Drives & Day Trips
#1. The Historic Loop: starting at the top of Main/Hwy 23 at Hwy 62, drive down into downtown, past the court house, then stay to the left at the at the “Y” up Spring Street. You will have the traffic right of way at this weird intersection. Continue all the way around Spring Street by following the main flow of traffic. You will pass by many of the named springs, most of which have lovely seasonal gardens planted. As the houses thin out, keep an eye open for one of our favorite springs, Grotto Spring, on the left. Park and take a look in the cavern. There’s a water fountain to refresh yourselves, as well as a bowl of water for your dog companion. Continue on, climbing up to the Crescent Hotel. The Crescent is to the left. I recommend you park and take a look inside. The 4th floor bar, which is open to the public, has a balcony with an incredible view. You can read the history of the historic hotel along the main floor corridors. In season, their gardens are also lovely. When you are ready to leave, continue on the historic loop, following the yellow line as the road bumps and winds through the Victorian neighborhood. Just before you reach Hwy 62 again, pull into the Vintage Cargo parking lot and enjoy a wonderful home decor store. And the drive is done!
#2. Scenic Hwy 187: driving north on Hwy 23, 3 miles, and just past Gaskins Cabin Steakhouse, turn left onto 187. Follow to the mini Golden Gate bridge, cross the White River, into the small town of Beaver, and continue until you reach Hwy 62. Take a left to return to town. On your way back, watch for the left turn into Thorncrown Chapel –worth a visit, and also on your left, stop at Inspiration Point for an incredible view of the White River valley. The antique store there is quite good, also.
Longer Day Drives
War Eagle/Turpentine Creek
Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art
Devils Den State Park
Hobbs State Park
For Longer Stays
If you are able to stay for 3 or more days, and have never spent time in the Ozarks, consider planning a long day drive to the Buffalo National Scenic Riverway. Spectacular hikes with views, caves and waterfalls, sometimes all in one hike. Eat lunch in Jasper at the Ozark Café, cheap and delicious – far from healthy, but the hiking will justify the dessert. Plan to drive through historic Boxley Canyon and watch the Elk graze, usually in the late afternoon when the sun goes down. Also, a colony of trumpeter swans frequently relax along the road side. Both can be very easy to spot. Visit the Elk Center in Ponca, for great information on the wildlife in the Ozarks. Nice little indoor learning center for the kids, too.