Few states in America have such a rich blend of natural beauty, outdoor recreation and engaging culture as Missouri. Visitors come for many reasons: to boat, fish and hike as well as experience the fascinating folk style of the Ozarks and the cool urban fun of St Louis and Kansas City. There are amazing attractions to see underground among the state’s caverns and loads of family fun in tourist towns like Branson. Enjoy world-class barbecue and jazz in Kansas City, pleasant Mississippi riverside ambiance in St Louis and a unique folk culture tucked away in Eureka Springs.
The Gateway to the West has been the front door of the frontier since the beginning of the country. Its massive Arch celebrates the role of St Louis in America's development, and is one of the the US's most exciting cities with top-notch museums, great parks and a rich musical heritage. Cruise the Mississippi River on an old-time paddlewheel steamboat, stroll the city’s incredible botanical gardens and catch inspiring blues in the Delmar Loop district. St Louis barbecue is legendary, its urban zoo a real treat and the Cardinals baseball is a universal source of pride.
Address: Eastern Missouri
Missouri’s Ground Zero for family fun and entertainment is the touristy town of Branson. Catch country bluegrass music at the Grand Ole Opry, ride the PowderKeg roller coaster in the superb Silver Dollar City amusement park or beat the summer heat in White Water water park. This all-American town is chalk full of 50 theaters playing musical tributes, live concerts, plays, comedy, and other G-rated entertainment.
Address: Southern Missouri
Mark Twain Cave
Honoring one of Missouri’s most famous native sons is the state’s coolest cave. Samuel Clemens himself explored it before writing The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. It’s a beautiful large cavern, flat enough for anyone to enjoy the 55-minute tour through its winding passages and towering rooms. Jesse James hid out here, as did runaway slaves seeking refuge via the Underground Railroad. It’s this mix of colorful history and natural beauty that makes Mark Twain Cave such a popular attraction and a good choice among the state’s 5,500 underground hideaways.
Address: Mark twain Cave, 300 Cave Hollow Road, Hannibal, MO 63401
Once a trading post established in 1821, Kansas City evolved into the starting point of the Oregon, Santa Fe and California trails that led half a million pioneers into the American West. A lot of history has taken place here, and today its 1880s brick warehouses are home to trendy restaurants, bars and shopping complexes exemplified by the new Power & Light District. An engaging mix of old and new, Kansas City is large, yet still feels intimate and friendly. Its barbecue, jazz, steaks, and rich frontier heritage are all highlights found nowhere else in America. Enjoy the parks, fountains and lively neighborhoods filled with real people and diverse amenities.
Address: Western Missouri
Elephant Rocks State Park
Of the 49 state parks in Missouri, few are as otherworldly and enchanting as Elephant Rocks. Towering granite formations litter the area, many of which resemble elephants. The park is accessible to visitors of all ages and abilities and even has a special one-mile trail with signs marked in Braille. Enjoy a leisurely hike among the surreal boulders, go rock scrambling or bring a picnic. There’s nothing else like it in Missouri.
Address: Elephant Rocks State Park, 7406 Highway 21, Belleview, MO 63623
This urban park in the heart of St Louis is one of the largest of its kind in America. Bigger than even Central Park in New York, this leafy green area is host to many of St Louis’ top attractions. The 1904 World’s Fair was held here, and today visitors can enjoy the city’s zoo, art museum, St Louis Science Center, the Missouri History Museum, and countless other recreation facilities. Lakes, woodlands and walking paths cover the 1,371-acre park where you can easily spend an entire day exploring.
Address: Forest Park, St Louis, MO
Website: Forest Park Official Site
More than just a beautiful mountain range, the Ozarks are a rich repository of folk culture like nowhere else in the country. Rolling hills covered in hardwood forests and hundreds of lakes create a lifetime of outdoor recreation from hiking the 550-mile Ozark Trail to boating and fishing on the massive Lake of the Ozarks. There are fascinating rural hamlets with a rich heritage of crafts, music and folklore such as Eureka Springs and Pocahontas. There is also an entertainment district on par with Branson.
Address: Southern Missouri