Whether it’s the beauty of a summer sunset over the Roubidoux Spring, the breathtaking fall foliage along Route 66 or the charm of the downtown square, Waynesville has something to offer everyone. Even Santa doesn’t miss “Christmas on the Square” in December. Waynesville’s possibilities range from historic attractions to award-winning fishing, from underwater caves to beautiful parks, from modern-day excitement to echoes of the past.
The giant Frog Rock, W.H. Croaker, greets visitors as they arrive in downtown Waynesville. The huge painted rock is a Waynesville landmark that hints to visitors they’ve entered a city with a personality all its own.
Consider yourself a history buff? With a namesake like Revolutionary War hero “Mad” Anthony Wayne, Waynesville is as rich with history as its name suggests. One of the oldest cities in Pulaski County, it has been a trading post for trappers and pioneers, a rest stop for stagecoaches traveling west, an encampment for the infamous Trail of Tears, hosted battles and skirmishes in the Civil War, and established its popularity with travelers and day-trippers alike with the development of Route 66. Waynesville’s history is immortalized in several downtown buildings; a marker on Fort Street indicates the site of a Civil War Union fort.
Take a trip back in time to visit Waynesville’s historic downtown square. The 1903 Pulaski County Courthouse is now the site of a museum, ran by the local historical society. The courthouse is one of the few remaining courthouses that sit directly on Route 66. An original courtroom is available for tour, and visitors can linger over memorabilia from county history.
The Old Stagecoach Shop is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and was built in the late 1850s. The original structure has served as a post office and stagecoach stop for pioneers journeying the Springfield to St. Louis Road, a tavern, a dental office, a hospital for injured soldiers during the Civil War, a hotel and a private residence.
If modern-day fun holds more appeal, spend the day at the beautiful Roubidoux Spring to experience the area’s best trout fishing at one of few urban trout streams. The famous spring is also home to underwater caves that draw certified cave divers from around the globe. In 1837, the spring was a site along the infamous Trail of Tears during the Indian removal.
Take an afternoon stroll on the walking trail that joins Waynesville and Laughlin Park for a refreshing tour along the Roubidoux River; gather the family for a picnic in one of the pavilions to please any crowd.
Whether you’re fishing, enjoying walking trails or taking advantage of the short distance to Pulaski County’s finest camping and canoeing, Waynesville is sure to offer activities for any interest.
While you’re visiting our historic downtown square, be sure to check out the antique shops and visit our local merchants. If you have extra time, why not catch the latest production at our community theater or attend one of the many local festivals throughout the year.
Visitors can also take advantage of Waynesville’s convenience to major highways. Travel Route 17 to reach local communities; enjoy the striking landscape and quaint developments that spring to view as you drive over the picturesque Ozark Mountains and valleys. Local highways are especially rewarding on an autumn afternoon, when the fall foliage has developed into brilliant shades of orange and red against the background of the shimmering Gasconade River. Waynesville is also convenient to Interstate 44, making day trips to the Ozark region’s best outdoor escapes, state parks, wine tasting and shopping easily accessible. No matter if you’re searching for nostalgia or for some present-day adventure, Waynesville has what you’re looking for.