 12:00 pm – 10:30 pm. They offer a variety of flavors that include classic pineapple, strawberry-kiwi, grape, banana-pomegranate , mango-peach, and orange. Pineapple is always available at every location, with the rest of the flavors being rotated throughout the summer. Make sure you check out www.pineapplewhip.com to stay up to date on what flavors are at each location, then just follow the hula girl!
Photo via Pineapple Whip’s Facebook
3. Spend the day at Silver Dollar City!
Silver Dollar City is one of the things Branson is best known for, and for good reason! This Ozark’s classic has a ton of rides, unique shopping, delicious food, and great shows – something for everyone from the kids, to the teenagers, and even grandma! The regular hours at Silver Dollar City are 9:30 am to 7:00 pm, but they have special festivals and events going on regularly, so make sure you check their website before you go! Regular one-day tickets are $54 for children (ages 4 to 11), $65 for adults (ages 12 to 61), and $63 for seniors (age 62 and up,) but they also have season passes that are a great deal if you plan on going regularly.
Photo via Silver Dollar City’s Facebook
4. Beat the heat at White Water!
If you prefer a water park over an amusement park, White Water is the place to go! They’ve got water slides, the Aloha River, Coconut Cove for the smallest kiddos, plus plenty more to keep your whole family entertained all day long! Hours are 10:00 am to 6:00 pm, but like SDC, they sometimes have special events and extended hours. Tickets are $20 for children (ages 4 to 11), $44 for adults (ages 12 to 61), and $32 for seniors (age 62 and up.) They also have season passes and a special 3 Day, 2 Park deal which gets you access to both White Water and Silver Dollar City.
Photo via www.silverdollarcity.com
5. Explore downtown Springfield at First Friday Art Walk!
First Friday Art Walk is a monthly art event in downtown Springfield that features local artists, live music, art demonstrations, food, fun, and much more! It is held from 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm on the first Friday of every month and each location that participates displays artwork from a featured artist. You can visit their website to see a list and map of participating locations, and you can check out the monthly newsletter that tells a bit about each of the featured artists for the month. First Friday Art Walk is the perfect time to get out and enjoy the summer evenings!
Picture via //www.springfieldmo.org
6. Catch a fly ball at a Springfield Cardinal’s game!
This is another one that will be a blast for the entire family! Watch the game, stuff yourself full of hot dogs and popcorn, and of course, try to catch that fly ball! If you’re an MLB fan, players from the St. Louis Cardinals occasionally play in Springfield when they’re coming back from an injury, so make sure you check their social media pages or website if you want to try to catch one of those games! Their full schedule can be found here, and tickets start at just $7 making this a great and affordable summer fun option!
Photo via the Springfield Cardinals Facebook
7. Pick some fresh fruits and veggies from a local farm!
Fresh fruits and vegetables always taste so much better than store bought, and lucky for us, there are tons of local farms where you can pick and purchase all kinds of fresh goodies! If you’re on the hunt for strawberries, Check out Boz’s Berry Farm in Republic. For blackberries and blueberries, head out to Black and Blue Berry Farm in Rogersville. If you want more of a variety, including apples, peaches, raspberries and a variety of garden vegetables, make your way to Sunshine Valley Farm, also in Rogersville. A few other great options with a variety of both fruits and vegetables are Fassnight Creek Farms in Springfield, Persimmon Hill Farm in Lampe, and Urban Roots Farm which is uniquely located right in the middle of downtown Springfield. With all of these, make sure you check out their website or Facebook page before you go since hours and items available can vary based on the weather and other factors.
8. Lay back and relax while you float down the river!
Nothing says summer in the Ozarks like a float trip! There are several rivers and places that you can float from around this area, but some of the most popular are the James River (check out James River Outfitters in Galena,) the Niangua River (head to NRO in Lebanon,) the Buffalo River in northern Arkansas, and the Finley River (start at Finley River Park) in Ozark. At most places you can choose between a canoe, a kayak, a 4 to 6 person raft, or an inner tube. Or if you have your own canoe or kayak, most places will let you bring it and you’ll just have to pay a small fee to have it transported to the start of the float. Don’t forget to pack some sunscreen and some snacks, and make sure you stop along the float to get in some swimming or fishing!
9. Find your new favorite wine with a trip to a winery!
A trip to a winery is perfect for any occasion, from a romantic date night, to a laid back girls day, and everything in between! The 417 area is home to several wineries, including the largest winery in Missouri, St. James Winery, located in Branson. Other area favorites are OOVVDA Winery, and Tyler Ridge Vineyard Winery, both located in Springfield. Spend some time tasting all of the different types of wine, learn more about how they are made, and of course pick up a bottle of your favorite to take home with you! Also, most wineries allow you to bring your own picnic lunch or dinner, so make sure you bring something along to enjoy with your wine!
10. Shop til you drop at the outlet malls and downtown!
No summer weekend is complete without a little shopping, and this area is full of fun and unique shops! If you’re looking for more traditional stores, head to the Branson Landing or the outlet malls in either Branson or Osage Beach. If you’re more into one-of-a-kind boutiques, downtown Ozark, Springfield, and Branson all have tons of options available. With everything from clothes to antiques, to home decor, and everything in between, it’s likely that you’ll end your day with a car full of shopping bags!