Missouri is likely not on your travel bucket list, but that doesn’t mean it should be underestimated as a great vacation spot for all ages. Here’s how to spend seven days in the “Show Me” State.
Day 1: Arrive in St. Louis
Book a multi-city flight arriving into St. Louis Lambert International Airport (STL) and departing from Springfield-Branson National Airport (SGF) to make the most out of your week in Missouri. Fortunately, arranging a rental car at STL to be dropped off at SGF shouldn’t be an issue, as major rental car companies such as Hertz, Enterprise, and Alamo service both locations. Spend your first day as a Missouri tourist scoping out the famous Gateway Arch and the St. Louis Riverwalk in Downtown St. Louis. Surprisingly, Gateway Arch is recognized as a National Park due to its historical significance in the western expansion of the United States. Nearby stands the massive St. Louis Art Museum, which is free of admission fees and the perfect idea for days bringing not-so-ideal weather.
Day 2: Missouri Wine Country
Less than 90 minutes west of St. Louis is the small city of Hermann, home to numerous wineries and the popular Hermann Wine Trail, which consists of seven family-owned local wineries. With your designated driver, spend a full day tasting fine wines and small plates along the Missouri River. A perfect place for girls’ trips or romantic getaways, Hermann is equipped with quaint bed and breakfasts to recuperate after a day of wine and cheese. To plan your visit to the Hermann Wine Trail, read more about the wineries in Hermann and upcoming events at www.hermannwinetrail.com.
Day 3: Camdenton
Just under two hours southwest of Hermann is the gateway to the Lake of the Ozarks. Camdenton itself is a small town, but the Lake of the Ozarks is home to plenty of resorts for families, couples, and solo travelers looking to find beaches and waterfront seafood restaurants in the middle of Missouri. Ideal for watersport lovers, fishers, and swimmers, Lake of the Ozarks State Park is one of Missouri’s summertime gems complete with hiking trails, caves, and campgrounds. Take a cave system tour of Bridal Cave and Thunder Mountain Park or be lucky enough to enjoy a live outdoor performance or concert at Ozarks Amphitheater.
Day 4: Ha Ha Tonka State Park
You read that correctly – close to Camdenton is Ha Ha Tonka State Park, a beautiful oasis just outside of the Lake of the Ozarks. Ha Ha Tonka is packed with caves, sinkholes, hiking trails, and 20th century castle ruins that are definitely worth a visit and a photo. Tourists visit the park for their chance to spot wildlife, see a striking natural bridge, and take a peep at Missouri’s 12th largest spring. Pack a picnic dinner and take in the park’s sunset views of the Lake of the Ozarks before retreating back to your lakeside resort for the night.
Day 5: Drive to Springfield
Head south to Springfield and check in to your accommodations before taking in the sights around the city. Visit Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield for a history lesson on the Civil War, or drive to Smallin Civil War Cave for a guided tour. If learning a little about history on vacation isn’t up your alley, automobile enthusiasts will enjoy a quick trip to the Route 66 Car Museum housing over 60 classic cars.
Day 6: Visit Joplin
Drive an hour west of Springfield to check out Joplin’s Grand Falls, the perfect place for swimming and fishing after a long week of traveling. Joplin is also a great base for sightseeing the George Washington Carver National Monument, stopping by the iconic Bonnie and Clyde Garage Apartment, or indulging your nostalgia and visiting the Precious Moments Chapel, complete with murals and a gift shop for all things Precious Moments.
Day 7: Head Home from Springfield
SGF is a smaller airport than St. Louis, so keep in mind that there will be fewer dining options to choose from onsite while waiting for your flight. If you were pleasantly surprised by all that Missouri had to offer during your stay, spend your flight home scoping out which state can catch you by surprise on your next vacation.