The Show Me State has a lot to show for itself. Rivers teem with fish waiting to be caught –if you’re not busy caving, swimming, fishing or hiking in numerous wilderness areas. Or venture sky high to see the steel and glass of fun-filled cities from a bird’s eye view. Then indulge in excellent entertainment and succulent meals.
1) St. Louis
Immerse yourself in the Pere Marquette State Park along the Illinois River, where 12 miles of hiking trails lead past towering bluffs and through lush forests. Fishermen come here for the plentiful catfish, bluegill and bass, and because of the park’s location near the Mississippi River, birds of every feather flock here, including the bald eagle. For a journey above it all, visit Gateway Arch National Park on the river in downtown St. Louis, where a ride up the 630-foot Gateway Arch unveils stellar west-facing views.
Drive 104 miles • 1 hour, 42 minutes
For a summer cool-down, dive right into Fugitive Beach, a 25-acre rock quarry filled with H2O. With water slides, diving platforms, swim beach and pavilions, it’s the perfect escape from those hot and humid Midwestern days. After drying off, satiate your hunger with fruit, crème or frozen desserts at A Slice of Pie Restaurant in the downtown district. Your taste buds will tingle with every bite of these homemade confections.
Drive 112 miles • 1 hour, 47 minutes
Stalactites hang from the ceilings of the mammoth Fantastic Caverns, where visitors ride trams through the massive cave system. Visitors discover that the unique ecosystem fosters a perfect environment here for cave crayfish, crickets and salamanders. After ascending to the ground above, head to Springfield Conservation Nature Center for a hike along 3 miles of wilderness trails located within the city limits. Bird watching and wildlife viewing are popular pastimes, and the visitor center hosts dozens of exhibits.
Drive 44 miles • 50 minutes
Coming up with dinner is never a problem when fishing the cold waters of Lake Taneycomo. Brown and rainbow trout love the water coming through Table Rock Dam, and fishermen cast lines from boats or on the shore of this winding, man-made body of water in the heart of Branson. The town is better known these days for the astounding number of theaters and attractions that line its main drag. Choose from well-orchestrated Broadway shows to concerts or adventure parks. And Silver Dollar City, a historic theme park, offers amusement rides along with demonstrations by authentic craftsmen.
America’s Best Campground • Branson, MO – (800) 671-4399