There is no shortage of outdoor recreation on tap in Missouri. With 49 state parks, forests, waterways, and hundreds of natural areas and conservation preserves to explore, residents make good use of these resources year-round. Best of all, the climate is mild enough to enjoy being outside any time you visit which allows for plenty of things to do.
The country’s longest rail to trail route, the 225-mile Katy Trail, offers one of the best multi-day biking and hiking adventures in America. The Mark Twain National Forest is a wilderness wonderland, while the Ozark National Scenic Waterways provide some of the prettiest boating and fishing areas imaginable. Hit a round of golf, yacht on the Lake of the Ozarks or catch a professional sports game in St Louis.
There is a lot of water in Missouri. The lovely Lake of the Ozarks alone contains more shoreline than the California coast, and there are hundreds of lakes and rivers to take on. Boating is a popular activity here, with marinas where outfitters like Firstmate Guide Service can take you on a leisurely cruise.
The rivers of Missouri are even more impressive, offering everything from a classic riverboat ride on the mighty Mississippi to traditional canoeing excursions guided by Longboat Outfitters. Kayaking is another way to experience the Ozark National Scenic Waterways with Current River Canoe Outfitters. You can even hop on an inner tube to enjoy a summertime float trip down one of the state’s many lazy rivers.
With more than 5,500 known caves beneath Missouri's surface, its nickname, "the Cave State," is accurate. Caving is a highlight here year round, with fascinating places like Mark Twain Cave and Bridal Cave combining natural wonders with a colorful history of Native American traditions, outlaw hideouts and the slavery-era Underground Railroad. Let a company like Inner Mountain Outfitters help you plan the subterranean adventure of a lifetime.
The rolling Ozark Mountains are one of the most beautiful features of Missouri. Much of the region is national forest and state parks dotted with towns that provide a comfortable base of operations. The hiking doesn’t get much better than the 550 miles of the Ozark Trail. Pick a section for a day hike or plan a multi-day backpacking trip with the help of James River Outfitters.
From fly fishing to bait and hook, Missouri’s countless lakes and rivers are teeming with fish. The trout and bass are particularly popular for anglers, and there are professional outfitters at every location waiting to provide licenses, gear and guidance. Check River Run Outfitters or White River Outfitters in Branson for assistance.
From Kansas City to St Louis, there are hundreds of public and private golf courses with greens fees that are remarkably affordable considering the quality of facilities. Quail Creek Golf Course in St Louis is a lovely urban course, while the Club at Old Kinderhook near the Lake of the Ozarks is a real challenge.