Most people consider Missouri as the armpit of the Midwest, but I know it as home. I've lived in cities and towns throughout the state, and some of my favorite places reside in the Show-Me State. I thought about what places to include in my "Epic Road Trip", but I figured what better place than home?
Lamar, Missouri, United States
The journey starts at my current home.
1009 Truman St, Lamar, MO, US
Lamar just so happens to be the birthplace of President Harry S. Truman, so I couldn't think of a better place to begin!
17231 Old 66 Blvd, Carthage, MO, US
If you drive just 30 minutes to the south, you'll come across one of the few Drive-In theaters left in the country. Even though Lamar has one as well, the Drive-In at Carthage sits on Historic Route 66 and has a greater car capacity.
527 S Main St, Joplin, MO, US
What's a trip without good food? Instant Karma is a hole-in-the-wall joint that locals rave over, but Gourmet Hot Dog business offers customers more than just franks. With crazy options like the Donut Burger (a burger with donuts as the bun), you'll be beyond satisfied with your visit.
Shoal Creek, Joplin, MO, US
While in Joplin, take a short drive to The Falls. Sit on a rock and star at the expanse of multiple tiered waterfalls that are accompanied by walking trails.
399 Silver Dollar City Pkwy, Branson, MO, US
Branson, also known as Las Vegas, Missouri. There are a thousand museums, shows, and attractions in the area, but Silver Dollar City is one of the best. As soon as you park, you're transported back in time. Guests can enjoy artisan shows or ride the world's first wooden roller coaster with multiple inversions.
1491 State Road D, Camdenton, MO, US
Ha Ha Tonka provides families with laughs: it's in the name. This underrated Missouri park is home to 15 miles of trails,places to fish, and an abandoned castle.
2305 E Malone Ave, Sikeston, MO, US
Down in the south east corner of Missouri is another staple restaurant. Lambert's Cafe is known for its huge servings and thrown rolls. Come with an empty stomach and your head up!
6726 Chippewa St, St. Louis, MO, US
And if Lambert's didn't fill you up, Ted Drewes will. This St. Louis custard company has been mentioned by Bobby Flay and is a Route 66 icon.
700 Clark Ave, St. Louis, MO, US
While in St. Louis, stop by Busch Stadium and watch one of Missouri's two MLB teams play. The Cardinals have won 11 World Series and are, in my opinion, the best.
1 Government Drive, St. Louis, MO, US
The St. Louis Zoo is nestled in Forest Park. It's home to hundreds of exotic species and hosts a variety of animal shows. But the best part? It's completely free!
100 Katy Trail Ln, St. Charles, MO, US
The Katy Trail is a 237 mile bike friendly trail that follows Lewis and Clark's journey along the Missouri River. It connects to other trail systems and virtually runs across the entire state; St. Louis to Kansas City.
600 West Main Street, Jefferson City, MO, US
A trip to Missouri wouldn't be complete without visiting the the Capitol Building. Coming up on its 100th year of use, Missouri's capitol building is the leading tourist attraction in Jefferson City. Schedule a tour for the thrilling opportunity to get an outdoor view from the top!
111 Jesse Hall, Columbia, MO, US
Now THIS is my favorite place. The University of Missouri is located in Columbia and became the first public university west of the Mississippi River in 1839. Mizzou, as it's affectionately called, is home to the first journalism school in the world and currently has over 35,000 students enrolled (myself included). The college has 18 buildings on campus on the National Register of Historic Places and is also a designated botanic garden. MIZ!
219 N Delaware St, Independence, MO, US
Didn't get enough of Harry S. Truman in Lamar? Stop in Independence and take a tour of his adult home is now a part of the National Park Service.
1 Royal Way, Kansas City, MO, US
As I mentioned earlier, Missouri has two MLB teams, and Kansas City is home to the 2015 World Series winners. The Royals play at Kauffman Stadium and have some of the most loyal fans.
4525 Oak St, Kansas City, MO, US
If sports aren't your thing, then swing by Nelson-Atkins. It hard to miss the museum because the front lawn is decorated with teepees and shuttle cocks. Oh, and entrance to the three story museum is free!
There's no better way to end a trip than a relaxing day at Stockton Lake. Claim a camp ground, pitch a tent, and hop on a boat. Whether you're jumping from rocks, tubing, or simply catching rays, Stockton is the place to go to relax.