Skip links

8 Awesome & Frugal Day or Weekend Trips in Missouri

Maybe you didn’t save enough in your Vacation Savings Account to hit up the Florida Keys this summer, but you still want to get away. Have no fear! We have 8 tried and true family friendly Missouri destinations that will give you that mental refresher you’ve been seeking without hurting your wallet.

1. Missouri State Parks

The parks system in our state is pretty impressive. To help visitors enjoy their stay, the system offers more than 2,000 structures, 3,500 campsites, 194 cabins, almost 2,000 picnic sites, and nearly 1,000 miles of trail. Spend a weekend biking the Elephant Rocks, camping & fishing at the Ozarks, or exploring the castle ruins at HaHa Tonka. There’s literally a park for everything.

2. Hermann Wine Country

The perfect weekend trip for couples, Hermann offers more than just wine consumption. With its German heritage and architecture, you’ll enjoy fine cuisine, outdoor entertainment and wonderful shopping. Zipline (if you dare) across the gorge and then watch the sunset over an inspiring landscape.

3. Forest Park Forever

Sometimes it’s hard to believe Forest Park is real since most of the things within its borders are free. Spend a day monkeying around at the zoo. When it gets too hot to bear, hit up the Art Museum or check out an exhibit at the History Museum. Bring a picnic and then take on a show at the Muny. Everyday breeds new activities and there is always some sort of festival going on.

4. Katy Trail Adventure

Did you know Missouri was named best trails state by American Trails? Of the 1000 miles of trails the state offers, 240 belong to the Katy Trail. Hike and bike to your heart’s content and then log your miles at 100 Missouri Miles. They send you a medal for free when you reach your mile goals!

5. Missouri State Penitentiary

Right next to the Missouri River in Jefferson City, sits this haunting structure.  Step inside the walls of this eerie piece of history that once housed Missouri’s criminals. They offer daily tours as well as haunted night tours, but you must make a reservation because they fill up. Jefferson City has even more to offer when you’re done doing time.

6. Kansas City Road Trip

Spend a weekend in the city of fountains. Kansas City is home to Royals baseball, the Boulevard Brewery (take the free tour!), and Hallmark. The city offers several art museums, 2 presidential libraries, and the City Market. Also, Hallmark has a free children’s center called Kaleidoscope!

7. Land of Mark Twain

Home to the famous writer, Hannibal has great family activities for any weekend trip. Tour the childhood home and museum of Mark Twain with interactive exhibits. Explore the Mark Twain Cave and winery, followed up with a cruise down the Mississippi river on a riverboat. There are several museums and great shopping.

8. Lake of the Ozarks

Not quite the tropical getaway, the Ozarks can boast a fantastic and fiscal alternative. The activities are endless with shopping on the strip, swimming, fishing, and great food. Most restaurants even host music on weekend nights. Cabin rentals can run pretty cheap, especially if you share the weekend with family friends.

Don’t forget to utilize the CO-OP when on vacation this summer so you don’t pay transaction fees. Look for Shared Branches and ATMs where you’re staying. There’s also locator apps for both of these services!

There are tons of cheap and free things to do around town, especially in the summer. You just have to be creative. Have a great summer!