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20 Most Beautiful Places To Visit In Missouri


Famous for providing the inspiration and backdrop for the legendary ‘Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, ‘ the state is located in the Midwestern United States.

Bordering Iowa, Illinois, Kentucky, Arkansas, Kansas, and Nebraska, it’s a laid-back place filled with wide-open spaces, a famous sprawling mountain range, extensive plains, meandering rivers, and gorgeous hidden gems. Here are my favorite spots I’d like to share…

1. Ozark Mountains and Lake of The Ozarks Ozark Mountains Missouri

Lake of The Ozarks Missouri

Made famous by a popular Netflix series and a huge sprawling expanse covering Missouri, Arkansas, Oklahoma and the far southeastern corner of Kansas, in my opinion this is a must-see (and stay!).

The area comprises three separate areas: Boston, Springfield, and Salem Plateaus, and it is heavily forested. 

It’s a tranquil place and a family vacation favorite. There are many great things to do here, including hiking, golfing, boating, camping, and exploring the many quirky little gems dotted around the area.

I highly recommend not missing the Lake of the Ozarks, a reservoir created by impounding the Osage River and one of Missouri’s premier vacation destinations! 

  • Location: southern part of the state 
  • Location Map
  • Best time to visit: summer

My favorite highlights…

  • Photographing the magnificent rock formations at the Bridal Cave, known as one of the most scenic caverns in America.
  • Visiting the ruins of the 20th-century castle in Ha Ha Tonka State Park where I saw spectacular views of the lake.
  • Tasting the delicious flavors of handmade dipped chocolate, fudge and saltwater taffy at Grandma’s Candy Kitchen.

2. Blue Spring Blue Spring - places to visit in Missouri

Located in Eminence Township, the spring is stunning with its clear turquoise water! It has been around for over four decades, and I thought it was a wonderful natural attraction.

Surrounding the spring are trails that you can hike for roughly three miles; they end right where the spring is. Both the trail and the spring are very easy on the eye.

Even if all you want to do is visit the spring and take photographs (sadly, you can’t swim here to preserve its beauty), it’s still worth a trip to Eminence Township.

  • Location: Near Eminence, in the Ozark National Scenic Riverways
  • Location Map
  • Best time to visit: May to September

My highlights…

  • Snapping an Insta-worthy shot of the vibrant blue water.
  • Admiring the scenery along the hiking trail to get to the Blue Spring and going for a picnic along the way.

3. Wah’Kon-Tah Prairie Wah'Kon-Tah Prairie Missouri

This is a gorgeous and unspoiled spot to explore in Missouri. It’s a huge 3,350-acre area, and a large part of it is a conservation area owned by The Nature Conservancy of Missouri.

The trust aims to restore native grasslands and protect the prairie ecosystem that once covered a much larger part of Missouri.

It’s a stunning and tranquil spot dotted with wildflowers such as purple coneflowers , rare plants, and wildlife such as deer and coyotes, and is well worth exploring with your camera, especially during the fall when the leaves change.

  • Address: Wah’Kon-Tah Prairie Conservation Area State Highway 82 El Dorado Springs, MO 64744
  • Location Map
  • Best time to visit: late spring to fall.

My personal highlights…

  • Experiencing the tranquillity of the area and admiring the beautiful wildflowers.
  • Going for a walk through the unspoiled area before catching a breathtaking sunset.

4. Big Cedar Lodge Big Cedar Lodge

Big Cedar Lodge is located in Ridgedale on Table Rock Lake. It is a beautiful vacation resort that many people visit yearly. It sits in the heart of the Ozarks and offers an incredible view regardless of where you are.

With mountains in the background and plenty of trees to enjoy, you will love Big Cedar Lodge, regardless of which season you choose to visit.

Indeed, from the bright orange and red leaves in the Fall to the warm temperatures of the summer, I promise you’ll fall in love with this place just like I did! 

  • Address: 190 Top of the Rock Road, Ridgedale, MO 65739
  • Location Map
  • Best time to visit: late spring to early fall

My highlights…

  • Taking the 2.5-mile golf cart tour and discovering the rock formations and waterfalls surrounding the Top of the Rock Lost Canyon.
  • Playing a round of golf at the award-winning course designed by famous players.
  • Staying overnight at a super-cute glamping tent at Camp Long Creek. 

