The Ozarks is a region where the grandeur of looming mountains is breathtaking, the sight and splash of crystal-clear rivers relaxes the mind, and opportunities for adventure in subterranean awaits. Yet, regardless of its many delights, the area’s eponymous lake is often the star of the show. For those wanting to experience the incredible beauty and the fresh, crisp air of the Ozarks, plan a trip around a cornucopia of stunning small towns that dot one of America's most underrated regions. Ready for this surreal adventure? Discover these next adorable small towns in the Ozarks.
Eureka Springs, Arkansas
For those who have never set foot in Eureka Springs, they are missing out on cutest example of Arkansas. Eureka Springs, located in the mountain-ridden northwest corner of Arkansas close to the border with Missouri — just about 10 miles from Beaver Lake. Before indulging in the many heart-warming delights Eureka Springs has to offer, visitors may want to consider booking a room at Eureka Springs Crescent Hotel and Spa, considered the state’s “symbol of hospitality.” Surrounded by views that are sure to inspire, this historic hotel prepares some of the tastiest pizzas in the area and provides on-site adventures such as ghost tours, hiking, and cave exploration. If this Victorian town is not yet on the bucket list make that quick adjustment; visitors here will never be disappointed!
Bella Vista, Arkansas
If access to nature in all its heartwarming glory is a passion, then Bella Vista should top any visit list. Steeped in the wonders of nature, this Arkansas charmer sits on U.S. Route 71 on the Springfield Plateau of the Ozark Mountains. Once an important hunting area for Osage and Delaware tribes, Bella Vista is today one of the most sought-after vacation destinations in the state. A town called “Nature’s Gem of the Ozarks'' will pique the interest of anyone. A first-time visitor will want to marvel at the architectural design of the movie-like Cooper Memorial Chapel, one of the most picturesque wedding venues in Northwest Arkansas. While the Bella Vista Historical Museum will enthuse history buffs, outdoor lovers will have numberless options to work with.
Mountain View, Arkansas
Once in a while, visitors may come across a town called Mountain View that, despite its name, is bland and flat and surprisingly does not feature any scenes worth catching a glimpse of! Fortunately, Mountain View, Arkansas evidently lives up to its evocative appellation. A town of about 2,900, this cute, little stunner is fittingly labeled the "Folk Music Capital of the World". Among the town’s claims to fame is that it is the birthplace of the Arkansas Folk Festival, an annual event established in 1963 that draws between 20,000 and 30,000 people every third weekend of April annually. Another Mountain View gem is the Ozark Folk Center State Park, a popular venue that features live bluegrass music, blacksmithing, and numberless other local crafts. For folks who desire some reflections of beauty, Mirror Lake, located minutes from town, should be a top priority.
Kimberling City, Missouri
A town that only 2,400 call home is going to exude the small-town charm many vacationers often crave. Yet, nestled on the peaceful shores of Table Rock Lake, a blue-space gem fringed with beautiful trees, Kimberling City’s size is not its most attractive feature. While the town is slow-paced and casual, and a hideout from the noise and humdrum of city life, it features several attractions a first-time visitor will want to explore. Water lovers, for instance, will find several opportunities for fishing, boating, and swimming in the crystal-clear waters of Table Rock Lake. Besides, the Kimberling City Bridge provides some awesome views of the town and is a great stretch for driving over — or boating under.
A town christened the “Live Entertainment Capital of the World” will prove adorable, especially if music is part of what makes a place qualify as such. Nestled approximately 40 miles south of Springfield in southwestern Missouri’s Taney County, Branson is home to just about 13,100 residents. But do let not that population deceive! This stunner played host to 9.9 million visitors in 2021 alone. Many will agree that these massive numbers should lend credence to Branson’s vacation potential. Known as Broadway of the Ozarks, Branson boasts more than 50 theaters and 60,000 theater seats. For perspective, its theater seats are nearly five times its population size. While the town features many attractions, Branson’s Inspiration Tower and its glass-enclosed observation deck— are not hyped enough.
Known as the “Elk Capital of Arkansas,” Jasper is nestled along the Little Buffalo River about 75 miles east of Fayetteville. If upon arrival visitors happen to be hungry, make Ozark Cafe your first stop. This famous spot is situated in an awesome environment and features nice decor. It is recommended to try their breaded mushrooms or blueberry pancakes before hitting a trail or exploring any of the town’s several pleasure spots. For some heart-pounding adventure, make sure to head to Horseshoe Canyon Ranch. Not only is this the longest zipline in Arkansas, but also one of the top zip lines in North America. The thrill of cruising at about 2,300 feet over the beautiful canyon may just be a lifetime experience!
While an average vacationer will enjoy his trip to Marshall, history buffs will get a blast. Home to about 1,300 residents, Marshall sits at the foot of the Boston Mountain Range just south of the Buffalo National River. For the number of historic sites the town boasts of, perhaps no other town in Arkansas of the same size can come close. Marshall was incorporated in 1884 and was named for John Marshall, the fourth chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court and arguably the principal founder of the U.S. system of constitutional law. Home to more than 20 historic buildings, including the Anthony Luna House, a Victorian-style charmer built in 1891, Marshall’s array of historic homes are quite a pleasure to explore.
As its evocative name suggests, Lakeview sits on the picturesque banks of Bull Shoals Lake, and boasts waterfront views that often make cameras busy. Bull Shoals Lake is not some nondescript pool but the largest body of water in the state of Arkansas. Since it boasts more than 1,000 miles of shoreline and is almost always warm, this blue-space gem is quite a summer crowd puller. Boasting a population of less than 1,000, Lakeview is the perfect destination for wide-open spaces, outdoor fun, and authentic charm. Moreover, no one can intentionally plan to miss out on a town nicknamed the “paradise of the Ozarks.” For folks craving more outdoor fun in tranquil and picturesque settings, Bull Shoals-White River State Park will deliver.
Van Buren, Arkansas
Even if you have never set foot on Van Buren, you may have read about Martin Van Buren, the eighth president of the United States, the first president to be born in the United States, and the first president who did not speak English as the first language. Martin Van Buren was known for his ready smile and the town named after him lives up to that ideal, often putting an adorable smile on the face of first-time visitors. For starters, Van Buren’s main street, especially at Christmas, is among the most lively and enchanting main streets in the United States. Then again, the three-hour Van Buren to Winslow train ride, which whisks visitors across the breathtaking ruggedness of the Ozark mountain range as well as through the Winslow tunnel, is often considered the most scenic in the state.
It is not just this town that shares a name with one of the most beautiful regions of America. This cute, little charmer is adorable in its own right. Curled up in the heart-ravishing Ozark Plateau, the smallest of the Ozark towns scores big on charm and character. First-time visitors, for instance, will want to check out the town’s adorable historic square, a beautiful stretch that features an eclectic array of locally-owned shops and casual eateries. For history buffs, the Smallin Civil War Cave is a top-notch adventure venue that features accurate historical lessons and fascinating stories of the past. It is a place tourists will be delighted to spend about an hour at. Other attractions include the serene Finley River, where one can enjoy a splash or a scenic canoe ride.
The Ozarks, also called the Ozark Mountains or the Ozark Plateau, is a forested group of highlands in the south-central United States. What sets this region apart is its incredible natural beauty. The wave-like hills and the lush greenery are hard to beat. Dotted across this vast expanse, are several adorable towns that can act as bases from which to explore one of America’s most beautiful regions. From Mountain View, Arkansas to Branson, Missouri, there is quite a delicious array of options to choose from.