Things to Do

Take Advantage of Winter in the Ozarks

There’s plenty to explore during the Ozark’s winter season. Here’s the must-list to get you started.

By Jenna DeJong

Dec 2020

Heated Igloos at Vantage
Photo by Chuck TraversEnjoy the winter sunsets from this rooftop view at Vantage.

Grab Your Binoculars and Bird-Watch 

Late December through early February is the best time of the year to spot an eagle. Navigate to Table Rock Lake or Shepherd of the Hills Fish Hatchery for some of the best viewing. Both the Lake Springfield Boathouse and 37 North Expeditions host eagle-viewing events throughout the season. In January and February, 37 North also usually offers expeditions to see migratory Trumpeter Swans. 

Cast a Reel in Search of Trout

Trout fishing’s catch-and-release season is well underway and lasts through February. Though the Missouri Department of Conservation says some trout are not native to Missouri, there are still plenty of scenic rivers and parks that offer ideal conditions for catching both rainbow and brown trout. Try out Montauk State Park or Roaring River State Park, or stick closer to home by visiting White Ribbon Trout Areas on the Current and Eleven Point rivers. Check out our guide to winter fishing here.

Explore the Cave State

Missouri has more than 6,400 caves, and southwest Missouri is home to a couple of parks that are ideal destinations for exploring. Visit Fantastic Caverns, the Ozark Caverns in Lake of the Ozarks State Park or the collapsed cave system at Grand Gulf State Park. The best part is that you can escape the chilly weather during your adventure—most of these caves are 60 degrees year-round. Explorers can also stay in Springfield and visit Sequiota Park, though roaming inside is currently prohibited.

Grab Some Blankets and Glamp 

Camping (or glamping, if tents aren’t your thing) isn’t just for warmer temperatures, especially when it involves a cozy atmosphere. Plan a staycation and try glamping at Camp Long Creek, StoneWind Retreat, Branson Treehouse Adventures, Turpentine Creek or River of Life Farm. These accommodations have heating and cooling, which makes them the perfect retreats for a quiet weekend. 

Enjoy Chilly Weather with a Warm Environment  

Patio season isn’t over yet. This season, warm up by experiencing the city via happy hour or after dark by lounging on a heated patio. Vantage Rooftop Lounge & Conservatory has heated igloos and firepits on its terrace and Cherry Picker Package x Fare keeps warm with the help of a couple of chimeneas. While you’re there, check out Cherry Picker wine selection.