5. Dogwood Canyon Dogwood Canyon

With water, trees, and lots of stuff to do, this facility in Lampe truly offers something for everyone. You can go riding, bike riding, or even take a Segway tour for unique fun!

There’s a restaurant and a great view of some fantastic waterfalls, so if you’re looking for a fun and stunning place, I would suggest this one! 

Dogwood Canyon is much-loved but not well-known to tourists outside the state, so the facility is working hard to make this happen.

  • Address: 190 Top of the Rock Road, Ridgedale, MO 65739
  • Location Map
  • Best time to visit: spring to early fall

My favorite highlights…

  • Hiring a bike and cycling through the designated paths to view the picturesque scenery.
  • Discovering nature on a wildlife tour on an open-air tram (Segways tours were also available).
  • Going hiking on a trail to explore Dogwood Canyon. 

6. Elephant Rocks State ParkElephant Rocks State Park

Located in Belleview, Elephant Rocks State Park offers gorgeous views and many hiking trails for those who love hiking or jogging.

It also offers picnic tables for anyone wishing to relax and enjoy a nice lunch.

In my opinion, the highlight of the entire park is the set of rocks shaped like elephants in an old-fashioned circus line!

  • Address: 7406 Highway 21, Belleview, MO 63623
  • Location Map
  • Best time to visit: spring to early fall

My highlights…

  • Capturing the uniquely formed rocks for Instagram.
  • I hiked along the Braille Trail, which was an easy hike. I saw striking rocks and an old railroad engine house.
  • Walking to the lookout point which then took me down to a sheltered cove and a small swimming spot.

7. Missouri State Capitol and Governor’s Mansion, Jefferson City Missouri State Capitol

Governor's Mansion Missouri

These are both impressive historical attractions to add to your Missouri itinerary. Located in the capital of Missouri Jefferson City, the State Capitol Building was completed in 1918 and covers a sprawling three acres in the downtown area.

It’s a beautiful Neoclassical-style Dome building and is also home to The Missouri State Museum, where you can learn about the state’s history. Free guided tours are also offered year-round, and I suggest going on one if you can.

The Governor’s Mansion is another great historic attraction. Built in 1871, the three-story brick mansion is a fine example of Renaissance Revival Architecture. It offers tours that allow guests to step back in time and learn about the state’s history.

When in the city, I highly recommend visiting Jefferson City’s attractions, including the Carnahan Memorial Garden, Missouri State Penitentiary Museum, and the Missouri State Penitentiary.

  • Address: 201 W Capitol Ave, Jefferson City, MO 65101
  • Location Map
  • Best time to visit: 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m

My personal highlights…

  • Going on a historic tour inside the Governor’s Mansion was like stepping back in time!
  • Wandering through the city to admire the stunning architecture and well-known landmarks.
  • Exploring the many markets and boutiques around the area. 

8. Prairie State Park Prairie State Park - Missouri

Located at NW 150th Lane in Mindenmines, it is the state’s largest remaining tallgrass prairie. Its perfect combination of lush green grass that blooms most of the year and tons of gorgeous wildflowers during the summer months makes it a must-visit place.

Picture a beautiful field filled with lavender wildflowers and healthy green grass dotted with buffalo, birds, deer, and snakes, and you’ll understand what makes this state park so unique.

I’m a big fan of the natural beauty and colorful landscapes here!

  • Address: 128 NW 150th Lane, Mindenmines, MO 64769
  • Location Map
  • Best time to visit: spring to fall

My personal highlights…

  • Visiting the coast and enjoying a picnic on the beach.
  • Hiking along the Prairie Creek Redwoods Walk (this trail is excellent for all abilities).
  • Checking out the 50-foot-tall canyon covered with majestic primal ferns.

9. Gateway Arch, St. Louis St. Louis Missouri

This St. Louis icon promises not to disappoint, and it is one of the most recognizable spots in the state. If you are anywhere near St. Louis, I highly recommend exploring this iconic landmark.

I suggest visiting the museum and cruising the waters surrounding the Arch for an even better look.

I would also recommend visiting the Arch at nighttime to see how it lights up the sky and makes the entire area look stunning! 

