Missouri Travel | Exploring the Midwest Episode 10

Last Updated on May 4, 2021 by Jody Halsted

Jody speaks with Stephen Foutes, the Director of the Missouri Division of Tourism.

Missouri is interesting in that the 2 largest cities are located mid-state, on opposite sites, directly opposite each other. And, as a state that is ‘taller than it is wide’ Missouri seems to have a lot of very rural area.

Missouri Misconceptions

Missouri is more than ‘fly over’ country! From the beautiful Ozark mountains in the southern part of the state, to the vibrant cities, and charming small towns – you’ll find a lot to enjoy about the Show Me State!

Missouri Travel Tips

Explore the cities

Kansas City and St. Louis book-end the state on I-70, Springfield is the largest metro area in the southwest corner, Columbia is in the middle of the state, and Jefferson City is the state capital.

Gateway Arch and riverboat, St. Louis, Missouri
Gateway Arch and riverboat

Discover Missouri’s small towns

Hermann is a charming town with german heritage, set in Missouri’s wine region.

Hannibal is the home of Mark Twain. On the Mississippi River there are plenty of places to explore.

St. Genevieve, which is home to Missouri’s oldest European settlement; that has a lot of French heritage and cultural opportunities there.

Hit the Trail

Highway 36, across the northern part of the state is the “Way of American Genius” because people like Mark Twain, Walt Disney, JC Penny have ties to different communities along there. The home of sliced bread is in Chillicothe.

Devil's Elbow, Route 66, Missouri
Devil’s Elbow

Route 66 crosses Missouri from St. Louis on the eastern edge where it enters the state, and then it kind of exits in Southwestern, Missouri down by the Joplin area. There’s a lot to see and do along the way- Merrimack caverns near Stanton, and communities like Rolla and Saint Robert and Fort Leonardwood. And Springfield of course.

Katy Trail State Park is really a great outdoors trail for people to enjoy whether they enjoy walking, running, jogging, or if they’re cyclists. It is the country’s longest rails to trails project at about 240 miles.

Katy Trail State Park, Missouri
Katy Trail State Park

Missouri State Parks

Missouri State Parks have more than 1,000 miles of hiking trails. Missouri also has mountain biking trails, and off-road vehicle trails.

Missouri Waterways

From the Mississippi River at the east and the Missouri River at the west, and plenty of rivers and lakes in between, you’ll find plenty of watersport in Missouri.

Exploring the Ozarks

beauty of the Ozarks near Branson Missouri
beauty of the Ozarks near Branson

The southern half of the state is part of the Ozarks.

From the massive Lake of the Ozarks to showy Branson – there is a lot to discover in the Ozark Mountains.

Fishing, boating, golf, hiking, and, of course, Branson entertainment.

Missouri Food

KC BBQ is something people are sure to seek out when visiting the state.  St. Louis has also become known for its barbecue.  Really, you’ll find great barbeque all around the state.

Gettin' Basted BBQ in Branson Missouri
Gettin’ Basted BBQ in Branson

130 wineries – and quite a few wine trails.

You’ll also find craft breweries and distilleries.

Missouri History

Louis and Clark expedition to explore the Western half of the United States began in the St Louis area. The Gateway Arch is a nod to that expedition and the country’s westward westward expansion.

The 18th and Vine district in Kansas City is home to the American jazz museum and the Negro leagues baseball museum.

The 1904 world’s fair was held in St. Louis.

There’s so many museums across Missouri that are dedicated to people like Mark Twain, Walt Disney, Winston Churchill, the Pony Express, George Washington Carver.

Alley Spring and Grist Mill, Eminence, Missouri
Alley Spring and Grist Mill

You will also find Civil War battlefields, covered bridges, and old mills.

If you’re into history, Missouri is going to have something for you.

3 Missouri Events for 2021

Missouri Bicentennial

Reopening of Harry S Truman Presidential Library & Museum – this was the first Presidential Museum and Library in the country

St. Genevieve National Historical Park – recently designated as a National Historical Park

Plan your Missouri Vacation

Browse the Missouri Tourism website at VisitMO.com. Be sure to view the digital tourism guide or order a print copy!

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