Missouri has some of the best weekend getaways in the country, from boat tours in Branson to museums in Kansas City and the ruins of Ha Ha Tonka State Park. “The Show-Me State,” nestled between Kansas and Kentucky, is a treasure trove of natural wonders, from the grassy plains to the high peaks of the Ozark Mountains. Just a few of the many options for travelers with an adventurous spirit include national parks, lakes, trails, historic sites, mysterious caverns, and more. To get you started, we’ve compiled the most popular weekend getaways in Missouri.
- 1. Branson
- 2. St. Louis
- 3. Lake Ozark
- 4. Rocheport
- 5. Hannibal
- 6. Kansas City
- 7. Eldon
- 8. Mark Twain National Forest
- 9. Camdenton
- 10. Columbia
- 11. Arcadia Valley
- 12. Innsbrook
- 13. Springfield
- 14. Clarksville
- 15. Hermann
- 16. St. Charles
- Most Romantic Places in Missouri!
- St. Charles, MO
- Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO
- The Fleur-de-Lys Mansion, St. Louis
- Bridal Cave, Camdenton, MO
- Caney Creek and High Rock Mountain, Gainesville, MO
- Treehouse Cabins, Dora, MO
- Hermann Hill, Hermann, MO
- Aya Sofia, St. Louis, MO
- Celebrations Restaurant, Cape Girardeau, MO
- Stonewater Cove, Shell Knob, MO
- The Raphael Hotel, Kansas City, MO
- Jack’s Little Log Cabin, Gill Ridge, MO
- Garth Mansion, Hannibal, MO
Branson is well-known for being a wonderful family vacation destination, and it continues to be such. The town of Ozark is only 28.4 mi (45.7 km) away from the city, which is located close to the Arkansas-Alaska border. From exciting outdoor activities to live entertainment, the city provides a diverse range of options that help to distinguish it as one of the best weekend getaways in Missouri. You can visit the Titanic Museum, which is world-renowned, or the theme park Silver Dollar City, which is designed in the manner of the 1880s. The Showboat Branson Belle, which is especially popular during the summer months, is one of the most popular attractions. To spend some soothing moments, travel to the picturesque Table Rock Lake and board a boat that includes delectable food and live entertainment.
2. St. Louis
St. Louis is the second-largest metropolitan area in the state of Missouri, located on the Mississippi River’s border with Illinois. A two-hour travel from Columbia to St. Louis can be completed in a jiffy. In terms of distance, it’s around 125 miles (201 kilometers). With so many things to do that a weekend trip may easily turn into a week-long vacation, this city is a must-see for everyone from the Midwest. The 30-foot (9.1-meter) Gateway Arch at the city’s entry and Busch Stadium are both within a 5-minute walk of Saint Louis’ city center. Additionally, visitors can visit the Union Station, Forest Park, or St. Louis Zoo as some of the city’s main attractions.
3. Lake Ozark
This undiscovered gem is perfect for those looking for a leisurely weekend break between St. Louis and Kansas City, which are both around 170 miles (270 kilometers) apart and take less than three hours to get to. It’s a short drive from Lake Ozark and Osage Beach, where you can enjoy a variety of water sports, including boating, kayaking, and parasailing. This natural location is a massive reservoir built in 1931 as part of the Ozark Mountains in central Missouri. It became a popular holiday spot because of the numerous opportunities for water sports and the stunning scenery that can be seen there. Golf courses, gorgeous campgrounds, and world-class resorts are all within easy reach, whether you choose to explore on foot or by car.
Rocheport is unique in that it is located between Kansas City and St. Louis — 116 miles (186 kilometers) apart and barely two hours from both — and near to Columbia (20 minutes). There is no other place like it. The town, with the exception of the lake area, is a fast-paced environment. As soon as you arrive for your weekend retreat, you’ll be surrounded by an incomparable sense of tranquillity that will allow you to enjoy a relaxed weekend. Going on a hike along the picturesque Katy Trail can also add a little thrill to your vacation. There are also a variety of stores, restaurants, and galleries to explore in the downtown area. Later on, treat yourself to a glass of wine at the award-winning winery in the neighborhood.
Hannibal is 117 miles (188 kilometers) north of St. Louis and takes less than two hours to get by car or on foot from there. It is one of the best areas in the United States for finding literary inspiration, as it is bordered by Illinois. When Mark Twain was growing up, he lived in the historic city of Hannibal, Missouri. Some of the places you must visit in this city are his boyhood home as well as a museum that contains artifacts from his life and work. Mark Twain Cave and Campground, as well as the Mark Twain Memorial Lighthouse, are located close to the historic house.
