Missouri Travel Guide – Helene in the middle
The rolling, lush hills of the Ozark Mountains, delicious barbecue and a great music scene, all in Missouri. This often overlooked state has a lot to offer. From the larger cities of St Louis and Kansas City to the woods and outdoor experiences near Springfield, and Branson’s “Vegas”-style family fun, there’s more to Missouri than many people think!
This Missouri travel guide will give you all the Missouri tips you need to make the most of your trip. From where to go, what to see, and even where to eat, this Missouri guide has you covered. So whether you’re looking for a family-friendly vacation or a weekend getaway with friends, Missouri is the perfect destination.
Top places to visit in Missouri
Gateway Arch National Park – The iconic arch is the most recognizable symbol of St Louis. At 630 feet tall, it’s the tallest monument in the United States! You can go up to the archway and enjoy the beautiful view of the city.
Missouri Botanical Garden As one of the top botanical gardens in America, the Missouri Botanical Garden is a must-see for any plant lover.
City Museum – A unique and interactive museum, perfect for kids and adults alike, the City Museum is a must-visit in St Louis.
Forest Park – A large urban park that is ideal for a day of picnics, hiking or just relaxing in nature.
Market Street – A historic street in downtown St Louis, home to many shops and restaurants.
National Blues Music Museum – Explore the history of the Blues and how it influenced so many forms of music today. Missouri is home to many musicians including Chuck Berry, Sara Evans, Josephine Baker, etc. It’s interesting to see where the music begins.
Going to a Cardinals . Game – Missouri is home to the St Louis Cardinals, one of the most iconic baseball teams. If you are a fan, or even if you are not, joining a game is a great experience.
Where to eat in St Louis: Pappy’s or Sugarfire for a barbecue. If you’re short on time, I highly recommend the trolley tour to St. Louis!
National World War I Memorial and Museum – Learn about the Great War at this exciting museum.
Truman . Presidential Library and Museum – Located near Kansas City in Independence, this museum is very informative. Learn about the life and times of one of Missouri’s most famous residents, President Harry Truman. He basically didn’t know when Roosevelt was seeking a historic 4th term in the middle of World War II. When he died 82 days after serving a fourth term, Truman was in charge. From making big decisions regarding war, atomic bombs, racism, Korean war and more. We spent 3 hours here and could have spent more!
National Jazz Museum – Missouri is known for jazz, and this museum is a great place to learn about the history and culture of jazz.
Arrowhead Stadium – Home of the Kansas City Sheriffs, Arrowhead Stadium is a great place to watch a football game.
union station – A beautiful historic train station that is now home to shops, restaurants and hotels.
Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art – Known for its collection of encyclopedic art from around the world.
Kansas City Library – A beautiful library with unique architecture.
Where to eat in Kansas City: Arthur Bryant’s for traditional grill, Q39 for modern grill. Louisburg Cider Mill is a great place to enjoy hot cider donuts (and a camping spot if you have an RV), and the Green Lady Lounge for live jazz and cocktails.
City Silver Dollar – A family-friendly theme park with rides, shows, and more. It was very fun! I surprised myself by doing all the “big” roller coasters. Super clean park, lots of delicious food, easy travel. I recommend downloading their app while you are at the park.
Live show – You can’t go to Branson without watching some shows! We used “Save on Branson” to make a reservation. I recommend watching Reza – an entertaining magic show by WILDLY or if you’re interested in music, The Haygoods. There’s also a lot of music at Silver Dollar City.
Titanic Museum Missouri is home to the world’s largest collection of Titanic artifacts. This museum is very well done and informative. If you’re interested in history or the Titanic, this is a must-visit. Tickets to the Titanic museum here!
Dogwood Canyon Nature Park – Beautiful nature park with hiking trails, trams and more. We love exploring here by bike! It’s a 7 mile hike, so I recommend bringing or renting a bike.
Da Table Lake – A popular spot for fishing, boating and swimming. This is a must-see if you want to be active outdoors.
There’s plenty of entertainment in Branson. From golf, horseback riding, and more. Other popular attractions are WonderWorks, Beyond the Lens, and Dolly Parton’s Stampede Dinner. I recommend skipping the overly cheesy show “Grand Jubilee”.
Where to eat in Branson: Gettin’ Basted for BBQ, Creams and Cakes or Mel’s Hard Luck Diner for burgers and fries.
Aquarium World of Wonders – This museum is amazingly well done. Johnny Morris, founder of Bass Pro Shops started the museum and aquarium and it helps promote conservation and learning about nature and animals.
Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield – Now a beautiful and peaceful place to visit, Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield was the site of one of the first major battles of the Civil War west of the Mississippi River.
Amazing cave – Missouri is home to many caves, and Fantastic Caverns is one of the most amazing. Visit this massive cave system and learn about its history
✦✦ Walt Disney Homeland Museum
I didn’t expect to like this museum as much as I did! Walt Disney, his real name, grew up in the town of Marceline, Missouri, which he calls “paradise” and is the inspiration for many of his works. In fact, Walt Disneyland’s “Main Street” comes from Marceline. With success, he gave back a lot to his homeland and its people.
✦✦ Mark Twain’s House
Chances are you’ve read a book by Mark Twain. And for good reason, they are classics! Going back to his hometown is interesting to see how his books have come to life and come to life. The town of Hannibal is right on the Mississippi River and you can see where he got his inspiration for his books. From washing white fences, to characters based on real people in his life.
✦✦ Jesse James Home
Known to many as “The American Robinhood,” the notorious outlaw has a tumultuous past and history. His career as an outlaw lasted from 1866 to 1882. He and his gang robbed dozens of banks, trains, and more. He was never arrested but was shot by “coward” Robert Ford, a newer member of the gang, when he was turned away. You not only learn about Jesse, but also about his family and what made him an outlaw.
As the first state capital of Missouri and home to the Lewis and Clark expedition, St. Charles is known for its rich history and beautiful brick boulevards and architecture. With quaint Main Street full of shops and restaurants, St. Charles is the perfect place to stop and explore.
= most important to visit
Our 7-day Missouri itinerary
Day 1: Branson, Magic Show Reza
Day 2: Dogwood Gorge, Titanic Museum, Exhibition in Branson
Day 3: Springfield, Wilson’s Creek, World of Wonders
Day 4: Silver Dollar City in Branson
Day 5: St. Charles & St Louis (we only spent a shorter time in St. Louis than before. I recommend 2-3 days), Mark Twain Home Town
Day 6: Walt Disney Home Town, Jesse James Home Town, Kansas City
Day 7: Kansas City, Truman Library, Jazz Museum, World War I Museum – this could easily be broken in more than a day, we were short on time!
Missouri is a great state for a vacation because there’s something for everyone. Whether you’re looking to explore history, enjoy the outdoors, or just have fun, Missouri is the perfect place.