Southwest Missouri was the site of several Civil War battles and skirmishes, and the region retains its ties to the past with historic sites where you can explore the state's involvement in the war. In this region, you'll also find Missouri's third-largest city, Springfield, its entertainment capital, Branson, and the serenity of Stockton Lake, Table Rock Lake, Lake Taneycomo and Bull Shoals Lake.
America's new live-entertainment capital, crystal-blue lakes surrounded by forested hills, and attractions based on colorful native lifestyles are just part of what's in Missouri's Southwestern Region.
Near the region's center is Branson, offering nonstop family fun highlighted by more than 90 music and variety shows. Recent years have brought many new names, representing musical styles that range from traditional country and pop "classics" to today's sounds. At Shepherd of the Hills Homestead and Outdoor Theatre, you can take a tram tour of this literary historic site, and then watch the fast-paced drama recreating the tale of life on the Ozarks frontier.
On Branson's doorstep is Lake Taneycomo, where cold waters support an excellent trout fishery. Also close by is sprawling Table Rock Lake. Its 43,100 acres are a delight for anglers, boaters, scuba divers and other water recreationists. Equally big and fun is Bull Shoals Lake, an hour east of Branson. And the upper end of Norfork Lake provides the region with yet another sparkling jewel.
When you visit Springfield, the state's third-largest city, plan stops at the history and art galleries, General Sweeny's Museum and Dickerson Park Zoo. A must-see stop is Springfield's new American National Fish and Wildlife Museum and Aquarium—Wonders of Wildlife. This attraction features 160 live species of animals from otters to ducks and bobcats to sharks. Springfield also offers shopping opportunities galore, including one of Missouri's most popular attractions, Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World. Relive Civil War history at Wilson's Creek National Battlefield or go underground at Fantastic Caverns, North America's only ride-through cave.
In Mansfield you can tour the Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum and Home. The home is where the Little House books were written, and the museum contains artifacts, family photographs, Wilder's handwritten manuscripts and other family items.
History, scenery and more attractions await you on the western side of the region. An hour west of Springfield is Joplin, a booming mining town in the late 1800s. Nearby Carthage is known for its Victorian homes. Artist Sam Butcher's Precious Moments Chapel and Visitors Center is here too. Just south, at Diamond, is the George Washington Carver National Monument. Its museum highlights the life and career of this renowned African-American agronomist. Further north is Lamar and President Harry Truman's birthplace. Nevada's Bushwhacker Museum recalls Civil War guerrilla activities in this area, and the Bates County Museum of Pioneer History in Butler's historic downtown is a popular stop.
The Southwest Region offers something special for everyone. Any time of year, you'll find this region is the perfect getaway choice.
Community Health Centers in this region include: Missouri Ozarks Community Health in Ava, Jordan Valley Community Health Center in Springfield and Ozark Tri-County Health Care Consortium located in Anderson and Joplin with satellite facilities in Cassville and Neosho.
Critical Access Hospitals in this region include St. John's Hospital-Aurora, McCune-Brooks Hospital, St. John's Hospital-Cassville, Cedar County Memorial Hospital, Barton County Memorial Hospital, Cox-Monett Hospital, St. John's St. Francis Hospital, Freeman Neosho Hospital and Ellett Memorial Hospital.
For additional information regarding this region such as individual county HPSA status or loan repayment eligibility, please contact Joni Adamson.
** Photos and images are courtesy of the Missouri Division of Tourism**