Missouri's Ozark area in the state's southwest corner is noted for live entertainment, blue lakes and green forests, and attractions oriented to local lifeways. Branson is famed for more than 90 music and variety shows. Silver Dollar City recasts the setting of an Ozark town of the 1880s. Trout fishing is popular at cold Taneycomo Lake. Springfield offers history and art galleries as well as Wilson's Creek National Battlefield, where Civil War history is evoked. Fantastic Caverns, the continent's only ride-through cave, is here.
Outdoor life has its best expression in the Ozark Heritage area, where miles of rivers are suitable for canoeing and photographic subjects are abundant. Alley Spring Grist Mill Historic Site near Eminence is home to a vivid red historic gristmill. The Margaret Harwell Art Museum is an attraction in Poplar Bluff. Wildflowers abound in Mark Twain National Forest. Elephant Rocks State Park contains huge granite boulders that stand end-to-end like Big Top pachyderms. Clearwater Lake boasts literally everything for the outdoor enthusiast, including unusually scenic surroundings.
The state's southeastern corner, the River Heritage area, stands out in terms of scenery and history. River-overlook bluffs, rolling countryside, verdant valleys and fertile farmland as well as streams and trails characterize the environs. Ste. Genevieve founded by French settlers in 1735, is the first permanent settlement on the west banks of the Mississippi. Nearly 50 structures are still here, some accessible for tours. In New Madrid, one-room Higgerson School Historic Site offers a glimpse of pioneer life. A museum enshrines the history of the Stars and Stripes Museum & Library newspaper, born in Bloomfield.