  • Address: 11 N 4th St, St. Louis, MO 63102
  • Location Map
  • Best time to visit: all year round

My personal highlights…

  • Taking a ride in the historic Otis Traction Elevator.
  • Taking a riverboat cruise tour and admiring the city skyline.
  • Photographing the Instaworthy Bridge.

10. Ha Ha Tonka State Park  Ha Ha Tonka State Park Missouri

 Ha Ha Tonka State Missouri

This is a beautiful park with gorgeous protected scenery. It spreads across over 3,700 acres and is located on the Niangua arm of the Lake of the Ozarks.

It’s home to caves, lakes, sinkholes, a large natural bridge, towering bluffs, and Missouri’s twelfth-largest spring.

There are many excellent hiking trails (including some paved walkways) here, a special-use camping site, and flora and fauna such as prairie grasses, wildflowers and valley woodlands.

I would highly recommend visiting the ruins of the Ha Ha Tonka castle, built in 1905 by businessman Robert McClure Snyder.

Even though it was severely burned in a fire, it’s still a photogenic sight on a 250-foot bluff. The park offers cabins, a campsite, and an RV park for vacationers.

  • Address: 1491 State Road D, Camdenton, MO 65020
  • Location Map
  • Best time to visit: late spring to early fall

My highlights…

  • Visiting the naturally formed bridge over 100 feet tall was once the castle’s entrance.
  • Climbing up the 316 wooden steps from the spring head to the top of the bluff.
  • Kayaking and exploring the river trail.

11. Grand Falls Grand Falls Missouri

Grand Falls, located in Joplin, is one of Missouri’s many incredible waterfalls. It is the largest continuously flowing natural waterfall in the state.

In my opinion, it’s breathtaking, and while these incredible waterfalls surround you, you can enjoy a picnic on the shore or even dip in the cool water.

Most people in Missouri consider this the most beautiful waterfall in the state, and once you visit it just once, I’m sure you’ll understand what the fuss is about! 

My favorite highlights…

  • Going for a swim in the still pools located downstream of the falls (if you go don’t forget your water shoes).
  • Watching a dramatic and vibrant sunset go down over the west side of this location.
  • Embarking on a kayak journey in the calm water pools by the waterfall before heading downstream with the current. 

12. Jacob L Loose Park, Kansas CityLoose Park Kansas City

Kanas City is known for its fountains, great shopping, and jazz heritage. There are many awesome things to do in Kansas City, but I personally think one of the prettiest attractions is Jacob L Loose Park, a major tourist site and the third largest park in the city.

It is home to a lovely lake with a central fountain, a shelter house, Civil War markers, and recreational highlights such as tennis courts, a water park, picnic areas, and a Rose Garden.

It’s located at 51st Street and Wornall Road. Once you have explored it, I recommend visiting some of the other attractions in the city, including the beautiful Union Station, The Vine District, Arabia Steamboat Museum, and its many excellent Craft Beer Breweries.

My highlights…

  • Admiring the beautiful rose garden filled with nearly 3,000 flowers across 1.5 acres of land.
  • Checking out an exhibition at the Garden Center which also hosts a library.
  • Wandering along the trails throughout the park and discovering the wonderful greenery.

13. Clifty Creek Natural Bridge Clifty Creek Missouri

I love this place! This stunning natural bridge is 40 feet long and is lcoated at the end of the 2.5-mile Clifty Creek Natural Area Trail.

Offering breathtaking views and scenery, the bridge is something you’ll want to see when visiting this town that sits almost smack-dab in the middle of the state! Mother Nature provides us with some amazing natural phenomena, and I highly recommend not missing this one!

My favorite highlights…

  • Taking the scenic 2.5-mile trail that led me from the conservation area right to the bridge.
  • Photographing the striking stone bridge.

14. Cape GirardeauCape Girardeau, Missouri

 Cape Girardeau River View

This city, perched on the western bank of the Mississippi River, has been named one of the prettiest towns in the state. The city is located in Cape Girardeau and Scott County in the state of Missouri in the U.S., with over 250 bars of history.

I suggest heading for the historic Old Town for the most charming part. You’ll also find a great collection of restaurants, boutique shops, and historic landmarks here.

