There's More to Missouri: 11 Special Stops in The Show-Me State

Missouri is pronounced as both "Missouree" and "Missouruh," and is known as "The Show Me State." For visitors, this might mean nothing, but what will matter is all the things to do and see here. Folks can dine on award-winning barbecue and ride through a deep cave, all in one day. There are breathtaking lakes and waterfalls, as well as quirky museums dedicated (independently) to Precious Moments dolls and the mentally insane. Whatever you desire from a vacation, you can find it here. (All photos are courtesy of the Missouri Division of Tourism).
By: Jennifer Frazier
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Photo By: Luci Branyan

Photo By: Luci Branyan

Photo By: Luci Branyan

Photo By: Evan Lampe

Over the Rainbow in St. Louis

If your trivia-buff pal asks what the tallest man-made monument in the Western Hemisphere is and you answer the St. Louis Gateway Arch, you’re correct. No other attraction in the state is as recognizable as this arch that hits a whopping 630-feet high. If you’re brave, take a ride to the top for the best view of the city.

Absolutely Precious Find in Carthage

If dolls, tiny figurines and clowns cause you to run and hide under the covers, then this attraction isn’t for you. Located in the scenic Ozarks, the Precious Moments Park and Chapel, the brainchild of founder and creator Samuel J. Butcher, houses the animated, child-like collectible figurines, as well as a fresco and biblical-mural covered chapel. Take a tour, see live musical acts and shop the mini-mall of Precious Moments treasures.

Pass the Cue in Kansas City

Heated debates ensue when it comes to naming the best barbecue restaurants in the South. Open since 1908, Kansas City’s Arthur Bryant's Barbecue is usually one of the places that really gets BBQ fans heated. This legendary spot, known for its smoked meats piled high on butcher paper and topped with white bread, offers a no-frills atmosphere and unforgettable fare.

Play Ball! in Kansas City

Just because you aren’t well known, doesn’t mean you aren’t deserving. Dedicated to some of baseball’s best unknown players, Kansas City’s Negro Leagues Baseball Museum preserves the history of Negro League baseball. Part of the historic 18th & Vine district, this attraction also includes the American Jazz Museum.

An Underground Show in Springfield

If walking through a deep, dark cave freaks you out, then why not ride though one? Springfield’s Fantastic Caverns is America’s only ride-through cave. Take the formation-filled attraction’s 55-minute guided tour, which follows an underground riverbed that maintains a cool 60 degrees year-round.

The Craziest Museum Ever in St. Joseph

Don’t wear horizontal stripes when visiting this oh-so-unusual St. Joseph attraction. That’s because this place encompasses two sites: the Glore Psychiatric Museum and a minimum-security prison (the one behind barbed wires). The museum is a unique blend of mesmerizing and horrifying, where you’ll find exhibits highlighting artwork, treatment equipment and patient stories.

In Memory in Bloomfield

A cemetery isn’t usually the place that pops to mind when thinking of vacation sightseeing. This powerful memorial cemetery, the Stoddard County Confederate Memorial, features more than 150 military markers memorializing soldiers and citizens who died in Stoddard County during the Civil War. Each monument displays a cause of death and tailored inscription, making this a unique place to pay tribute.

Spring Forward in Alton

As the second largest spring in the Ozarks, Greer Spring, located in the Mark Twain National Forest, was designated a National Natural Landmark in 1980. Averaging a flow of 222 million gallons per day, this work of Mother Nature awes nature lovers, as well as city dwellers, for its magical beauty.

Picture-Perfect Museum in Kansas City

Shuttlecock isn’t a word typically used in everyday vocabulary, but it’s one of the reasons to visit this museum, the Nelson Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City. An outdoor exhibit, the Shuttlecocks Installation, is an impressive sight, but don’t think that’s all. Known for its neoclassical architecture and extensive collection of Asian art, this museum impresses both inside and out.

A Rockin’ State Park in Belleview

This is one of Missouri’s best-kept natural secrets. Picture in your mind a string of fiery pink granite boulders standing end to end, resembling a train of circus elephants. That image is what you’ll find at the appropriately named Elephant Rocks State Park. Make sure to read the names of the 19th-century miners who carved their names into rocks when working here.

Dive in the Ozarks at Lake Ozark

Thanks to its serpentine shape, this great reservoir has earned the nickname "The Magic Dragon." As Missouri’s largest lake destination, Lake of the Ozarks offers 1,150 miles of shoreline and everything from camping and golfing to fishing and boating. Nature lovers who also enjoy a good time will love the lake’s party cove, located on Anderson Hollow Cove.