Missouri offers a wide range of cultural, historic, and wilderness adventures to enjoy. Take a road trip through the US state to see stone ruins resembling a medieval castle, war memorials, national presidential museums, and even the birthplace of a famous author. 

    Our guide to Missouri's most famous attractions and activities suits just about everyone, from couples celebrating their anniversary to single travellers backpacking through the country.

    What are the best things to do in Missouri?

    1

    Ha Ha Tonka Castle Ruins

    Explore a real castle in the States

    • History

    The Ha Ha Tonka Castle Ruins are situated on a bluff in Camdenton's Ha Ha Tonka State Park. Built at the turn of the 20th century, the ruins were once the mansion of successful businessman Robert McClure Snyder. Today, they're a draw because they're some of the closest things you'll find to a still-standing, real castle in the USA. 

    The mansion burned to the ground in 1942, the result of a spark from a fireplace, but the stone walls and foundation still stand. It's one of the most interesting and fun photo ops in Missouri – best of all, you can explore the area for free.

    Location: Natural Bridge Rd, Camdenton, MO 65020, USA

    Open: Daily from 7 am to 8.30 pm

    Phone: +1 573-346-2986

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    2

    Branson

    Enjoy Missouri's most prominent nightlife

    Branson is famed for its 76 Country Boulevard, which is completely lined with theatres. Here, you can enjoy a wide range of nightlife entertainment, including live music and performances. 

    In many ways, the boulevard is like Missouri's version of the Las Vegas Strip, only with attractions that are friendly for the whole family, such as the Marvel Cave, and Dolly Parton's Dixie Stampede Dinner Attraction. There's even a full amusement park with rides, games, food, and fun for kids and grown-ups alike.

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    photo by Billy Hathorn (CC BY-SA 4.0) modified

    3

    Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

    Peruse artworks from all over the world

    The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art is famous for its vast collection of art by notable artists from all over the world. You'll find sculpture, painting, ink drawings, and various forms of art and craft. Of particular interest is the museum's vast and important collection of Asian art. 

    The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art has just about everything art-related, including traditional sketches and photographs, as well as a gigantic sculpture of a badminton shuttlecock. The museum hosts summer camps, lectures, workshops, and fun events for kids of all ages. 

    Location: 4525 Oak St, Kansas City, MO 64111, USA

    Phone: +1 816-751-1278

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    4

    Silver Dollar City

    Make the whole family happy with a trip to this giant theme park

    Silver Dollar City is a massive theme park that features a wealth of rides and attractions that are sure to entertain your whole family. You can hit the Mystic River Falls rapids attraction or take the American Plunge. Stand on the Electro Spin, experience the Firefall free-fall ride, and get on the Grand Exposition Coaster.

    You'll also find a variety of traditional carnival games, along with food vendors selling candy floss, funnel cake, and fries. Silver Dollar City is about 8.5 miles west of Branson.

    Location: 399 Silver Dollar City Pkwy, Branson, MO 65616, USA

    Open: Hours vary by season

    Phone: +1 800-888-7277

    Map

    photo by Jeremy Thompson (CC BY 2.0) modified

    5

    Forest Park

    Lose yourself in serene nature

    Forest Park is the ideal place to get away for a serene and relaxing experience in Missouri. The public park covers over 1,300 acres of land and hosted many historic and important events over the years. In fact, in 1904, it was the home of both the Summer Olympics and the Louisiana Purchase Exposition. 

    Here, you can walk tree-shaded paths, spend time next to a manmade lake with fountains, have a picnic with the family, or just get away from it all. Forest Park is known as one of the great treasures of St. Louis and draws thousands of visitors every year.

    Location: 5595 Grand Dr, St. Louis, MO 63112, USA

    Open: Daily from 6 am to 10 pm

    Phone: +1 314-367-7275

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    6

    Wilson's Creek National Battlefield

    Visit the site of an important Civil War battle

    • History

    Wilson's Creek National Battlefield is an important and vital historic site that preserves the site of the Civil War Battle of Wilson's Creek. The battle took place on August 10, 1861, and marked the first major battle of the Civil War west of the Mississippi. 

    You can stroll through the field where the battle took place, see where Nathaniel Lyon became the first Union general to die in the war, and explore a museum that contains documents, artefacts, and information about the battle and its importance in the conflict.

    Location: 6424 W Farm Rd 182, Republic, MO 65738, USA

    Open: Daily from 7 am to 9 pm

    Phone: +1 417-732-2662

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    7

    Mark Twain Boyhood Home and Museum

    Visit the childhood home of Mark Twain

    The Mark Twain Boyhood Home and Museum is the childhood home of Samuel Langhorne Clemens, more famously known as Mark Twain, who lived here from 1844 to 1853. Tucked away in Hannibal, the house may have inspired scenes from the tales of Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn, right along the banks of the Mississippi River. 

    It was here that boyhood fantasies turned into some of the most classic literary works in history. The building looks pretty much the same as it was in the 19th century, with furnishings and artefacts dedicated to the life and works of Twain. It’s a fun and interesting place to explore for book fans and kids. 

    Location: 120 N Main St, Hannibal, MO 63401, USA

    Open: Daily from 10 am to 5 pm

    Phone: +1 573-221-9010

    Map

    photo by Ched (CC BY-SA 4.0) modified

    8

    Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum

    Learn all about the USA's 33rd president

    • History

    The Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum in Missouri celebrates the life and legacy of the 33rd US president. The site also serves as the final resting place of Truman and his family. 

    You can join a guided tour and view Truman's papers, documents, and other artefacts related to his presidency and life. The museum has interactive exhibits about significant events that ended WWII, which brought the country into a new era with the Truman Doctrine.

    Location: 500 W US Hwy 24, Independence, MO 64050, USA

    Phone: +1 816-268-8200

    Map

    photo by Michael Barera (CC BY-SA 4.0) modified

    9

    Lake of the Ozarks

    Enjoy outdoor fun on the shore and in the water

    • Adventure

    The Lake of the Ozarks is a manmade lake and reservoir created by a dam in the Osage River. One of the most popular destinations in Missouri, its 1,100-plus miles of shoreline offers serene lakeside walks in lush natural surroundings, as well as the opportunity to enjoy a wealth of recreational activities. 

    The Lake of the Ozarks is great for boating, fishing, swimming, and thrilling watersports. The surrounding land is known as an outstanding hiking and backpacking spot, especially to the nearby Bridal Cave, a natural cave system that's popular for weddings due to its picturesque formations.

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    10

    National WWI Museum and Memorial

    Learn all about the Great War

    • History

    The National WWI Museum in Kansas City originally opened in 1926 as the Liberty Memorial Museum. By 2004, it was designated by the US Congress as the official museum dedicated to the Great War. A visit here allows you to experience history 100 years gone with hundreds of exhibits, artefacts, and documents related to the drama, horror, and importance of WWI and the effect it's had on world history. 

    The museum's permanent exhibition, The World War, 1914-1919, is in the Main Gallery. Before entering the space, you get to cross a glass bridge that's suspended over a field of 9,000 red poppies representing those lost in battle. 

    Location: 2 Memorial Dr, Kansas City, MO 64108, USA

    Open: Daily from 10 am to 5 pm

    Phone: +1 816-888-8100

    Map

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