6. Kansas City
Don’t be misled by the fact that Arkansas and Missouri are close neighbors – though both states have Kansas cities, we’re talking about Kansas City, Missouri, this time. Besides being the largest city in “The Show-Me State,” it is also the state capital. In less than four hours from St. Louis, traveling through Columbia (approximately two hours), it offers a variety of activities. It is located 248 miles (399 kilometers) distant and less than four hours from the city. It is essential to see the museums in this city. The Arabia Steamboat Museum, the American Jazz Museum, the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, and the Toy and Miniature Museum of Kansas City are just a few of the attractions. The National World War I Museum is one of the most well-known.
The small city of Eldon, located around 20 minutes (15 miles or 24 kilometers) from Lake of Ozarks State Park, is one of the most popular weekend getaway destinations in Missouri, United States. According to the most recent census, the city has a population of approximately 4,639. The location is ideal for exploring the natural splendor of central Missouri on a weekend getaway. Check out Stark Caverns, which is one of the most popular attractions in this area. The intriguing cave contains an underground lake, as well as other surprises waiting to be discovered. Columbia is also within driving distance, at around 61.5 miles (99 kilometers), or an hour’s journey.
8. Mark Twain National Forest
Approximately 140 miles (225 kilometers) and two hours south of St. Louis is a 1,500,000-acre (607,028.4-hectare) area that stretches across 29 counties in Missouri and covers an area of 1,500,000 acres (607,028.4-hectare). The Mark Twain National Forest, which has about 750 miles (1,207 kilometers) of trails and 350 miles (563.7 kilometers) of water, offers a wide range of outdoor activities. In addition to canoeing and kayaking, you can explore all of the natural trails available by hiking, horseback riding, biking, or even riding a motorcycle when you arrive there.
As a result of its proximity to Lake of the Ozarks State Park, which is 84.7 miles (136 kilometers) away and an hour and a half away by car, Camdenton draws over 3 million tourists each year. A magnificent landscape with hiking trails and castle ruins in the manner of Europe is only 5 miles (8 kilometers) from the town. More than 3,700 acres (1,497.3 hectares) of geological wonderland, wildflowers, caves, and an intriguing array of trees can be found at Ha Ha Tonka State Park, a place where natural beauty and historical significance come together. Make sure to spend some time around Bridal Cave as well.
Located around halfway between Missouri’s two main cities, St. Louis and Kansas City — approximately 126 miles (200 kilometers) apart and less than two hours from either — is a little hamlet that is worth visiting for a weekend trip or to use as a home base while on vacation. Columbia, Missouri, is home to the University of Missouri and boasts a dynamic environment that includes coffee shops, bookstores, record shops, and fascinating events such as poetry readings and concerts. The Rock Bridge Memorial State Park, which is 4.2 miles (6.8 kilometers) distant and a 10-minute drive from the town center, offers adventure despite the town’s peaceful intellectual atmosphere. This 2.1-mile (3.5-kilometer) loop trail in the heart of the park features wooden bridges and paths, and it is accessible year-round for hikers of all ability levels.
11. Arcadia Valley
Nowhere is better than Missouri’s Arcadia Valley to enjoy some of the state’s most spectacular natural features on a vacation. In addition to great hiking, Taum Sauk offers spectacular views. A family favorite, Johnsons Shut-Ins State Park. This location is like Mother Nature’s waterslide with its pure spring-fed falls rushing through massive granite boulders! Also, don’t miss Elephant Rocks State Park, where you may explore huge pink stones and learn about their formation. The names of stone cutters who trained on the location a century ago are also engraved into the rock face.
Then there’s the amazing swanning With its sandbars and rocky beaches, the Black River is a cool, clean place to spend the day on the water. A float can be rented from numerous local outfitters.
The Wilderness Lodge near Lesterville is ideal for a family vacation. Your stay includes wonderful meals served at the main lodge as well as secluded riverside bungalows. Our family has a long history of visiting here.
Consider Innsbrook for your next Missouri excursion if you’re looking for old-fashioned family enjoyment in a serene, peaceful atmosphere. The resort, which is located about an hour west of St. Louis, was originally designed as an A-frame structure that was influenced by mountain chalets in Europe and the natural splendor of Colorado, which the developers admired. Despite the fact that the property has developed to include luxury residences and condominiums, it continues to integrate nature and pleasure in a unique and tranquil manner.
