One of the best ways to explore Missouri's natural beauty is to find a perfect place to stay. Expansive forests, rolling hills, sparkling streams and a host of lakes create a memorable setting for a getaway any time of year.
Savor the surroundings at scenic spots across the Show-Me State – from rustic lakeside cabins to tree houses in the woods.
Take in panoramic views of Table Rock Lake from a cabin at Big Cedar Lodge, located near Branson. The wilderness resort offers a number of options including charming cottages, log cabins and "camp huts." Depending on which type of lodging you choose, you'll have a fireplace or fire pit, private deck or screened porch. Many of the cabins are equipped with full kitchens or kitchenettes. The resort also has several restaurants on-site as well as a spa, five golf courses, an entertainment center, walking trails and boat rentals.
Relax in an elegant villa with a view of the countryside at Chaumette Vineyards & Winery near Ste. Genevieve. Sample award-winning wines and fine farm-to-fork dining with a Cajun-Creole-Southwest flair at this premier Midwest winery destination. Each villa is equipped with a kitchen to prepare your own specialties as well. Explore the area on more than 4 miles of hiking trails, and learn about the region's early French heritage at nearby historic sites and museums.
If you loved spending time in a tree house as a kid – or always wished you could – try an adult-size version at The Cottage near Hermann. Choose from the Sunrise Tree House, the Sunset Tree House or the wheelchair-friendly Moonlight Tree House (it's accessible via a wooden bridge from the parking area and has no stairs). Each tree house is equipped with a mini refrigerator, microwave and coffee maker. Tour the quaint German town and the Hermann Wine Trail.
Immerse yourself in the Ozarks at a cabin at Echo Bluff State Park near Eminence. Overlooking Sinking Creek and the park's namesake bluff, the two-, three- and four-bedroom cabins can accommodate families of all sizes. The cabins are equipped with fireplaces and kitchens. The Creekside Grill offers a full menu for indoor and outdoor dining. Nearby, explore the Ozark National Scenic Riverways during a float trip on the Current River, and experience a piece of Missouri's past at historic Alley Mill.
Enjoy wine country and Missouri River Valley views during a stay at the Shining Hope Guest House, located near Rhineland. The wheelchair accessible house is located along the Katy Trail – the country's longest rail-to-trail project – great for hiking and cycling year-round. You can reserve the entire house or one of four individual guest rooms. The common great room has a full kitchen and fireplace. A continental breakfast is served each morning.
Catch your own dinner during your stay in a treehouse cabin at the River of Life Farm, located on the North Fork of the White River, one of Missouri's wild trout fishing streams. Several of the tree houses are perched on the river's edge while others have a river view. The cabins offer full kitchens and fireplaces and can accommodate from one to 14 guests. Hike on the 500-acre property or in the nearby Mark Twain National Forest, or try a float trip down the river.
Located off the beaten path near Ste. Genevieve, the 1860s log cabin at Charleville Vineyard, Winery & Microbrewery features sweeping views of the Saline Creek Valley. The cabin was carefully restored to preserve its "dog trot" design and is furnished with primitive antiques. A hearty country breakfast is served on a handcrafted harvest table. Sample the wine, beer and brick-oven pizza in the tasting room or on the patio. Take a short drive to hike at Hawn State Park and Pickle Springs Natural Area.
Modern design meets rustic retreat at the Tree Loft at Basecamp near Perryville. Nestled into 120 acres of wooded wilderness, the wheelchair-accessible tree house for two has a fireplace and a kitchen with an indoor-outdoor coffee bar. Outside, you'll find a hot tub and fire pit.
Written by Liz Coleman