Family Vacations to Missouri

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Missouri – Family Vacation Guide

This is a state where history meets nature. There is nothing too big, too flashy or too wild here. Instead, Missouri aims to speak for itself. If you’re craving a trip that will put everyone at ease, this is the place for you.


Why Go

  • Follow the footsteps of the civil war as you explore Missouri and its rich history.

  • Kids will get in touch with inner outdoor enthusiast as they explore how the “Show Me” state carefully showcases its offerings.

  • From zoos to theme parks to nature trails, parents can relax knowing this is a calm, easy-going place to be.

  • Marked by the famous Gateway Arch, Missouri serves as the jumping-off point to the West.

Where to Go

Lake of the Ozarks

You could spend your entire vacation on this peaceful lake in central Missouri. Bring your boat or rent one at marina for a few days of cruising around in the sun. When you want to get off the water, the surrounding land of the lake is perfect for a hike or bike ride. This is the ideal spot for kids to get lost in nature and playtime.

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You can’t go to Missouri without visiting its family-centric town of Branson. You’ll find theme parks, theatre, wax museums, music and kitschy shops when you spend an afternoon exploring the streets. The area also features hundreds of miles of hiking and biking trails. Plus, water plays a key role in outdoor activities here. With three lakes in the region there’s plenty of swimming, kayaking, boating and fishing opportunities.

Take Me to Branson

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St. Louis

Located on the Mississippi river, the iconic Gateway Arch in this city is not to be missed. Neither is the Magic House, a fun, interactive space for kids that includes a recreation of the Oval Office where kids can pretend to be president. Enjoy some sun at Forest Park or spend an afternoon playing at the City Museum.

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Kansas City

This is the biggest city in the state. Go here when you need a change from all of your outdoor adventure. Kids and parents will all love this city’s main attraction: its barbecue. Roll up your sleeves and grab some napkins before heading out for a day of bbq-hopping.

Jefferson City

Get all of your Missouri history here in the state’s capital. Head to the Jefferson Landing State historic site and have lunch in the park or visit the Missouri State Museum. In the afternoon, change up the scenery with a tour of the very old and very creepy Missouri State Penitentiary.

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What to Do



  • In St. Louis, head to the City Museum, home to the world’s largest jungle gym housed inside an old shoe factory. Kids will spend all day playing on the ten-story slides, going on the Ferris wheel and dipping their toes in the splash pad.
  • Don’t miss a stop at the Gateway Arch for a ride up high and a panoramic view of the city.
  • In Branson, take a gondola 150-feet high and try to pick out all the buildings you want to visit later, like the Hollywood Wax Museum and Titanic museum.
  • Make a stop in Belleview at Elephant Rocks State Park. Kids can climb all over the massive boulders that are thousands of years old.
  • Make sure to pit stop in Osborn too. Here, the Shatto Milk Company lets families tour its dairy farm, milk a cow and taste test different milks (one is cotton-candy flavored!).
  • In Kansas City, let the whole family become a history buff at the National World War I Museum, Alexander Majors 1856 home, and the historic Longview Mansion.
  • Taste test all of the barbecue Kansas City is known for. Or just head to local favorite Joe’s Kansas City Bar-B-Que.

Getting Around

You’ll have to visit Missouri with a car. Driving time from east to west or north to south is only about four hours, meaning this trip can be more about exploring the outdoors than looking out the car windows. There is bus service in just about every major city and town, but for timing and planning purposes, its best to drive around places like Kansas City and St. Louis. Parking is amply available.

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