A vacation to Missouri offers visitors the chance to explore the United States’ tallest national monument, the Gateway Arch; to sample some of the best food (particularly barbecue) in the country; to walk in the footsteps of world-famous figures, including Mark Twain and Walt Disney; to see countless museums and sites where history was made; to be entertained by some of the best performers in the world; and to experience unique and beautiful outdoor settings found nowhere else.
Don't leave without tasting...
Missouri is best known for its barbecue, and one of the premier locations to chow down is Arthur Bryant’s Barbecue, near downtown Kansas City.
Where locals go to relax
Missourians love floating or canoeing down the crystal-clear rivers or streams on ‘float trips’. There are dozens to consider, but a good place to start is the Ozark National Scenic Riverways, which includes the Current and Jacks Fork rivers.
A spectacular view of the Missouri River Valley perfectly complements a bottle of wine from OakGlenn Vineyards and Winery in Hermann. The landscape stretches for miles, offering a relaxing look at nature’s beauty and a reminder why this region of Missouri struck a chord with its German ancestors.
Top photo opportunities
- Take a tram ride to the top of the 630-foot Gateway Arch in St. Louis
- World’s Largest Rocking Chair, Cuba
- The red paint against the beautiful natural surroundings is striking at Alley Mill in Eminence
- Be sure to see the Thomas Hart Benton mural on the third floor of the Missouri Capitol in Jefferson City.
National World War I Museum at Liberty Memorial, Kansas City: it’s the only American museum dedicated solely to preserving the history of World War I.
If you want to fit in...
Don’t tell anyone you’re from Kansas.
Don't overlook this...
The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City offers an important history lesson about baseball before the Major Leagues were integrated, and showcases the rise and decline of the Negro Leagues. Learn about legendary baseball talents, including Satchel Paige, Buck O’Neal, Cool Papa Bell and Josh Gibson.
Famous people from our state
- Writer Mark Twain’s childhood home town, Hannibal, features the Mark Twain Boyhood Home and Museum, as well as homes connected to people depicted in his famous works
- The Harry S. Truman Library and Museum in Independence offers theatres, personal possessions, gifts from heads of states, dozens of interactive and hands-on exhibits, a replica of President Truman’s Oval Office and Truman’s grave
- In St. Joseph, Jesse James met his end at the hands of fellow gang member Robert Ford. A wall inside the Jesse James Home has a bullet hole from the fatal shot; among the displays are items from a 1995 exhumation of James’ body
- The Walt Disney Hometown Museum, in Marceline, features more than 3,000 pieces of rare memorabilia
- Also from Missouri: scientist and educator George Washington Carver; Scott Joplin, the King of Ragtime; artist Thomas Hart Benton.
History happened here
- The Old Courthouse in St. Louis was the site of the Dred Scott Freedom Trials, said to have hastened the start of the American Civil War
- The Battle of Wilson’s Creek in 1861 was the second major battle of the Civil War. More than 2,500 Union and Confederate soldiers were killed, wounded or went missing during the five hours of intense fighting
- From the Pikes Peak Stables in St. Joseph (now home to the Pony Express Museum), the first Pony Express rider began his journey—carrying mail and news from the eastern U.S.—towards California on April 3, 1860.
The longest rails-to-trails conversion in the country is at Katy Trail State Park, where a former railway line offers more than 225 miles of flat trail for running, walking, biking and hiking. Along the route are scenic views of the Missouri River and river valley.