It’s the Destination


National Parks
Missouri also has a number of National Parks:
  • Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield, near Springfield – the site of the first battle of the Civil War fought west of the Mississippi River
  • Ozark National Scenic Riverways, south of Van Buren – the first national scenic riverway (more than 100 miles in length)
  • Harry S. Truman National Historic Site, in Independence – President Truman’s home
  • George Washington Carver National Monument, southeast of Joplin – the homestead and farm of scientist Carver
  • Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, St. Louis – the arch marks the gateway to the West for explorers Lewis and Clark and many others
Find more information about these Missouri National Parks and others at

You can plan fascinating day trips out of either St. Louis or Kansas City, Missouri. Hiking, biking, rafting, canoeing, rock climbing, and more are all within easy drives. Plus, numerous caves, historic sites, museums, and at least one town full of murals are among the many Missouri destinations not within major city limits.


Here are a few that are worth the travel.


State Parks


Ha Ha Tonka State Park is only one of approximately 50 Missouri State Parks, Historic Sites, and Backcountry Areas to visit south of the Missouri River and Interstate 70. There are Civil War battlefields, artist homes and studios, historic sites, bike trails, historic buildings, birthplaces and homes of famous Americans, museums, lakes, and rivers.


The best way to determine which is best for you and your family is to visit the Missouri State Park website ( to see what each includes.


National Park Service


The Mark Twain National Forest covers 1.5 million acres in southern and central Missouri. In addition to providing beautifully scenic and fun drives, forest roads lead to recreational rivers and trails. Find more at


Whether the Journey or Destination … or Both


There’s a lot more: caverns and caves (Meramec, Onondaga, etc.), cities with murals on building walls (Cuba), wineries, music and stage shows (Branson), and nostalgic sections of old Route 66. Rich in history and mountainous beauty, southern Missouri offers far more than some of the country’s most fun-to-drive roads.






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