Missouri is a great place to visit any time of year, but fall is especially great when the trees are dressed in their best fall colors. If you’re considering a weekend road trip or better yet a week long fall vacation, consider spending time on the scenic roads in Missouri.
If you’re near the St. Louis area on the eastern side of the state, make sure to get a bird’s eye view from the top of the Gateway Arch. Plan a visit to historic St. Charles along the Missouri River for great shopping. Then travel along scenic highways 94 or 100 to Missouri Wine Country where you can stop for lunch at one of the wineries near Hermann, then pick up a few bottles of local wine to take home. Going north from St. Louis make sure to stop in at Hannibal to explore the Mark Twain boyhood home and see the beautiful fall colors on the river.
For viewing the colors at a slightly slower pace, check out the Katy Trail State Park. Missouri is home to the nation’s longest and skinniest state park. One of the country’s first rails-to-trails conversions, the Katy Trail follows along the former tracks of the Missouri-Kansas-Texas railroad through the Missouri River valley. The hard-packed gravel path offers scenic views, wildlife watching and access to rural towns from St. Charles to Clinton.
From the southern end of the state, some of the best views of the Ozark Mountains can be seen from Taum Sauk, the state’s highest point. For a breathtaking natural wonder, visit Big Spring, located south of Van Buren. Big Spring is the largest single spring in the world, pouring out 277 million gallons of crystal-clear water each day. There are many caves and State Parks to explore and you’ll want to make sure to see some of the beautiful lakes throughout the region. For another good view of the majestic Ozark Mountains, head to the Hercules Glades Wilderness. Just an hour outside of Springfield, Hercules Glades treats travelers to panoramic views of the Ozark Plateau, as well as the St. Francis and Boston mountains to the south.
No visit to southern Missouri would be complete without a stop in Branson. Make sure to see some of the world class shows, take a paddle boat ride on Table Rock Lake, or shop at the Outlet Mall. In Springfield stop in at one of the state’s newest tour attractions, the American National Fish and Wildlife Museum, Wonders of Wildlife. The $52 million facility is unique among museums and aquariums, featuring a 500,000 gallon aquarium, 180 different live animal species, hunting and fishing displays and videos, and numerous interactive exhibits. Outside of Springfield, you can ride through the only drive-through cave in the U.S. at Fantastic Caverns.
On the northern side of the state, make sure to visit Jamesport which boasts an Amish community of more than 2,000. Step back in time for a treasure hunt in more than a dozen quality antique shops frequented by dealers and collectors from across the nation. Sample the fresh baked bread and cinnamon rolls, then start your Christmas shopping by purchasing unique homemade crafts and furniture. Historic St. Joseph and Westin are also great places to include on the itinerary with unique shopping and plenty of historic sites.
On the Western side of the state, make sure to stop in Kansas City for some world famous barbeque. For shopping, The Country Club Plaza is a great place to start. If you’re a football fan, arrange for tickets to a KC Chiefs football game and experience one of the loudest hometown crowds in National Football. duke energy customer service