Despite the fact that it contains 100 lakes, nature walks, stables, tennis and pickleball courts, a pool, and even an 18-hole golf course, Innsbrook has maintained its natural, unspoilt beauty. Because large engines are not permitted at the resort, you’ll be kayaking, paddling, and fishing in calm, tranquil waters instead. Moreover, there are other spots on Innsbrook’s 7,500 acres where visitors can settle in, rest, and reconnect with nature and with one another. While many of the properties in this area are privately owned, there are also vacation rentals available.
Springfield, Missouri, is a natural wonderland nestled right in the heart of the Missouri Ozarks! The Wonders of Wildlife Museum and Aquarium, where you’ll wander through huge aquatic environments filled with fish, marine mammals, and coral from all over the world, is the perfect place to begin your tour. Visit the Bass Pro Shop headquarters, which is stocked with everything an outdoor lover might possibly need for an upcoming excursion.
Taking the adventure deeper, Fantastic Caverns will transport you deep into the earth via Jeep ferry, where you’ll witness a variety of formations and learn about the 12 intrepid women who were among the first documented explorers of the huge cave complex back in the 1860s. While in Springfield, you should take a tour around the campus of Missouri State University and around the downtown area. The Springfield Cardinals, who are the Double-A affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals, are another place where you may see the summer boys in action.
Consider Clarksville for a river getaway with your family. Clarksville, Missouri, is an hour north of St. Louis, off Highway 79, along the Mississippi River, with some of the most gorgeous vistas in the state! The community is positioned right over US Lock and Dam 24, affording a unique perspective on riverboat and barge activity. Fans of all ages will enjoy watching the barges navigate the lock and dam system on their voyage down the river. During their winter journey, bald eagles regularly stop in Clarksville to fish.
Craftspeople and artists, including potters and furniture makers, have chosen to live and work in Clarksville’s historic structures and residences. Rent a historic cottage or B&B, stroll along the riverfront, and shop while you relax and appreciate the slower pace of life here. Plan a trip to Overlook Farms, a picturesque place high above the river. Being a working farm, the store sells many local products. Overlook also has some antique inns with luxurious lodgings.
German colonists founded Hermann in the 1840s, inspired by the Rhine River Valley. They constructed homes, churches, and wineries swiftly. It’s great for the whole family to explore!
Visit the Deutschheim State Historic Site to discover more about Hermann’s German immigrants. It comprises two 1840s residences that are well restored to show what life was like back then. Upper City Park is well worth a visit for its historic Rotunda. The brick octagon was erected in 1864 as an agricultural fair hall and is now utilized for weddings and other special occasions.
There are about a dozen vineyards in and around Hermann, as well as antique stores, boutiques, and cafes. Expresso Laine has exciting drinks, food, and even toys! During your Hermann vacation, ride your bike or stroll down the neighboring Katy Trail. While not immediately on the path, Hermann is only 3 miles away. The McKittrick trailhead is easily accessible by bike from Hermann. The Katy is a family-friendly river that winds through picturesque Missouri.
16. St. Charles
St. Charles, Missouri, is a little town located approximately 30 miles outside of St. Louis that offers visitors a taste of life in a small town right outside the big metropolis. Antiques can be found on the cobblestones of Main Street in the Historic District, and glassware and original furniture can be found in the Historic Frenchtown District. Try your luck at the Ameristar Casino, which is conveniently located on the riverfront, before savoring barbecue at Sugarfire Smoke House or steaks and seafood at Firebirds Wood Fired Grill, all of which are located nearby. Visit the Lewis and Clark Boat House and Nature Center, which is conveniently located in downtown St. Charles, if you’re a history lover.
Most Romantic Places in Missouri!
There are many world-class attractions in Missouri, but the state also has a plethora of romantic spots where couples can spend quality time together. A romantic trip, a proposal, a first date, your first kiss, or even a full-blown vacation with your beloved may all be had in Missouri. The state has something for every stage of your relationship as a couple.
St. Charles, MO
The entire town, in fact! One of the most historic and charming towns in the country, St. Charles is a popular destination for tourists who want to walk hand-in-hand through its medieval streets and admire its natural beauty. St. Charles is a popular choice for destination weddings because of the town’s welcoming atmosphere and sense of romance. Historic brick roads, a trolley ride through town, boutique and antique shops, art shows as well as a winery are just some of the attractions in the town. Everybody will find something to their liking, but especially lovers.
Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO
Visiting the Missouri Botanical Garden, a National Historic Landmark, with your lover is a great way to show them how much you care about them. A Biblical garden (containing flora that were referenced in the Bible) and the largest Japanese garden in North America are only two of the 12 gardens that visitors can tour.
