Missouri’s fascinating landscapes and top-notch culture make it an ideal place for sightseeing. Throughout Missouri, unforgettable sights and experiences await. You can see the sights not only by car, but also from a different perspective. Ready, set, explore.
Water, Water Everywhere
No need to travel to Venice, Italy, to glide on the canal in a romantic gondola. In Kansas City’s famed Country Club Plaza area, the expert gondoliers at Ambiance on the Water will duplicate the experience. Your excursion can include candy, flowers and wine.
In Branson, board the 700 seat Showboat Branson Belle for a two-hour cruise on magnificent Table Rock Lake. The journey includes a delicious three-course meal, freshly prepared in the ship's galley, and live entertainment featuring music, comedy, magic and spectacular views. Lunch and dinner cruises are offered.
Also in Branson, Ride The Ducks is not just a sightseeing tour – it is an adventure. Your duck ride combines fun, music, history and sights aboard a one-of-a-kind amphibious vehicle: a duck. You ride through the Ozarks and splashdown into the lake for a fun cruise as the duck takes you from land to water. Modeled after the classic WWII DUKW, these Ducks are built from the ground up, exclusively for Ride The Ducks. They are regularly inspected, tested & certified by the US Coast Guard.
See Hannibal and the mighty Mississippi River from the Mark Twain Riverboat on a one-hour, narrated sightseeing cruise, with commentary on river history, local legends and points of interest. A two-hour dinner cruise features live entertainment (reservations required for the dinner cruises).
At the Lake of the Ozarks, see the sights from the deck of Celebration Cruises. In addition to scenic cruises, restaurant style, table-service lunch and dinner trips and private charters are available.
Up, Up and Away
Aircraft and helicopter rides give you a breathtaking, wide-angle view from high above the earth – now, that’s sightseeing. Check out these high-in-the-sky adventures.
- Air Lake Aviation – 30-minute airplane tours from Grand Glaize Airport in Osage Beach. The flight covers most of the Lake of the Ozarks.
- Lake Ozark Helicopters – Choose your route above the Lake of the Ozarks. Special sunset and nighttime flights are available.
- Chopper Charter – Splendid views of Branson, Lake Taneycomo, Table Rock Lake and the Ozarks from a helicopter. You might be allowed to take the controls.
- Gateway Helicopter Tours – A bird’s-eye view of the Mississippi River, the Gateway Arch, Busch Stadium and all of St Louis.
- Bonne Terre Airport Sightseeing Tours in Bonne Terre, one hour south of St. Louis, offers a 20 minute flight by reservation. Flights are tailored to your interests.
Deep Within the Earth
From high in the air to far below ground, sightseeing is apparently everywhere. Missouri is referred to as “The Cave State,” with more than 6,400 mapped caves scattered throughout the countryside. Of these, organized tours into the depths of the earth are conducted at 18 “show caves,” mostly along paved, well-lit pathways. However, some offer wild tours, traveling through unimproved areas, using only lantern light.
The most famous cave in Missouri is Meramec Caverns, located off of I-44, three miles south of Stanton. Meramec Caverns has been a tourist attraction since 1933. The cave is reputed to have been used by Jesse James and his gang as a hideout.
Missouri’s 18 show caves are outlined in the VisitMO article, Legendary Caverns Put on a Show.
In addition to these caves, Roubidoux Spring Cave in Waynesville is open for scuba divers to explore. While there's no fee for this adventure, all divers must be cave-certified and must check in and present their certification cards to the 911 Emergency Communications Center, which is adjacent to the nearby fire station.
Speaking of scuba diving and caves, Bonne Terre Mine is the world's largest fresh-water scuba venue; and it is all underground in a billion gallon lake. Bonne Terre Mine, founded in 1860, is one of the world’s largest man-made caverns – the mine closed in 1962. The scuba exploration at Bonne Terre offers visibility of up to 100 feet (stadium lights above the water keep the cavern illuminated) and a year-round water temperature of 58 degrees. Boat tours are offered for those who don’t enjoy scuba diving. The upper levels of Bonne Terre are open for one-hour walking tours.