Image: Ozark National Scenic Riverways
National Park Service via AP
Beauty abounds in The Ozark National Scenic Riverways outside Eminence, Mo.
updated 4/3/2009 10:12:09 AM ET 2009-04-03T14:12:09

It's spring in the Ozarks, wildflowers will be blooming on the hills and fish will be looking for baited hooks. And if that doesn't persuade you to plan a visit, follow a few Web links to learn about that tourist magnet called Branson, Mo.

Don't know a redbud from a dogwood? Look for "Spring Bloom Info " at Ozark Mountains and take a look at photos and facts about the two flowering trees that decorate the hills in spring, along with a link to 15 spring wildflowers. Look to the left of the photo of the fox pups for a link to their suggestions for driving tours. And just below that, click on "Spring Fishing" and follow the links to fishing reports, descriptions of the fish that swim in the area, and fishing license information.

Looking at wildflowers isn't the only thing to do for fun. Go back to the main page of Ozark Mountains and look for "Ozark Mountains Recreation" for suggestions on hiking, biking, fishing and driving tours. And while it's still a bit early in the season, consult their "RV Parks and Campgrounds" directory for warmer weather visits.

Spring also means music in these parts. The calendar at Ozarks Cultural Landscapes lists fiddlers' and bluegrass festivals for just about any month, including the Annual Bluegrass Pickin' Time in May at Dixon, Mo. Look to the left side of the page under "Listen to the Ozarks" for music samples, radio station links and history of the region's music. Then, clicking on "Home" in the upper left corner will take you to more information on the region, including museums, food and handicrafts.

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There's much more to see and do in Missouri's half of the Ozark Mountains. Visit the Ozark Heritage Region to look up links to outfits that will rent you a river raft or places to go trail riding.

And if the weather outside isn't what you want, take a tour underground at Ozark Caverns in Lake of the Ozarks State Park. Take a jacket; the cave is a constant 56 degrees. Above ground, the park has a marina, campgrounds and trails for hiking, biking and horsing around.

But all of this fun in the outdoors isn't the only thing that draws people to these parts.

Visitors come by the busload to Branson to see stage shows and listen to Andy Williams and other artists. Click on "Live Shows" and go to the bottom of the page to find all of the listings. Andy Williams? Go to his Moon River Theatre named for one of his hits from the 1960s.

If the shows don't grab you, try out their "Attractions" section. There's the Silver Dollar City, an 1880s-styled theme park, along with a museum devoted to the ship Titanic and Shepherd of the Hills Homestead. Feel parched after exploring the Branson area? It also has wineries. And back on the Branson main page, look for the little Spring symbol under the welcoming banner to find events.

For more, the Branson Tourism Center has links to show schedules and the most popular productions. And the blue column on the left has links to packages, specials and discounts, plus restaurant vouchers.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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