Although it is often skipped by visitors to the US, Missouri is very much a hidden gem just waiting to be discovered. While it boasts divine landscapes, scenery and nature, the ‘Show-Me State’ also has sophisticated cities and simple country towns to check out with all kinds of exciting outdoor activities on offer.
The most populated state in the Plains, Missouri is part of the Midwest with some Southern cultural influences also on show. Named after the rushing river that runs through it, ‘The Gateway to the West’ is remarkably bordered by eight states with Iowa, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska lying all around it.
While the Mississippi River defines its eastern boundary, the Missouri River almost bisects the state and flows from west to east, connecting its two largest metros of Kansas City and St. Louis. To the north are wide-open plains, while its scenic southern realms are home to not only the rolling Ozark Mountains and massive Mark Twain National Forest, but the lovely Lake of the Ozarks too. At these picturesque spots you can immerse yourself in nature and hike, bike and horseback ride around vast valleys, swim and sail about lakes or kick back and relax on pretty beaches or at cozy campsites.
Although idyllic spots like the Ozark National Scenic Riverways just beg to be explored, no visit to Missouri can be complete without checking out at least some of its cities and towns. Of these, the large and lively St. Louis is the most popular as it boasts the iconic Gateway Arch and numerous historic sights with pretty parks, fantastic restaurants and interesting neighborhoods also featuring.
The other main place people head is Kansas City which offers up great BBQ and Blues music with Springfield, the ‘Birthplace of Route 66’, and Hannibal – the boyhood home of Mark Twain – also attracting lots of visitors.