If you think the Midwest lacks breathtaking views and unique experiences, think again! We explored Eureka Springs, AR and southwestern Missouri’s Ozark Region for a weekend. It was completely unforgettable- we had no idea such a beautiful place was 8 hours south of us in Minnesota!

The Ozark Region extends across 5 states: Arkansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Kansas and Illinois. The Ozarks are home to an abundance of natural, sparkling springs, waterfalls, lakes, caves and over 300 miles of hiking trails. We were able to find the perfect place to not only have a unique lodging experience, but also have all the unique experiences nearby.


Lodging Experience with Campfire Hollow

Since we only had the weekend to explore, we knew having a base camp that was conveniently located near Eureka Springs in the Ozarks would be important. We were lucky to find Campfire Hollow, a dome nestled on the shores of Table Rock Lake in the heart of the woods in Eagle Rock, Missouri.

Campfire Hollow allows you to be immersed in nature, yet still comfortable. We had 1.6 acres of woods to ourselves and even had seasonal waterfalls, private trails that lead down to the lake, a creek and unique rock formations. The outdoor space consists of a wood burning fire pit, picnic table, yard games, hammock, a park-style charcoal grill and a small Weber charcoal grill.

Campfire Hollow can accommodate up to 4 guests. There is a queen sized mattress under the bed with a built in electric pump. The dome has everything you need for heating and cooling. It also includes a small kitchenette, dining set, and basic utensils. The Dome is fully equipped with electricity and lighting. We really appreciated the weighted and heated blankets provided as well! There is also a Wash House which is a short walk from the dome. It includes a shower, two toilets and washer/dryer.

We enjoyed all the small touches to this unique stay. There was a puzzle of a picture of Campfire Hollow, a book about how they built it, and a unique Starry Night-inspired Campfire Hollow painting at the top of the dome. We loved the HP Sprocket that was available where you can print pictures right off your phone. We had fun relaxing in the hammock, exploring the unique rock formations and playing the yard games. We appreciated that Campfire Hollow was less than 30 minutes from all the places we wanted to see (Table Rock Lake, Big M Marina, Roaring River State Park and Eureka Springs).


12 Things to Do Near Eureka Springs in the Ozarks

1. Visit Table Rock Lake

Table Rock Lake is a main attraction in the Ozarks, offering a perfect venue for boating, fishing and any kind of water activity. The lake covers over 40,000 acres- that is longer than the acreage of the California coastline! We enjoyed exploring the Marina and walking the shorelines of Table Rock. The views are endless and absolutely stunning! We enjoyed seeing all the wildlife nearby and fishing.


2. Big M Marina

The Big M Marina was located 10 minutes from our campsite in Mano, Missouri, and was a perfect place to go swimming. Since the marina is located on a peninsula, we noticed the water was very calm and smooth. Their is a campground here as well as the option to rent a boat or any kind of water activity equipment. We enjoyed our time here at the beach swimming. It is $5 to enter for the day. We also enjoyed the Dock N Eat Cafe, located on the dock in the middle of the lake- definitely a unique dining experience!


3. Eureka Springs Safari Park

We enjoyed the Safari Park because it was such an immersive experience, located on over 120 acres! First we walked through the petting zoo portion of the park. Then we got to drive thru the rest of it, accompanied by free roaming fallow deer, emus, antelope, peacocks, elk, camels, kangaroos and bison. A lot of the deer and emus came right up to us right away.

Some animals, like the wolves and cougar, we could see but they were not free roaming. My kids absolutely loved this experience- they’re still talking about it now! Admission is $19.50 for adults, $12.50 for ages 3-12 and 2 & under are free.


4. Roaring River State Park

Roaring River State Park is located in Cassville, Missouri and has officially tied with Custer State Park in South Dakota as being my favorite state parks! Roaring River State Park is one of three parks that is stocked with Rainbow Trout. There is a fish hatchery (my kids loved feeding the trout) that supplies the Roaring River with the fish. It was cool to see so many people fishing- you can even see the trout swimming in the river because ther are so many of them!

We loved seeing the blue waters that are created from the deepest spring in the US. You can view the small cavern that includes a small waterfall that trickles down into a cave system with blue waters. We also walked the Fire Tower Trail and the .4 mile Deer Leap Trail.


