The Ozarks (also referred to as the Ozark Mountains or Ozark plateau) extends across five states: Missouri, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas, and Illinois. The majority of the region falls in Southern Missouri and Northern Arkansas. The Ozarks are subdivided into four smaller regions: the Springfield Plateau, Boston Mountains, Salem Plateau, and St. Francois Mountains. The region enjoys a relatively cool and temperate climate, fresh mountain air, and pristine lakes and rivers.
Living in the Ozarks is easy. It’s a place that has everything you need. We have a plentiful and growing job market, great schools, world-class health care, and all the entertainment and cultural options of a big city—but with far less stress and an abundance of character and friendliness. All at the same time, you can fast-track your career, afford the home you’ve always wanted, simplify your commute, and enrich your life amid our natural Ozarks beauty. See what we have to offer for your lifestyle, live here, and just breathe.
1. Award Winning Hospitals
Major health care providers Mercy and CoxHealth are two of the top 100 integrated health systems in the country, providing unmatched care to their patients in the Ozarks. Approximately 18% of the workforce in the Ozarks is employed by the health care industry.
2. Rich Beauty
If you can think of an outdoor adventure you’re craving, you can find it in the Ozarks. Famous for our beautiful woodlands and rolling hills, hiking may as well be a state sport. Check out the Springfield Conservation Nature Center while you’re in the city then travel south to Arkansas for a trek on the Whitaker Point Trail. The outdoor opportunities don’t end there — If you’re into fishing, swimming, canoeing, kayaking, boating, water skiing, or any water activities. The Ozarks is the place for you, a special place full of lakes all around.
There are many lakes in the Ozarks: Table Rock Lake, Bull Shoals, Lake Taneycomo, Stockton Lake, Pomme de Terre. Not to mention smaller area lakes including Lake Springfield and Fellows Lake. Here, you are surrounded by natural beauty far from the throngs of humanity encountered in many of our national parks. In the relative solitude of the Ozarks, you can actually feel like one with nature, refreshing your body, mind, and soul.
3. World Class Attractions
Family in town? Looking for a way to spend a long weekend? You don’t have to go far to visit the stunning aquarium at Wonders of Wildlife or spend the day surrounded by the lions and tigers at the Dickerson Park Zoo (both in Springfield, Missouri).
4. Bass Pro Shops Empire
As one of the most popular attractions in Missouri, this is the granddaddy of all outdoor stores, Bass Pro Shops. Every year, more than four million people visit this megastore of outdoor activities. This is the flagship store for the Bass Pro chain.
Explore the 300,000-square-foot showroom loaded with unique features, including a Tracker Boat showroom, an indoor firing range, thousands of items and supplies for fishing (salt and fresh water), hunting, camping, boating, golf, electronics. archery, home and cabin, auto and ATV, footwear, clothing and Hemingway’s Blue Water Café.
You’ll find cascading waterfalls; flowing steams; live ducks; giant aquariums (including the 30,000-gallon saltwater aquarium) and a huge selection of outdoor, hunting, fishing and boating gear. This is the perfect place for family fun
5. Home of Great Foods
Cashew Chicken is the dish of the city here in Springfield. It was first served in Grove’s Supper Club in 1963 and became so famous that the chef opened his own restaurant, Leong’s Tea House, which of course still serves the popular dish. In honor of the delicious concoction, the city holds the annual Sertoma Cashew Craze event annually to celebrate and eat.
Hurts Donuts: day or night, rain or shine—Hurts will always be waiting for you. Open “25 hours a day, 8 days a week” this specialty donut hub is a pride and soul of the Springfield community.
Mexican Villa was the first Mexican restaurant to open in Springfield. Mexican Villa has for sure earned its spot on this list of beloved 417 cuisines. The first location on National has been around since 1951, and over the years, several more have popped up in the Springfield area.
Pineapple Whip: History wise, the Pineapple Whip company actually started out as small family run shack only available at the Ozark Empire Fair, but due to huge popular demand, the frozen treat has blossomed into a seasonal business. They now have three locations in the Springfield area, and if you’re ever craving the frozen fruity delight, “just follow the hula girl.”
Andy’s Frozen Custard: Technically, Andy’s started at Lake of the Ozarks, but after the custard shack took off in popularity, they moved on down to Springfield. Andy’s is the Ozark’s #1 Frozen Custard vendor. For more than three decades, only the “freshest ingredients have been used for a frozen custard experience you can’t get anywhere else”.
6. Regional Airports
The Ozarks has two regional airports in Missouri proximity. The Springfield-Branson National Airport and the Branson Airport. The Springfield-Branson National Airport will fly anywhere from Los Angeles to Orlando. They fly to twelve nonstop destinations, including five of the nation’s largest hub airports.
Nearly every major airport in the world is just one stop away. The Branson Airport is served by Frontier Airlines and has been welcoming travelers since 2009. In over 11 years of operation, the airport, along with their airline partners, have carried well over one million travelers and created millions of dollars of economic benefit to the Branson Tri-Lakes region.
7. Golfing Destinations
The greens here have played host to the PGA Tour Bass Pro Shop Legends Tournament, been voted the No. 1 public course in Missouri by GOLF magazine and have been named one of the top 10 courses in Missouri every year since 2001 by Golf Digest.
Rivercut Golf Course meanders along the James River just south of Springfield. The 18-hole municipal course was designed by Ken Dye and hosts several qualifying rounds for tournaments such as the Governor’s Cup and the City Championship.
Branson Hills Golf Course was ranked the No. 1 golf course in the state for four consecutive years by Golf week magazine and is also home to the Magnolia Grille restaurant. The Chuck Smith-designed course is one of the most difficult in the area, but multiple-distance tees cater to players at any level.
This golf course is one of Branson’s best-kept secrets. The scenic course was designed by Tom Clark and is nestled into the Ozark Mountains. Rock outcroppings, creeks, ponds and stunning scenery weave through the 18-hole course, which was named one of the top five best courses in Missouri and one of the best resort courses by Golf Week magazine.
College of the Ozarks provides a hands on vocational experience that allows students to work for their education full-time. Students work fifteen hours per week to cover a portion of their education. The remainder is underwritten through grants and scholarships, which are made available through donations. No student at College of the Ozarks will ever pay for tuition.
Missouri State University is a public university system with students who come from all over Missouri, the nation and the world. They are a close-knit community of passionate and steadfast learners committed to ethical leadership, cultural competence and community engagement. Those are the pillars of the university’s unique public affairs mission, granted to us by the Missouri General Assembly.
Ozarks Technical Community College is a public community college in Springfield, Missouri. It was established by Springfield and thirteen surrounding public school districts on April 3, 1990. Students can earn a one-year certificate, two-year Associate of Applied Science degree or Associate of Arts degree.
9. Corporate Headquarters
With a trained workforce and nearly 50,000 college students attending area universities, the Ozarks are perfect for a business venture. You can find the headquarters of several large corporate headquarters here, including noteworthy names like O’Reilly Auto Parts, Bass Pro Shops and BKD.