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Heading to Missouri? We share the best places to visit in Missouri to help you plan the perfect trip around the state.

Although it doesn’t have the worldwide appeal of California, Hawaii, Florida, or New York, Missouri is one of the best travel destinations to consider if you’re interested in the heartland of the United States. This Midwestern state is jam-packed with attractions. Whether you’re traveling alone or with your family, you can find attractions for every age. 

Here are nine reasons to add Missouri to your travel bucket list. 

St Louis arch best places to visit in Missouri

1. The Attractions of St. Louis

A major river port on the banks of the Mississippi River, St. Louis is a large city where you will find an eclectic mix of natural and cultural attractions. A major attraction is the 30-foot Gateway Arch, built in commemoration of the 1804 start of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. The monument is considered the city’s symbol. To enjoy spectacular views of St. Louis, you can hop on one of the traditional paddlewheel boats that regularly tour the river. Other major attractions are the St. Louis Cathedral, the Cardinals Hall of Fame, the Anheuser-Busch beer factory, and the Magic House. 

2. Shopping Opportunities in Branson

best places to visit in Missouri

Right in the heart of the Ozark Mountains, Branson is a picturesque city where travelers can spend many enjoyable days without running out of things to do. Besides the scenic views of the mountains and the rich nightlife, the city is also known for providing a rewarding shopping experience. The locally owned Speciality Shops in Branson MO are filled with handcrafted gifts and many unique products made by talented artisans. From original clothing items to sweet treats, you can easily find something to your taste. 

Branson countryside best places to visit in Missouri

3. Branson’s Great Outdoors

Branson is one of the most attractive places in Missouri to add to your travel itinerary. And besides being a haven for shopping enthusiasts, Branson is also the perfect place to experience the great outdoors. Surrounded by mountains, this lively city is a convenient starting point for hiking, fishing with trout lures for lakes, sailing, or surfing trips. If you love being active in your vacation, you’ll find many opportunities to do various outdoor sports in Branson or nearby. Expect dozens of hiking trails, serene lakes, and spectacular views. 

best places to visit in Missouri

4. The Lake of the Ozarks

Located in the Ozark Mountains in central Missouri, The Lake of the Ozarks is a premier travel destination in the Midwest. The Lake of the Ozarks looks like a sleeping dragon due to its shape dominated by numerous slow curves, which is why it is known locally as the ‘Magic Dragon’. The area offers plenty of opportunities to spend quality time outdoors, boating, fishing, golfing, hiking, and doing various other water sports. You can find a wide variety of lodging, parks, restaurants, shopping areas, and anything you need for an energizing vacation in a picturesque location. 

5. The Worlds of Fun Amusement Park in Kansas City

World of Fun best places to visit in Missouri

Kansas City is an excellent reason to add Missouri to your travel bucket list. The state’s largest city is known for its thriving cultural and creative arts scene, important historical sights, a rich craft brewing culture, and not only. But the main attraction that brings many travelers of all ages to Kansas City is Worlds of Fun, the largest amusement park complex in the Midwest. It has 235 acres and features dozens of thrilling rides and coasters. 

American Jazz Museum Missouri

6. American Jazz Museum in Kansas City

Jazz is one of the most complex and influential components of American culture. Few other types of music have the same distinctive power to seduce people of all ages, nationalities, or backgrounds. The American Jazz Museum in Kansas City is a tribute to the incantatory energy of jazz and presents its role in the nation’s history through interactive and sensory exhibits and films. Located in the Historic 18th & Vine Jazz District, saxophonist Charlie Parker’s neighborhood, the museum is considered the crowning jewel of Missouri. If you travel to Kansas City, a visit to the American Jazz Museum should be at the top of your must-see list. 

Rocks Bridge best places to visit in Missouri

7. The Historic Rocks Bridge

For decades, travelers driving Route 66 crossed the Mississippi River on the historic Chain of Rocks Bridge, a colorful mile-long bridge standing 60 feet above the rapid waters of the Mississippi. Part of the history of Route 66, the Chain of Rocks Bridge is a significant landmark that you shouldn’t miss if you find yourself near St. Louis. The architecture is unique: the bridge has a 22-degree bend in the middle that gives it a quirky shape. You can walk or cycle over the river, but cars are no longer allowed to cross over. 

Mark Twain National Forest

8. The beauty of the Mark Twain National Forest

Mark Twain is one of the most famous literary names in American history, born and raised in Missouri. His entire work was inspired by the river life in Missouri, with the Mississippi River as a constant background for the most humorous and original adventures. As the home of the famous writer, Missouri celebrates his popularity with many monuments and landmarks.

The Mark Twain National Forest is one of Missouri’s top attractions, offering plenty of opportunities for adventure and recreation. Hiking, mountain biking, horseback, riding, canoeing, and kayaking are only of few examples of activities that will make you feel as adventurous as Twain’s beloved characters. 

Elephant Rocks State Park Missouri

9. Wonders of Elephant Rocks State Park

Located in the Saint Francois Mountains in Missouri, Elephant Rocks State Park is a geologic reserve famous for a unique outcropping of granite boulders that looks like a herd of elephants. The rocks have been standing there for 1.5 billion years, so geology enthusiasts will have a lot of fun exploring the area. Visitors will find many hiking trails, and rock climbing opportunities, but also areas for picnics and relaxation. 

Booking a trip to Missouri is a great way to discover many unique attractions that are an essential part of American culture and heritage. Use our list as inspiration for a memorable trip. 

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