Some people who travel want to stay in and relax. They want to wrap up in a luxurious and fluffy robe, kick their feet up, and take in a view – from inside, where it’s nice and climate controlled. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with wanting a low-key, pampering vacation – but that doesn’t appeal to everyone. Some are born with an adventurer’s soul, and their feet are always itching for the next road to walk down. Dogwood Canyon Nature Park in Missouri may be the adventurer’s dream you haven’t heard of it, but you’ll be glad you have now.
Save the Eagles
January 10 marks National Save the Eagles Day, and Dogwood Canyon is the place to be. The park’s canyon has narrow walls and a stream brimming with trout – the perfect place for Bald Eagles to winter. Dogwood offers twice weekly Eagle Watching Tours for guests, the perfect opportunity to see these large and magnificent beasts up close. We say magnificent, but there’s something you should know about eagles, even the majestic hairless ones – they can be a bit clumsy and ridiculous.
On the wing, nothing looks more like a mythical creature than a Bald Eagle – graceful, nimble, clever – but on their feet, it’s another story. While at Dogwood you’ll have a chance to observe these dynamic and brilliant creatures as they interact and hunt for food. It’s the perfect learning opportunity for kids and adults of all ages who want to know more about our national animal. Like most birds, their behaviors are both bizarre and familiar. We’re used to the mammalian animals we share our life with, and birds can share some characteristics, but they live a world apart – and seeing eagles in their wild habitat is a chance you can’t pass up.
On January 9 and 22, in honor of National Save the Eagles Day, Dogwood is also offering an exciting opportunity, their team sharing in a statement, “January 9 and 22 in celebration of National Save the Eagles Day and the winter migration season, Dogwood Canyon is also offering an educational ‘Eagles of America’ talk and up-close eagle encounters with Bald and Golden Eagles in collaboration with Dickerson Park Zoo from 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. (free of charge with park admission).”
To plan your Eagle Watching adventure, visit this website.
Dogwood Canyon Nature Park
When you think of natural wonders, Missouri might not be the first place that comes to mind. However, Missouri is a state of breathtaking beauty. The Ozark Mountains in particular stretch across Missouri, Arkansas, Oklahoma and a small part of Kansas – and they are truly a natural wonder to behold. With the rolling verdant features of the Appalachians but the stark wilderness feel of the Rockies, the Ozarks are the perfect adventure destination for the outdoor lover.
And in the heart of Missouri lies Dogwood Canyon Nature Park. At Dogwood Canyon, the forest and mountains meet the water in a breathtaking blend of vistas and terrains. The park covers 10,000 acres in Lampe, MO, and the visitor’s lodge is a charming wood structure that sits astride a river, spanning the waters with an old stone bridge and covered wooden walkway.
The Dogwood Park website shares, “Aside from a few amenities to make Dogwood Canyon Nature Park more accessible to our guests, the rugged landscape has been left untouched and, with just a little imagination, you can travel back to a time when European settlers first entered the area or, even further, to explore the mark that Native Americans left on these Missouri hills and hollows.
Today, the park includes a fully-functioning mill, restaurant, conservation center, bike barn, a treehouse built by Animal Planet’s Treehouse Masters and a horse stable facility.”
Whether you’re looking for horseback riding, hiking, biking, walking trails, or any other outdoor experience in the beautiful park’s natural setting, Dogwood Park is the outdoor adventurer’s dream play land. To plan your stay, visit the website.
Hotels to Stay in
If you’re planning to head out to Dogwood Canyon, you’ll probably need a place to stay. Luckily, the park lists several hotels that are nearby and work with the park to welcome guests. We picked a few of our favorites to share:
- Basin Park Hotel: In downtown nearby Eureka Springs, Basin Park Hotel is a getaway destination unto itself. It’s the only full-service hotel in the city, and offers upscale accommodations on the recently renovated property. Enjoy a variety of room options from standard deluxe all the way up to specialty suites, with decor that ranges from neutral and soothing to bold natural tones meant to inspire. Visit Spa 1905 to wash away the aches after a fun day of exploring Dogwood Canyon, or head to the on-property restaurant or bar for some local flavor. To book your stay with Basin Park Hotel, visit the website.
- Hilton Branson Convention Center: Located in close by Branson, the Hilton offers everything you’ve come to expect from the brand. From high quality rooms and suites to delicious dining, the Hilton is a comfortable place to kick back after some fun in the sun. To book your stay, visit the website.
- Big Cedar Lodge: Big Cedar Lodge sprawls across 4,600 acres so you won’t have to go far to find fun and adventure. Located in the heart of the rugged landscape of the Ozark Mountains, overlooking sparkling Table Rock Lake, Big Cedar Lodge is a continuation of your day’s adventures at Dogwood. Accommodations come in all styles and sizes, from single rooms to log cabins, with beauty and comfort throughout. Whether you’re looking for over-the-water activities or to explore the mountains, fuel up at one of the lodge’s delicious dining destinations and then head out again. To book your stay, visit the website.
Because this area of Missouri is so incomparably beautiful, you can’t go wrong wherever you stay. But you’ll want to be close to Dogwood to make the most out of your time there.
Winter Adventurer’s Paradise
If you’re feeling a little less wild and untamed and a little more West Coast and warm, we have a sporty destination that might be perfect for the adventurer inside. La Quinta Resort & Club Palm Springs is the sports-lover’s dream.
Accommodations range from the simple and budget-friendly (but still luxurious) to the over-the-top, with the Eisenhower Suite offering a multi-room oasis with your very own fireplace. While staying at La Quinta, you’ll be able to partake in sports of many kinds, including:
- 8 pickleball courts.
- 16 world-class hard courts.
- 5 clay tennis courts with talented pros available for instruction.
- 5 golf courses.
- 41 temperature-controlled pool.
To plan and book your stay at the La Quinta Resort & Club Palm springs, visit the website.
Whether your pleasure is wild Ozark adventures or Palm Springs sports, both of these destinations will tug at the heart strings of outdoors lovers everywhere.