Missouri, located between Kentucky and Kansas is a contrast of nature and city life. The state is both grassy plains and Ozark Mountains with two large vibrant cities offering things to do.
Whether you are a nature lover, a history buff, crave some nightlife or cave time, Missouri has something for you.
Whether it’s state parks, U.S. memorials, theater and music nightlife or sites remembering Missouri’s past famous fathers, there’s lots to do in this state. Check out these things to do in Missouri and start planning your next visit.
Ha Ha Tonka State Park and Castle
You might initially be confused. Am I in a European ruins site? The Ha Ha Tonka, translated as “laughing waters,” is both a Missouri State Park and site of the castle ruins it’s named after.
It was the dream of a wealthy Missouri businessman to build a European castle on his 5,000-acre property in the early 1900s. It was built and his luck ran out. The ruins remain as part of the attraction connected to the state park.
Bonne Terre Mines
Once the largest producer of lead ore, these mines are no longer used for that purpose. The miner’s struck water which then flooded the underground site.
Now it acts as a diver’s delight. Toxic lead particles in the water prevent anything from growing, yet create crystal clear waters.
There are 24 different diving paths and 17 miles of subterranean rooms for diver’s to explore. Huge powerful lights were installed into the caverns which now illuminate up to 100 feet into the waters below for divers.
Once the home of the 18th president, Ulysses S Grant, Grant’s Farm is now a renowned site for preservation and conservation.
The Busch family, of beer brewing fame, bought the property. Now visitors can see the cabin built by President Grant of logs cut from the property. They can also see 900 different animals coming from over 100 species.
The Tier Garten amphitheater lets visitors get personal and up close with many of the animals while also offering up education on its conservation programs.
Branson Theater and Nightlife
Branson, located in southwest Missouri, is a vacation destination for families and those looking for some fun nightlife. Once focusing on country music, now the nightly entertainment offers a diverse selection of theater and music venues.
One fun family thing to do is check out Andy B’s Bowl Social where you can have craft cocktails, chef-driven food and a fun time bowling on their boutique lanes. Find out more about all there is to do for a night of great entertainment.
Hannibal and Mark Twain
He might be the author of the beloved novels the brought Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn to life. He was also a kid growing up in Hannibal, Missouri.
The town has preserved his childhood home. as well as created multiple museums honoring his writing and classic characters. One ticket gets you admission into multiple sites, making this a site worth a visit.
National World War I Museum
Visit this national monument and museum in Kansas City. The education starts as you cross over the glass bridge to enter the site. Below you’ll see the 9,000 red poppies, each one representing 1,000 deaths from the war.
In addition to the grand monument, an official U.S. site, visitors can wander the museum to see original artifacts dating from 1914 to the Paris Peace Accord in 1919.
Kansas City Barbecue
Once you’re done touring the World War I site, prepare your tastebuds for a true Kansas City experience. Choose any number of locations to savor a pile of slow-smoked ribs and barbecue, Kansas City style. You won’t leave hungry or disappointed.
Kansas City is also home to the American Royal World Series of Barbecue. Here many of the best rib chefs and rub makers vie for a winning title of Best in Barbecue.
Lake of the Ozarks
Made even more famous because of the hit Netflix series by the same name. Lake of the Ozark is found in central Missouri on the edge of the Ozark mountains.
It’s a popular vacation destination because of the large winding lake created by impounding the Osage River and its tributaries. The water often referred to as the “Magic Dragon” because of its winding shape was one of the largest man-made bodies of water when created in 1931.
Now visitors could rent a vacation home or visit the Ozarks State Park. Visit the nearby mountains for hiking, then have some water fun in the lake.
No other symbol better represents the state of Missouri than the Gateway Arch. Soaring 630 feet over downtown St. Louis, this arch was built to recognize the westward expansion.
Located right on the Missouri River, visitors can take a four-minute tram ride up the hollow legs of the arch. Once to the top, they can take in the panoramic views of St. Louis and beyond.
The inverted, weighted catenary arch is made of stainless steel. Depending on the time of day and the sun, the arch glistens and glows with different colors.
Also, while there, consider visiting the Museum of Westward expansion and its exhibits.
Meramec State Park
Located about 70 miles southwest of St. Louis on the Meramec River is this state park wonderland. Visitors can canoe down the Meramec River and visit the state park’s nature center. Cabins and overnight camping are also available for visitors.
This park is home to a diverse ecosystem from hardwood forests to glades. There are over 45 different freshwater mussels found just in the river alone.
Visitors can also take guided tours down into the caves including the best known Fisher Cave.
Hermann Wine Trail
Located about 80 miles west of St. Louis is the lovely small town on the banks of the Missouri River. Hermann was found some 175 years ago by German immigrants who settled, planted grapes and started making wine.
Now Missouri is home to more than 80 wineries. The state even funds the Grape and Wine program to promote its wineries and tourism connected activities.
In Hermann, you can pick up the wine trail to visit a whole host of local wineries. You might see an underground cellar dug during the Civil War time or partake in Hermann’s Weinfest.
Things to Do in Missouri
Are you ready to plan your visit to Missouri yet? With beautiful outdoor locations and fun nightlife, there is something for everyone in Missouri. Plan out all your things to do in Missouri and come for a visit.
For other great travel ideas, visit our Cool Vibes travel and hotels tab. We have travel ideas for any of your future vacation ideas.