When it comes to visiting Missouri, visitors often fall into quite a few tourist traps. Ask any local and they’ll tell you that Gates doesn’t have the best BBQ and the Gateway Arch doesn’t necessarily have the best views. To show an out-of-town guest the real Missouri, take this road trip across the state to experience many of the unique things that make Missouri, Missouri. For a full map and directions, click
Eat like a local at B.B.'s Lawnside BBQ in Kansas City
The argument over which spot in Kansas City has the best BBQ is a tough one. But when it comes to eating among the locals, rarely will you find tourists inside B.B.'s Lawnside BBQ.
Spend the night at a true Missouri farm.
Experience the beauty that is northeastern Missouri's farmland. The small town of Jamesport is home to one of Missouri's most thriving Amish communities. They also have an adorable bed and breakfast called Marydale Inn Bed & Breakfast where guests can spend the night in a farmhouse set on sprawling acres of farmland.
Visit Missouri's own wine country in Hermann.
Missouri has three main wine countries which are located in Augusta, Hermann and Ste. Genevieve. Hermann has deep German roots from its original settlers and many restaurants and wineries still pay homage to that ancestry. Stone Hill Winery (shown above) is just one of several amazing wineries that you'll find in Hermann. Enjoy a unique tasting before you decide on a glass or bottle.
Enjoy some playtime at City Museum in St. Louis.
City Museum was created by local artist, Bob Cassilly and his then-wife Gail Cassilly. Unlike most museums, you're encouraged to not only touch the art installations, but climb on top of them!
Get in touch with nature at Mark Twain National Forest
Mark Twain National Forest would have to be Missouri's most beautiful and expansive natural resource. This vast forest area is filled with things to do and see. For camping, I recommend setting up a campsite at Marble Creek Recreation Area right along the water.
Take them on a float trip on the Current River.
A float trip in Missouri is practically a rite of passage. Luckily for us, we have quite a few pristine rivers to choose from. As a local, I suggest floating along the Current River and picking it up in Eminence. You can rent a canoe or kayak at Windy's Canoes.
Spend the night lakeside in the Ozarks.
Missouri wouldn't quite be Missouri without the Ozarks either. Every summer, locals flock here to cool off in the beautiful lakes. To maximize your visit, spend the night in a lakeside cabin like at Sunset Resort. That way, you can wake up early enough to catch a beautiful sunrise over the beach.
Indulge in a hearty lunch inside an old Missouri train car.
When it comes to Missouri's train history, Sedalia holds a lot of significance. During the Texas Cattle Drive of 1866, it was a major rail head. For years, the community continued to build as it was a main stop along the Missouri-Kansas Texas Railroad. Unfortunately, the railroad's service came to an end in 1988. However, you can still see traces of the railroad when you dine at Kehde's in Sedalia. The owners turned an old MKT train car into a fully-functioning restaurant. They're known for their delicious BBQ and homemade pies.
If you had a guest visiting Missouri, what would you want to show them first? Feel free to share with others in the comments below!