Sometimes, getting out of the hustle and bustle of things is great, but for some people, they’d rather not deal with it EVER if they have the choice. Well, you do! These towns were chosen for being small and remote, near to nature and outdoor activities, not being particularly close to any big cities, or for some combination of these or other factors. Some of these towns you may have heard of, some you may not. Of course, there are so many towns in Missouri that are away from all the city-type craziness. These are just ten worth looking at.
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life. While we continue to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, please take proper precautions or add them to your bucket list to see at a later date. If you know of a local business that could use some extra support during these times, please nominate them here:
1. West Plains
Although West Plains has a population of just 11,986, it is actually the largest town within 100 miles and is the county seat of Howell County. It is tucked in the Ozark Mountains near wilderness areas and spring fed streams, and has a small-town feel with larger city conveniences. They host the Heart of the Ozarks Fair each year in July at their Fairgrounds, and they are home to many local amenities. A public library, pool, skate park, civic center, and many parks, West Plains is also situated around the Mark Twain National Forest. A low cost of living, a great education system and plenty to do make it a great place for families. To get away from the hustle and bustle without sacrificing convenience, West Plains is the way to go.
Closest Larger Cities/Towns: West Plains is around two hours away from Branson, Springfield, and Rolla.
2. Van Buren
With 819 residents, Van Buren is the county seat of Carter County, and the largest town in the county. It lies deep in the southeastern Missouri Ozarks, and is a major destination for recreational floating and fishing on the famous and beautiful Current River. In addition, its proximity to Big Spring, one of the world's largest springs, brings a steady stream of sightseers. It is on the edge of a large section of Mark Twain National Forest, and Clearwater Lake & Dam are just a few miles to the northeast. Residents of Van Buren enjoy a low cost of living, low crime rates, and high graduation rates.
Nearest Larger Cities: A little less than an hour from Poplar Bluff, 2 hours from Rolla, 2 hours from Cape Girardeau.
3. Mound City
Mound City is a quaint little town of 1159 residents located near the Squaw Peak National Wildlife Refuge in Holt County in Northwest Missouri. The town highly benefits economically from proximity of the refuge, only 5 miles away. Hundreds of thousands of visitors to the refuge have contributed millions to the economies of Holt County and nearby Buchanan County. People come to see spring snow geese migration, and other natural wonders. Hunting is prohibited on the refuge, but hunters will come hunt in the surrounding corn fields. Residents appreciate the amenities tourism provides, as well as a low crime rate, low cost of living and high graduation rates.
Nearest Larger Cities: 40 minutes from St. Joseph, 1 ½ hours from Kansas City, 45 minutes from Maryville
For true small town Missouri living, Portageville is the place for you! The city is in New Madrid and Pemiscot counties, and has a population of 3,228 residents. Local dining favorites include Gary’s Fish House, Katie’s Diner, Tricia’s Barbecue and Catering and Gator’s Pizza. The town may not look like much, but for those who like a quiet, small town atmosphere it’s perfect. Residents enjoy a low cost of living and low crime rates.
Nearest Larger Cities: A little over and hour from Poplar Bluff. 40 minutes from Sikeston. 1 hour from Cape Girardeau.
Take a drive-through town!
5. New Madrid
Just a few minutes away from Portageville, you will find New Madrid, located on the Kentucky Bend of the Mississippi River. There are 3,116 residents enjoying a low cost of living, low crime rates and a high graduation rate. It is steeped in history with several historical landmarks like the Higgerson School Historic Site, and the Hunter-Dawson Home State Historic Site. The New Madrid Historical Museum is a must for civil war history buffs, and the Hart-Stepp House Art Gallery is the place for art enthusiasts.
Nearest Larger Cities: 1 hour from Cape Girardeau, 30 minutes from Sikeston, 1 hour 10 minutes from Poplar Bluff
Fredericktown is the county seat of Madison County, in the northeastern foothills of the St. Francois Mountains, on the outer boundary. Its 3,985 residents are surrounded on three sides by the Mark Twain National Forest. The historic Madison County Courthouse was built in 1898. Fredericktown offers lots of outdoor recreation in and just out of town. For example, just north of town is City Lake Park which offers a playground, picnic area, three pavillions, hiking trails and fishing the lake. Two city parks play host to an assortment of community events such as the Azalea Festival and the Madison County Fair, and the other hosts the public pool.
Nearest larger cities: 1 hour from Ste Genevieve. 1 ½ hrs from St. Louis. 2 hours from Rolla.
Dexter, founded in 1873, is in Stoddard County and has a population of 7,864. Dexter and the surrounding area are rich in history. There are two museums in Dexter with six or seven more in surrounding areas. The nearly 35 thousand acres is also home to seven State Wildlife Conservation areas, open to the public for hunting, fishing, wildlife viewing, hiking, camping, or just getting away from it all.
Nearest larger cities: 30 minutes from Poplar Bluff. 30 minutes from Sikeston. 1 hour from Cape Girardeau.
8. Queen City
For the TRULY small, small town experience, Queen City in Schuyler County, may not have a lot to write home about visitor-wise. However, 598 residents take advantage of the nearby Kirksville, only 20 miles away. If you don’t want to drive, Janko’s is a local favorite, and great for a steak dinner. Residents also enjoy a low cost of living and high graduation rates.
Nearest Larger Cities: Kirksville is about 20 minutes away, Hannibal is about 2 hours and so is Columbia.
Trenton is the county seat of Grundy County. Its 6,001 residents share the bragging rights to the city being the world’s largest producer of Vienna sausages. ConAgra Grocery Foods plant, where these sausages are made, is also its biggest employer. They have an aquatic center at the north side’s Moberly Park, a modern movie theater with 3-D capabilities, a skating rink, two skateboarding parks (one indoor and one outdoor), and numerous city parks with ball fields and soccer fields. In addition, residents enjoy a low cost of living, high graduation rates, and lots of local amenities.
Nearest Larger Cities: St. Joseph is about an hour and a half away, an hour and 20 or so to Kirksville, and about an hour and a half away from Kansas City.
Kennett is the county seat of Dunklin County and it is located in the southeast corner ("Bootheel") of Missouri, 4 miles east of Arkansas and 20 miles from the Mississippi River. It is an agricultural hub producing goods like cotton, soybeans, rice, and watermelon that are distributed nationwide, and while only home to just under 11,000 residents, it is the main source of business and commerce for up to 100,000 people within a 30-mile radius.
Nearest larger cities: It’s about an hour from Poplar Bluff and from Sikeston, and about an hour and a half from Cape Girardeau.
What other towns in Missouri should be on this list? Did we name your hometown? Should we have? Share in the comments below.