5. Balcony & Patio Dining in Eureka Springs

Eureka Springs is not short on delicious and unique dining experiences-and we especially loved balcony dining with a view of the charming town! We had brunch at The Spring on Main offers patio dining with a view of the town or dining on their balcony. They have three menus-brunch, lunch and dinner. We had the Lobster Benedict and Avocado with eggs sunny side up & tried their signature cocktails. This place was delicious with such a fun, welcoming atmosphere- I definitely would come back!

For lunch we tried Bombadils, located outside of the downtown area. They are a food truck & considered “farm to table,” supporting local farmers. I had a jack fruit sandwich from here along with their strawberry short cake and it was divine! They also have a gorgeous patio dining area with a view.

For dinner, we tried Red’s Pizzeria. it was such a funky pizza shop, with a fun outdoor dining experience. The pizza was delicious & they have so many options and unique pizza creations here. A couple restaurants we did not get to try that we would for a next trip is the New Delhi Cafe (featuring American and Indian fusion) and the Skybar Pizza.


6. Shop Funky Stores

Eureka Springs has had some of the most unique stores I have ever seen. Everything was so charming and there is truly something for everyone. Some of our favorite stores in Eureka Springs for souvenirs were the Ladybug’s Emporium, Packrat’s Paradise, Town Shop, Magpies and Razorback Gift Shops. Unique shops we really enjoyed were Your Wild Wood, Glory B’s, Two Dumb Dames and Sugar & Spite (candy shops).


7. Walk the Artsy Staircases and City Trails

One of the best ways to explore Eureka Springs is to get there early (to find a parking spot-especially on the weekends!), and just walk around. Otherwise, you will be missing out on all the cool details this charming town has tucked away. Eureka Springs is known as an artsy town for a reason!

We loved exploring the stair cases that lead up to short trails or little falls. If you are looking for picturesque art spots, I suggest the Staircase UP and Rainbow Staircase, both connecting North Main Street and Center Street. There is also a Eureka Springs mural off North Main Street and the Humpty Dumpty Wall on Main Street.


8. Thorncrown Chapel

Thorncrown Chapel is an iconic site to see, standing more than 40 feet in the air, nestled in woodland. Over 7 million people have visited Thorncrown Chapel to take in its beauty. It’s free to enter & you are welcomed to sit in & take in the panoramic views.


9. Climb Razorback Tower

Razorback Tower is a 100 ft. observation tower where visitors can get the bird’s eye view of the Ozarks. Located off scenic 62, on the south side of Eureka Springs, this climb is not for anyone that fears heights! It costs $1 (in quarters) per person to climb the tower. There is also the Razorback gift shop located nearby.


10. Leatherwood Lake

Leatherwood Lake City Park offers over 25 miles of trails. I admire all the hand cut limestone and leftover cobblestone bridges along the trails. Lake Leatherwood is a spring-fed lake with over 3 miles of shoreline. The park is also popular for swimming, boating, fishing, picnicking, historic stone walls and bridges, unusual rock formations and the beauty of nature.


11. Blue Springs Heritage Center

One of our favorite experiences on our adventure was Blue Springs Heritage Center, which is a historic bluff center. Blue Springs is part of the Trail of Tears the Cherokee Nation were forced to walk. They considered the natural blue springs to be a spot of rest and healing, also called land of blue skies and laughing waters. Today, the Blue Springs pours over 38 million galloons of cold, clear water into the trout-filled blue lagoon. You can explore the gorgeous gardens, feed the trout, walk the wooden trails, view the Blue Spring and see unique rock formations.


12. Visit the Funnel Cake Shop

If you have time, definitely pay the Funnel Cake Shop a visit- especially if you love fair food! They have various funnel cake options, giant hand-squeezed lemonades, corn dogs and large pretzels.

For coffee, we loved the Eureka Daily Roast (located in the historic downtown building), and if you are in a hurry, Just Bean Me Up drive thru coffee shop.


Suggestions for Next Time

Eureka Springs itself is pouring over with so much to do and see. My favorite part about this artsy, charming area was how immersed in nature everything is. We cut a lot of things from our list off because we really wanted to slow down and appreciate the nature beauty around us. The next time we visit (and we definitely will!), we are hoping to check these off the list: Little Golden Gate Bridge, Dogwood Canyon Nature Park, Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge, Christ of the Ozark, Beaver Lake, Onyx Cave, Quigley’s Castle and Roaring River Gina Water Slide.

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