Nicknamed the Show Me State, Missouri is the traditional bridge between the Midwest and the western states. With more forests and mountains than the other Great Plains states, plus some of the largest cities in the area, a trip to Missouri is a great way to reconnect with the essence of America. The boyhood home of Mark Twain and the state where the "wild wild west" began, Missouri has woven an impressive place in American history and lore.
Some of the state's most popular cities and attractions include:
- Kansas City: This appealing destination is home to more fountains than any city except Rome and has a serious addiction to BBQ. Kansas City is expansive and welcoming, with lots of green spaces and world-class attractions, entertainment, restaurants and nightlife.
- St. Louis: While in St. Louis stop by Budweiser for a brewery tour and see how this famous beer company produces its delicious and defining beers. For a taste of Midwestern Academia at its finest, take a tour of Washington University in St. Louis. The beautiful campus is sure to impress.
- Branson: Just across the Arkansas border, Branson has an enticing mix of attractions for Missouri vacationers. With museums dedicated to everything from the Titanic and the dinosaurs to butterflies and wax celebrities, historic and heavily visited Branson has a smorgasbord of activities and hidden gems to discover.
- Ozark Mountains: Here, the rolling green hills are beckoning for an afternoon stroll and picture-perfect scenery waits around every corner. A visit to the Ozarks is a perfect idea for those seeking romantic getaways in Missouri.
- Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail: The famous route followed by western pioneers Lewis and Clark runs through the heart of Missouri, and its unspoiled natural wonders offer a calming and tranquil respite from the city. If you want to go camping in Missouri, you'll also find state and national parks throughout the area.
Every summer, St. Louis hosts a 4th of July celebration that ranks among the nation's largest and liveliest. If you're in Missouri during the summer, it's a must-do. Summer is also the perfect time to take advantage of the many family water parks in Missouri.
As an alternative to staying in a hotel, a vacation rental such as a cabin or condo is convenient and affordable. Cabins are perfect if you're looking to explore the many scenic Missouri parks, and condos offer more space and privacy to guests staying in the city.
St. Louis is called the "gateway to the West" for good reason. If you want to continue your westward journey, you can head into neighboring Kansas, Oklahoma or Nebraska for more adventures in Americana.
As featured in USA TODAY and recommended by Travel + Leisure in its annual Villa Guide:
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