Blooming dogwood and hawthorn, robins hopping around on new grass, beds of daffodils lining country lanes. Sound good? Then head for southeast Missouri to see old mills and hike in state parks.
When to go: From late March through April, most days are sunny and around 70.
What to do: Paddle the Jacks Fork and Current rivers, part of Ozark National Scenic Riverways.
See the 1894 Alley Spring Mill near Eminence (pictured). Stand in the shadow of 680-ton Dumbo in Elephant Rocks State Park. Gaze into the Deep Hole in Johnson's Shut-Ins State Park. Climb Missouri's highest point in Taum Sauk Mountain State Park.
Details: See Floating Missouri and On the rocks in the Ozarks.