The Fleur-de-Lys Mansion, St. Louis
Are you looking for a place to spend your honeymoon? Take, for example, this luxurious inn housed in the splendor of a 19th-century palace. The well-appointed location, which has been chosen the greatest bed and breakfast in St. Louis on numerous occasions, includes a gourmet breakfast served each morning, a spa area, and gorgeous gardens. It is also possible to host a small wedding at the Fleur-de-Lys.
Bridal Cave, Camdenton, MO
When it comes to Lake of the Ozarks’ Bridal Cave, the term comes from a Native American mythology about a long-ago wedding between lovers from different tribes that took place directly in the cave. With rooms full of geological formations that took a century to study and document, the cave is one of the most impressive attractions in The Cave State’s offers. “It’s spooky-romantic, like a haunting love story,” one visitor expressed it well. The cave is also available for weddings, which is in keeping with its image as a romantic getaway!
Caney Creek and High Rock Mountain, Gainesville, MO
Those who enjoy the great outdoors should spend a day hiking or kayaking Caney Creek and High Rock Mountain, which are both located near Gainesville. Even though Missouri boasts an abundance of breathtaking landscapes, few can match the view from High Rock Mountain, which looks down over the wooded valley. When combined with a sunset or an autumn color scheme, there is no more romantic setting for a first kiss or even a marriage proposal.
Treehouse Cabins, Dora, MO
Is there anything more romantic than spending the night in a treehouse made just for you and your significant other? River of Life Farm’s treehouse cottages are nestled deep in the Ozarks, with nine different treetop hideaways available. There are a variety of cabins to choose from, each with its own unique set of features including hot tubs and fully furnished kitchens. If you want some peace and quiet, consider renting a bungalow high in the trees, surrounded by the sound of rustling leaves.
Hermann Hill, Hermann, MO
“The Missouri Rhineland” is a rich wine country in east-central Missouri, and Hermann Hill Inn is nestled in the heart of it. It is actually a bed and breakfast, and the property also has the River Bluff Cottages, which are freestanding condo-style buildings that come replete with hot tubs, fireplaces to curl up in front of, and a supply of cookies and ice cream to keep you going until dinner. Local wines are also always available for you to savour during your romantic getaway or to take home with you so that you can revisit the memories later in the year.
Aya Sofia, St. Louis, MO
It is the combination of warm hues, sensual materials, and authentic Middle Eastern cuisine that makes this Turkish restaurant a wonderful destination for couples. One of Missouri’s most romantic restaurants, Aya Sofia offers an extensive wine and beer list, as well as decadent desserts that will satisfy even the most discriminating palate. In this lush, exotic atmosphere, your senses will be indulged to the extreme.
Celebrations Restaurant, Cape Girardeau, MO
It describes itself as “excellent dining in a comfortable and sophisticated ambiance,” which it claims to be. The property, which was formerly a residence going back to the 1850s, offers peaceful dining rooms and comfortable corners, perfect for a romantic dinner with your sweetheart. If the weather permits, you can also dine outside in the courtyard under the stars. Perfect for dating nights, honeymoons, or just getting to know each other better.
Stonewater Cove, Shell Knob, MO
Water has a calming effect on us, and when we share it with someone we care about, that effect is amplified. Located on Table Rock Lake, Stonewater Cove Resort makes the most of its gorgeous natural setting while still providing the comforts of a family-run establishment. You and your lover will never forget this trip if you include the in-house activity programs and access to Branson and other nearby destinations.
The Raphael Hotel, Kansas City, MO
With its prime location just steps from from the world-famous Country Club Plaza, the Raphael is one of Kansas City’s most prestigious accommodations. Its “romance package,” which includes champagne, flowers, and a two-person whirlpool in your room, makes it a great choice for honeymoons, anniversaries, or any other special occasions. In fact, you can request rose petals to be placed on your bed before you sleep.
Jack’s Little Log Cabin, Gill Ridge, MO
Jack’s Little Log Cabin is a great place to unwind on the banks of the Meramec River. A welcoming front porch, a private bedroom with a queen-sized bed, and even a hot tub are all included. You and your honey can reconnect with nature in the shade of the towering pines, or venture into nearby St. James for a day of wine tasting and shopping. Also worth a visit is Ellen’s Little Log Cabin, which is only a short distance away.
Garth Mansion, Hannibal, MO
Garth Mansion is a famous Victorian home where Mark Twain personally stayed for a short period of time. You and your honey can unwind in a luxurious bedroom in the home, or you can rent a little cottage on the grounds, which is away from the bustle of nearby Hannibal, to spend time together. Garth Mansion has everything you need for a romantic weekend, including breakfast in the morning, sightseeing during the day, and a drink from the bar in the evening.