Hues of pink and orange at sunset on the Caster River Shut-Ins near Fredericktown
The neon-lit Ferris wheel in Branson
Strolling among the vines at Chaumette Vineyards & Winery in Genevieve
The bold architecture of the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts in Kansas City
Dockside at Lake of the Ozarks
Mark Twain commemorative plaque alongside the Mississippi River in Hannibal
Antique automobile outside Gary’s Gay Parita filling station near Halltown, on Route 66
Admiring aquatic creatures at St. Louis Zoo
The “Holy Trinity” of barbecued meat at Char Bar in Kansas City
Opening day of trout-fishing season at Bennett Spring State Park
For families, adventurers and culture buffs
Follow the “Mother Road,” Route 66, past quirky wayside exhibits, over quaint bridges and through historic small towns, state parks and farms. Stop into the diners, inns and eateries (like Ted Drewes Frozen Custard) that preserve the character and the food of the past. In the city, explore the Gateway Arch – the tallest national monument in the USA (and one of the most recognizable) built in 1965 to symbolize the country’s westward expansion. From American outlaw Jesse James to President Harry Truman, Missouri has produced its fair share of significant figures. Visit the birthplace memorials of both, leaving time for the Walt Disney Hometown Museum and a stop in the town of Hannibal, once author Mark Twain’s stomping grounds.
Known for its big-and-bold performance scene, there are more than 100 live shows in Branson, from major acts on main stages to Dixie stampedes, acrobat performances, Elvis impersonators and sultry jazz in intimate lounges. The area’s Silver Dollar City is made to look like the 1880s and offers 40 rides, live shows and festivals that celebrate Missouri culture (think barbecue and Bluegrass). This is a state where you bring your appetite: Both the Kansas City and St. Louis styles of barbecue are required eating here. Head to 18th & Vine Historic Jazz District in Kansas City for an authentic sampling.
Explore the Great Outdoors
Plunge into Mark Twain’s Cave, tube down a river or set up camp in a state park; Missouri’s natural beauty is definitely worth looking at, but it’s even more fun to explore. This state counts 56 parks and numerous conservation areas within its borders, which translates to dozens of hiking, biking, swimming, fishing and water sports opportunities in a variety of settings. If you’re more suited to leisure activities, take your clubs to one of many golf courses, go skeet shooting or kick back at a baseball game. There’s no wrong way to be outside here.