The Ozark mountain range is so vast that it not only covers the southern half of Missouri, it also extends to Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Kansas. And even though it's referred to as mountains, the area is actually a plateau. Covering 47,000 square miles, the rugged Ozarks are filled with forests, and hiking trails, and beautiful views. Here are some ideas for exploring:
Nest at Eureka Springs, AR
Located in the heart of the Ozark mountains, Eureka Springs is a town in the Northwest area of Arkansas. It's on the National Trust for Historic Preservation, thanks to its beautiful vintage Victorian architecture, and visitors can find several charming B&Bs here for an affordable stay. The Arsenic & Old Lace, for example, has rooms starting from $115 per night.
Known as "Eureka Springs West," Beaver Lake is just a few miles from Eureka Springs -- and it's even quieter and more peaceful, with limestone bluffs and natural caves. You can canoe the famous White River that begins here.
Stay and Explore Big Cedar Lodge, MO
If you want to explore the Ozarks on the Missouri side, a good place to stay is Big Cedar Lodge, located 10 miles south of Branson. A new Top of the Rock extension has given the resort a cultural dimension, with a spa, several golf courses, cave cellar, waterfall, and a natural history museum filled with dioramas and skeletons of the mammals that roamed the area. The resort also offers water activities and the Dogwood Canyon Adventure Park lets you partake in just about everything outdoors-y, from horseback riding to fishing. Rates start at $179 for rooms or $305 for a private log cabin.
Get Your Music Fix at Mountain View, AR
The town of Mountain View is on Route 9, in the eastern Ozarks. It's known for its music scene, and impromptu folk music jam sessions occur regularly around the courthouse square. Travelers often come here to either play or get their fix of country/bluegrass/gospel fusion music, as well as to explore the other natural attractions in the area like the Blanchard Springs Caverns cave system. For accommodations, try the Inn at Mountain View, a 12-room B&B located right on the courthouse square. Rates start from $98 per night.