The Mannos Family Adventures in the Ozarks

Johnson’s Shut-Ins State Park

Lesterville, Missouri

MO Map

Whoever coined the phrase “the great outdoors” would certainly admire what the Missouri Ozarks have to offer. Miles and miles of rolling tree-capped mountains, crystal clear spring-fed rivers and majestic limestone bluffs. Missouri is teeming with magical wildlife and geological wonders. What better way to make memories than to wander the nature trails of Missouri with the ones you love and take in its simple treasures of natural beauty. Breathe it in. Take your time. There’s no need to rush out here.

Stand on the shoulders of giants

Come see the geological marvel of Elephant Rocks State Park. Here you’ll find enormous boulders of rose-colored granite that were formed from molten magma, water and erosion over the course of 1.5 billion years. Come to the park for a scenic hike and a picnic and enjoy the spectacular panoramic views from the top.

Elephant Rocks
the Ozark trail The bond is stronger where the wif-i is weak

Come get away from it all and get closer to nature and each other. Explore the rugged, natural beauty of the Missouri Ozarks with your family. Treat yourselves to a day or a week of hiking, biking, camping, or horsebike riding on more than 300 miles of trails. The Ozarks are filled with unique geological, natural, historical, and cultural features all waiting to be discovered. Bring your phone, because it will have a least one use: taking amazing pictures.

Camping or Glamping

There are dozens and dozens of campgrounds throughout the Missouri Ozarks. Whether you like the rugged no-frills camping style or if “glamping” is more your speed, Missouri has it all.

Resorts like Wilderness Lodge and Echo Bluff State Park offer modern ammenities like air-conditioned cabins and plenty of on-site activities.

Hiking Through the Wilderness

Taum Sauk Mountain State Park has hiking from easy to difficult skill levels. One of the easier trailhead spurs is paved and will lead you to the highest elevation in the state, while Mina Sauk Falls Trail will take you through some of the most rewarding views – including a waterfall.

If you’re up for the task, the 350-mile Ozark Trail will lead you to some of the most beautiful sites in Missouri such as Onondaga Cave and Eleven Point River.

Credit: Missouri State Parks

Floating / Swimming / #Winning

Missouri may be miles from any ocean, but still tourists flock to this state because of the water. With over 100 rivers, many of them spring-fed, Missouri is the destination for swimming, kayaking, rafting or just gently floating down the clear waters.

Visit Johnson’s Shut-Ins for a unique swimming experience. Float the Current and Black Rivers.

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Dogwood Canyon Nature Park

If you’re looking for a breathtaking natural getaway, you must visit Dogwood Canyon Nature Park, just a half-hour southwest of Branson.

For a small admission price, you’ll experience 10,000 acres of pristine Ozark Mountain landscape, miles of crystal-clear trout streams, dozens of cascading waterfalls, ancient burial caves, unique hand-built bridges and blue-green pools.

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Fly Through the Trees

A wildly popular adrenaline-pumping activity here in the Ozarks is ziplining. Strapping into your harness and propelling down the treelined hillside gives you a sense of freedom and euphoria.

You can choose from many ziplines in the Branson area such as Adventure Ziplines of Branson, Branson Zipline at Wolfe Mountain and Parakeet Pete's Waterfront Zipline.

Comfort Food

Get some good down-home cookin’ at many of the amazing dining establishments in the Ozarks such as the famous Lambert’s Cafe which is the home of the “Throwed Rolls.”

Get a belly full of award-winning BBQ at Gettin' Basted. Go casual or gourmet at The Keeter Center in Point Lookout near Branson - or enjoy some contemporary Mexican dishes and amazing views at Arnie’s Barn at Top of the Rock.

Wonder of Wildlife Wonders and surprises Wonders and surprises
Credit: Wonders of Wildlife

Wonders of Wildlife, the “largest, most immersive fish and wildlife attraction in the world,” is located in Springfield, Missouri. This national museum and aquarium, located next to the Bass Pro Shops National Headquarters, showcases 35,000 live fish, mammals, reptiles and birds, and wildlife galleries that bring visitors eye-to-eye with the greatest collection of record-setting game animals ever assembled.

Wolf exhibit
Credit: Wonders of Wildlife

A roller coaster through the wilderness? You better believe it! Get ready for some heart-pumping action as you strap into a cart that will send you 30 miles an hour careening through the trees for three minutes before you reach the bottom of the mountain. No wonder it’s called The Runaway.

Runaway Mountain Coaster
Credit: Runaway Mountain Coaster

Get ready for some great live entertainment! If there’s one thing Branson is known for, it’s the incredible live shows and there’s quiet the variety to choose from. Check out the energetic pop-infused show from The Haygoods, or the Million Dollar Quartet - based on the Tony Award-winning musical. Or the long standing Branson original - Presley’s Country Jubilee.

The Haygoods
Credit: The Haygoods