Springfield, Missouri may be a small town, but this charming town in the Ozarks packs a big punch in terms of history, charm and entertainment. As Abraham Lincoln’s hometown and the birthplace of Route 66, Springfield definitely deserves a few mentions in history books, but it’s always way better to learn about a city’s history and culture in person than through a boring textbook. So when I had the chance to take a spur-of-the-moment trip to Springfield, I simply couldn’t say no.
To make my impromptu trip to this Ozarks gem a reality, I quickly pulled up HotelTonight’s website. Within minutes, I had booked a great last-minute hotel in Springfield through HotelTonight, and I was ready to start exploring this Missouri town. Since I love to discover the side of cities that locals love, I made sure to ask locals for travel suggestions during my short stay in Springfield. I knew that even though I was only in town for a short period of time, I would be able to get a true sense of the city if I listened to the locals.
One of the recommendations I got over and over again was to visit the Fantastic Caverns. This feat of nature is certainly one of the most popular attractions in Springfield, and locals take great pride in their ancient underground river. I’ve been to a few caverns around the world during my travels, but I’ve never been to any quite like the Fantastic Caverns, which offer a guided tram tour through the cave. There’s something very humbling and almost magical about exploring underground caverns, with their dramatic rock formations that have been around for thousands of years, and I definitely agree with the locals that this was a great way to kick off my Springfield adventure.
Springfield is located in the Ozarks (and it’s even nicknamed the “Queen City of the Ozarks”), so naturally the area boasts great outdoor activities and natural sights. I was more than happy to get outside and immerse myself in nature, especially since it was a beautiful spring day. So I made my way to Lake Springfield Park, which is a picturesque nature park located along Lake Springfield. I hiked a few miles on scenic trails and ended up at the lake, where visitors can rent kayaks, canoes and fishing boats. I noticed many locals out on the lake enjoying the sunny Saturday afternoon, and I felt like I got a great glimpse into what it’s like to live in Springfield.
The downtown area of Springfield, Missouri doesn’t feel like a bustling city center. Rather, it feels like a welcoming small town, where you can find great boutiques, cute restaurants, and various community events. Downtown is a pedestrian and biker-friendly area, so I was glad to be staying in the heart of downtown Springfield. After washing up in my hotel room, I wandered through the quaint downtown streets and looked for a place to eat dinner. Downtown has a great variety of eateries, so it was tough to choose between all of the different options in the area. Finally, I settled on a cool Italian restaurant in the midst of all the excitement and energy. Then I hung out around downtown for the rest of the evening, mingling with locals and further discovering all the reasons why they love their city.
The next day, I decided to enjoy a bit more of Springfield’s natural beauty before heading out of the Ozarks, so I went to the Springfield Conservation Nature Center. This 79-acre nature park is home to a large range of natural habitats, such as forests, woodlands and prairies. There are several trails that are perfect for short hikes, and along these trails you just might catch a glimpse of wildlife like deer, turtles, foxes and birds. This beautiful nature center is a great place to exercise, picnic, and simply relax and enjoy the natural scenery. Immersing myself in the expansive beauty of the Ozarks was the perfect way to end my short stay in Springfield, and I would certainly recommend a visit to this Missouri town for anybody who loves the great outdoors.
Springfield, Missouri may not be at the top of your travel list, but it’s definitely a city worth checking out if you have the chance. The “Queen City of the Ozarks” is full of character and charm, and it’s also a great home base for people who want to explore the great outdoors of the Ozarks. I was glad I was able to make my last-minute trip to Springfield work, and I have HotelTonight to thank for making it so easy to book a hotel at a moment’s notice. For anybody who likes to make spontaneous travel plans, HotelTonight is a service you definitely need to know about.