Missouri is a beautiful state home to Kansas City, the “Live Music Show Capital of the World," iconic landmarks like the Gateway Arch, and many state parks, perfect for hiking, camping, and numerous other outdoor activities. Missouri is in the midwestern states, bordered by popular destinations such as Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, and Oklahoma.
With summer quickly approaching, you might be in search of some of the best spots for endless adventure, exciting weekends, and beautiful beaches. Fortunately, Missouri offers all that, and more! If you are planning to spend your summer vacation in Missouri, discover the coolest small towns in which you can stay.
Parkville is a riverfront community home to a charming historic downtown area. Wander along the streets, exploring all the charm the town has to offer, with an abundance of unique shops, boutiques, restaurants, as well as art galleries and entertainment venues. Parkville is only 20 minutes from Kansas City, so you can easily jump into the city life, while enjoying the perks of the charming town.
The town sits along the banks of the Missouri River, boasting access to the beautiful waterfront, ideal for evenings spent watching sunsets, boating trips, and relaxing on the shoreline. English Landing Park also sits along the riverside, with beautiful hiking and biking trails for an adventurous day trip. The Parkville Nature Sanctuary is another beautiful spot, with 5 kilometers of forested hiking trails ideal for a trip out with the family.
Hannibal is the perfect small town for a weekend escape, though there is plenty to do all summer as well. It offers an interesting history, as it is the birthplace and hometown of Mark Twain, who wrote about the town's sites that you can still see today. Stop by Mark Twain Boyhood Home & Museum and delve into the author's life story.
Stroll through the town, admiring the Garth Woodside Mansion Estate local B&B, the Mark Twain and Cameron Caves, or even enjoy a ghost or vampire tour when the sun goes down. Hannibal sits along the Mississippi River, where you can swim, fish, and boat, or even travel to the Lover's Leap cliffside, taking in the scenic view of the waterway.
Blackwater sits 3 miles off the I-70, housing picturesque historical homes, the West End Theatre, which plays shows each week, and unique hotels and restaurants, ideal for a good night's rest and full belly. Be sure to visit Blackwater River, which is part of the watershed of the Mississippi River and named after its dark banks and water color. Spend the day boating and fishing or exploring the shoreline and hiking trails nearby.
The Arrow Rock State Historic Site is just outside of town, where you can view historic buildings and visit some antique shops. Another stop nearby is Vintage Hill Farm, which is a beautiful nursery featuring over 1700 varieties of plants. You can even head towards Booneville and hike the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail, enjoying the beauty of the surrounding nature.
Carthage is a small town home to a unique history, established in 1842, burned to the ground during the Civil War, and rebuilt in the Victorian Era. The Carthage Civil War Museum and the Jasper County Courthouse are great places to delve into the town's history. The town sits along Route 66, boasting attractions such as Kellogg Lake, where you can fish, boat, and take in the scenic views.
Enjoy refreshments at the White Rose Winery, and then head out for an afternoon of antique shopping or peruse through the Historic Carthage Square. For some unique entertainment, visit the Stones Throw Theatre or the 66 Drive-In Theatre, where you can check out live shows or old films.
One of the most underrated towns in Missouri, Hermann is a beautiful spot on the south banks of the Missouri River. Known for its winemaking, the town is the perfect vacation spot if you are looking to visit a number of different wineries and vineyards, getting a taste for an abundance of options. The Stonehill Winery melds a glimpse into history and great tasting wines into one, as it is Missouri's oldest and most acclaimed winery. It also offers a beautiful view of the town of Hermann.
Peruse through the streets and enjoy the scenic streets, lined with clock towers and steeples, which rise from beautiful brick houses. The town also has a German history, making it a great spot to visit during Oktoberfest, so be sure to return to the town after your summer getaway!
Ste. Genevieve is one of the most charming river towns in Missouri. The town is one of the oldest European settlements in Missouri, and is still full to the brim with beautiful architecture from centuries past, a collection of which are on the National Register of Historic Places. There are also unique antique shops, boutiques, and restaurants lining the streets.
Pay a visit to the Louis Bolduc House, a historic home museum site that is a beautiful example of 18th century French Colonial architecture. You will find unique designs in the building as well as objects that are from French colonies in the 18th century. Enjoy a few glasses of wine throughout the summer at the Chaumette Vineyards And Winery or the Cave Vineyard, which offer sights as tasteful as the wines.
Named after Martin Van Buren, the eighth president of the United States, Van Buren boasts beautiful attractions such as the Mark Twain National Forest and the Ozark National Scenic Waterway. You can hike along the trails of the forest and boat through the scenic waters to enjoy the beautiful outdoors.
Big Spring is another popular destination, as it is Missouri's largest natural spring, and even one of the largest in the world. Enjoy a more rustic stay and rent a spot on the Ozark Riverfront campground, where you can take in views of the stars, tell stories around campfires, and relish in the surrounding soundscape.
Missouri's Small Towns Welcome You
The small towns of Missouri are home to endless opportunities for adventure and excitement, perfect for your summer vacation. Whether you intend on visiting for a few days, months, or weeks, you will always find something to enjoy. There are plenty of museums, historic sites, and landmarks scattered across the state, as well as outdoor opportunities such as beaches, state parks, and popular hiking spots.