8 Caves to Explore in Southwest MO

By Cassy Cochrun May 4, 2023

You may know Missouri as the "Show-Me State," but did you know it is also "The Cave State?" There are over 7,300 documented caves in Missouri, and more are still being discovered. Many of these caves are open to the public and offer educational tours. Here are a few of our favorite caves in Southwest Missouri.

Fantastic Caverns


Springfield's famous ride-thru cave features a 55-minute tour on Jeep-drawn trams. We love this cave because everyone can experience it, regardless of mobility. The educational tour makes it a perfect first cave exploration for littler kids.


Sequiota Park Cave


Though you can peek inside during any trip to Sequiota park, the cave is closed to visitors, except during the park board's guided boat tours, which are offered seasonally. This cave is home to a migrating colony of endangered gray bats.


Crystal Cave


This cave makes music! Crystal Cave, just north of the Springfield city limits, features 13 pure white stalagmites, a "concert hall" room, and a "chimes" room, where the stalactites make beautiful sounds. The tour of this cave takes 2.5 hours, so it may be best for older kids.


Riverbluff Cave


Workers blasting a new road accidentally discovered this cave in 2001.  It is still being explored and isn't open to the public, but it is wired for virtual tours. The Riverbluff Cave fieldhouse features some of the fossils discovered inside, and it's definitely worth seeing; this cave is now officially the oldest fossil cave in the United States!


Smallin Civil War Cave


Learn about the history, folklore & geology of this cave during a one-hour tour. There is also a visitor's center and sidewalk museum onsite. This little cave has been listed in the National Register of Historic Places since 2018.



Marvel Cave
Branson – Silver Dollar City


Maybe the most famous cave in Southwest Missouri, Silver Dollar City (the town, not the theme park!) was developed around its entrance in 1894. You will need to purchase tickets to Silver Dollar City (the theme park) to see this cave, but it's well worth it to see the deepest cave in Missouri. Tours last an hour and take participants down a series of ramps and stairs, returning to the surface via tram.


Talking Rocks Caverns
Branson West


Tours of Talking Rocks Cavern are offered year-round, rain or shine. The concrete pathways are relatively easy to walk, so this tour is good for all ages. There are also plenty of activities to explore above ground, including gemstone mining, Speleo boxes, nature trails, and a family games area.



Bluff Dwellers Cave


One of the older caves in MO, Bluff Dwellers has been open to the public since 1927. It features about 4,000 of explored passages, plus unique geological formations like a 10-ton balanced rock on two pivots, albino cave crayfish, grotto salamander, and more. The guided tour lasts about an hour.