The Best Side Trips from Missouri’s Big Cities
Collected by Anne Roderique-Jones , AFAR Local Expert
There’s a whole lot more to the Show-Me State than Kansas City and St. Louis, from a 25-mile wine trail to a 350,000-square-foot wildlife museum and aquarium. Outdoor enthusiasts will love the blue-green waters of Table Rock Lake, while families can find entertainment in theme parks, kitschy attractions, and historic sites like the Mark Twain Boyhood Home.
1201 S 12th St, St Joseph, MO 64503, USA
Located in St. Joseph, the Jesse James Home—operated by the Pony Express Historical Association—is a small but mighty museum that’s easily worth an hour’s time. It was here that the notorious outlaw Jesse James was shot and...
120 N Main St, Hannibal, MO 63401, USA
Located in the small river town of Hannibal, the Mark Twain Boyhood Home & Museum is actually a cluster of eight buildings that pay homage to one of America’s most celebrated authors. Visitors can tour Mark Twain’s Boyhood Home...
1 Hospital Dr, Columbia, MO 65212, USA
The University of Missouri Museum of Art and Archaeology could easily get overlooked amid the myriad restaurants and bars of surrounding Columbia—but it shouldn’t. The fascinating museum boasts works from over 6,000 years of human...
150A Market St, Hermann, MO 65041, USA
While Missouri might be the last place you’d pick for a wine-country getaway, the state is actually home to several vineyards. In the 1830s, German farmers settled in the area between Hermann and New Haven and began growing grapes and making...
201 W Capitol Ave, Jefferson City, MO 65101, USA
Jefferson City may be Missouri’s 15th most populous city, but it’s the state capital nonetheless, with a stunning building to prove it. Completed in 1917, the Capitol sits on a limestone bluff on the south bank of the Missouri River,...
Lake Ozark, MO, USA
The largest state park in Missouri, Lake of the Ozarks is a wildly popular destination for swimming, fishing, boating, or simply taking in the scenery from a shady campsite or picnic area. Along the lake’s shoreline, visitors will also find...
5957 State Hwy ZZ, Cuba, MO 65453, USA
Historic Route 66 snakes through the state of Missouri, offering road trippers an array of classic motels, neon signs, and kitschy attractions. Case in point: the World’s Largest Route 66 Rocking Chair, which resides in the small town of...
500 W Sunshine St, Springfield, MO 65807, USA
Founded by Bass Pro Shops CEO Johnny Morris, the Wonders of Wildlife National Museum & Aquarium “celebrates people who hunt, fish, and act as stewards of the land and water.” However, you don’t have to be an outdoorsman to...
399 Silver Dollar City Pkwy, Branson, MO 65616, USA
Opened in 1960, Silver Dollar City mimics an 1880 mining town, complete with themed rides and employees who dress the part. Visitors to the kitschy theme park will find more than 40 rides—the Time Traveler is the fastest, tallest, steepest...
139 Irish Ln Hwy 165, Branson, MO 65616, USA
Crystal-clear Table Rock Lake is a truly resplendent place for a family vacation—or even just a day on the water—in the middle of Ozarks nature. Here, visitors will find hidden beaches (Moonshine is a favorite), several marinas (for...
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