Other awesome things to do in Cape Girardeau include the Trail of Tears National Historic Trail, the Cape Girardeau Conservation Nature Center, the Missouri Wall of Fame, the many Antique Shops, and also the nearby Bollinger Mill State Historic Site, which is home to one of the only few covered bridges in the state and is incredibly stunning in the Fall.

My highlights…

  • Visiting the Wall of Fame and checking out the murals created by famous Missourians.
  • Spending an afternoon shopping at the West Park Mall.
  • Discovering the historic site of Fort D, which was built during the civil war.

15. Johnson’s Shut-Ins State Park Johnson’s Shut-Ins State Park

This has a funny name, but it’s a great place! This state park is located in Little Brook, and if there’s one thing you can say about it, there is a lot of water surrounding it.

You’ll see lots of large rocks and swimming holes, so if you go there any time during the summer, consider bringing your swimming suit! 

Here, you can hike, view waterfalls, picnic, and explore some seriously stunning and unique terrain. I highly recommend visiting if you’re looking for a great family-oriented activity! 

My favorite highlights…

  • Stopping by the visitor center and learning all the park and its history.
  • Hiking through the forest to the valley, along the stream bed and up to the ridge on the Scour Trail loop.
  • Taking a quick refreshing dip in the cool waters after hiking along the trails.

16. Meramec Caverns Meramec Caverns

Meramec Caverns is located in Sullivan, and it’s a breathtaking and interesting attraction! You can choose between a half-hour tour or a slightly longer one when you book here.

When you come up above ground, you can enjoy activities such as ziplining and a great climbing wall to make a fun-filled day! 

My personal highlights…

  • Exploring the caverns to see the spectacular natural mineral formations which have taken thousands of years to create.
  • Soaring through the sky on a fun zipline tour.
  • Stopping for home-style food at the restaurant located by the caverns.

17. Table Rock Lake Table Rock Lake - beauty spots in Missouri

Located in Branson, Table Rock Lake offers gorgeous water and stunning natural views. Although no areas are considered official beaches, you can still swim there in several locations, such as kayaking, canoeing, and boating.

It is such a versatile lake that you can take your family, spend the entire day there, and never get bored. If you love beautiful sunsets and water-based activities, I suggest visiting here! 

My highlights…

  • Going kayaking on the lake.
  • Watching live entertainment at Black Oak Amp. 
  • Soaking up the gorgeous views and tranquil vibes! 

18. Meramec River and State ParkMeramec River and State Park

I’m a big fan of the Meramec River, perfect for rafting, canoeing, or simply relaxing on the shore. It offers sand, lots of green trees, and water!

Many activities are on offer here, including hiking and biking, but I would suggest getting involved in the fun rafting!

My highlights…

  • Taking a guided tour inside the fascinating and large Fisher Cave.
  • Going rafting along the magnificent river.
  • Relaxing and having a picnic along the river shores.

19. Powell Gardens

Powell Gardens - best places to visit in Missouri

Powell Gardens is located in Kingsville, Kansas City. It consists of seven themed gardens, tons of beautiful wildflowers to admire, and unique sections such as the Fountain Garden, the Heartland Harvest Garden, and the Perennial Garden.

If you love flowers, natural grasses, and lots of color, then I personally think you’ll love Powell Gardens. It is a great place for flower-lovers and nature-lovers alike, and just one trip there will help you understand why this is one of Kansas City’s most popular tourist attractions, especially if you’re a nature lover!

My highlights…

  • Attending an interesting gardening tips class.
  • Wandering around and admiring the beautiful garden displays and incredible contemporary architecture.
  • Checking out the interesting Visitor Education Center which also had a cafe.

20. Taum Sauk Mountain Taum Sauk Mountain

If you love mountains, don’t skip this place! These mountains are at the highest elevations in the entire state and offer views like you’ve never seen before.

From unique rock formations to the majesty of the different nearby forests, I personally think you’ll never tire of hiking to the top of these mountains and looking out at the scenery and the fantastic panoramic views. If you’re near Highway CC in Ironton, I recommend stopping by! 

My personal highlights…

  • Hiking to Mina Sauk Falls which is the highest wet-weather waterfall in Missouri.
  • Witnessing the spectacular panoramic views from the top of the mountain.



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