Missouri: Jefferson City, Columbia and Boonville
This self-guided auto tour includes Jefferson City and the historic Missouri State Capitol, Columbia and the state historical art galleries with the work of Thomas Hart Benton, Boonville and the Boonville Village Center and Rivers, Rails and Trails Museum, Arrow Rock, Sedalia, Ha Ha Tonka State Park, and Lake of the Ozarks State Park.
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Jefferson City was named for the nation’s third president, whose superb vision sent Lewis & Clark and the Corps of Discovery on their quest to find a route to the Pacific Ocean. Thomas Jefferson’s imposing statue at the Missouri State Capitol and the Lewis & Clark Statues at Trailhead Plaza on the capitol grounds remind visitors just how important the Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail is to Missourians, and all Americans. Displays in the State Museum inside the Capitol and the Thomas Hart Benton masterpiece mural in the House Lounge emphasize that pride.
Jefferson Landing has a unique museum in the historic 1839 Lohman Building. There is also the 1855 Union Hotel and Rozier Gallery. Jefferson City includes the Missouri State Penitentiary Museum which has fascinating exhibits on famous criminals. Hike/bike travelers on the Katy Trail have access to Jefferson City’s attractions including the Runge Nature Center trails and wildlife exhibits. The Museum of Missouri Military History and the Cole County Historical Museum are also popular.
Trail travelers can take a side trip to Fulton to visit the National Churchill Museum. It commemorates the historic appearance of World War II Prime Minister Winston Churchill who on March 5, 1946, made the world aware that the deadly “Iron Curtain” had fallen and split Europe in two during the Cold War face-off with the Soviet Union.
Columbia is the largest city in central Missouri and offers an outstanding variety of attractions, events, and experiences. Columbia is home to the University of Missouri and has a number of cultural, historic, and entertainment venues. The State Historical Society Art Galleries showcase Thomas Hart Benton and George Caleb Bingham paintings. Columbia’s vibrant downtown district includes the North Village Arts District plus an array of dining and entertainment venues. The Martin Luther King Memorial Gardens walking trail features plaques that include quotes from the famed civil rights leader. The Finger Lakes State Park north of the city has lakes for swimming and boating and trails for off-road biking.
Experience the Katy Bridge and the Missouri River overlook at Harley Park with a view of the Boone’s Lick Country where Daniel Boone’s sons originally had a salt business. Missouri’s popular Katy Trail State Park runs right through Boonville. Next to the trailhead is the Boonville Visitor Center and River, Rails and Trails Museum. The museum houses a half-scale replica of the Lewis & Clark Expedition’s keelboat along with other memorabilia from Lewis & Clark, Boonville’s early pioneers, steamboats, and railroad history. There you can arrange a tour at the Mitchell Antique Motorcar Museum, or pick up the Boonville Walking History Tour which includes over 20 historic places including the Old Cooper County Jail and Hanging Barn. Also nearby is Warm Springs Ranch, Budweiser’s premier breeding facility for their famous Clydesdales.
To the west is Arrow Rock National Historic Landmark and State Historic Site where the Santa Fe Trail began. The visitor center features exhibits on both the Santa Fe Trail and the Lewis & Clark Trail. The J. Huston Tavern is one of the oldest continuous operating restaurants west of the Mississippi. The one-mile Lewis & Clark Trail of Discovery along the old river wharf and nearby bluffs and the Arrow Rock Walking Tours in the community lead to the J. Huston Tavern, the George Caleb Bingham House, and Sappington Museum.
Jim the Wonder Dog Park celebrates the famous canine’s legend. The Marshall Civil War Driving Tour includes the Dennis Brothers Monument that honors one brother who fought for the north and the other brother who fought for the south.
The Missouri State Fairgrounds is the location of a year-round event center with the fair itself leading a list of racing events, livestock and horse shows, craft shows, and more. The Katy Trail runs through Sedalia before ending in nearby Clinton, Missouri. The Liberty Association for the Arts and the Daum Museum of Contemporary Art provide an array of events and exhibitions. The Pettis County Courthouse murals and the Sedalia City Hall murals portray the community’s yesterdays. Visitors can follow the Heritage Trail to historic sites, restaurants and entertainment venues. Go to the historic Katy Depot Visitor Center for more details.
Harry Truman State Park along with the sprawling Truman Reservoir off of US 65, offer great boating, fishing and swimming, boat ramps, a marina, hiking trails, and campgrounds.
Pomme de Terre State Park and Pomme de Terre Lake
Below Hermitage off US 54 are lakes geared for all types of water sports and fishing. There are hundreds of coves where fun seekers can get away and catch a Muskie or two. The park has campgrounds, a marina, beaches, boat launches, and hiking trails.
Ha Ha Tonka State Park
South of Camdenton on US 54 features amazing caves, sinkholes, springs, natural bridges, adventure trails, fishing areas, and picnic areas.
Lake of the Ozarks State Park
This state park is located at Kaiser on Rte 134. The wooded hills and miles of shoreline provide great getaways to have fun, relax, and stay cool. Camper cabins, beaches, marinas, trail rides, mountain biking, and hiking trails are all available.
Lake of the Ozarks
Missouri’s largest lake has over 1,150 miles of shoreline. Alhonna Resort and Marina has fishing boats, ski boats, pontoons, three swimming pools, hot tubs, and restaurants. The Lodge of Four Seasons is a full-service resort and marina. The Willmore Lodge Visitors Center and Museum is housed in a 6,700-square-foot log cabin just east of Bagnell Dam.
For more information, visit www.VisitjeffersonCity.com