Looking for inspiration for your next group trip? We’ve asked local experts to share their favorite Missouri vacations across the state

Group sales managers may be busy, but they still love taking time to explore all that the Show-Me State has to offer. We’ve asked three experts for their takes on the best of Missouri vacations to help you find inspiration and start creating your next great group travel experience.

Lake of the Ozarks

“Although it’s tough to choose just one, I would say spending time with family at the Lake of the Ozarks is my favorite activity. I was lucky enough to enjoy many weekends at the lake growing up and still look forward to our visits. Tourists come from all over the country to explore the lake. How cool is it that I’m less than an hour away from this great destination? If you’re looking for a fun getaway within driving distance, check out some of the many wonderful restaurants, recreational activities and entertainment options the lake has to offer.

Start your day with breakfast at Stewart’s Restaurant, home of the ‘Biggest Cinnamon Roll at the Lake.’ After you’ve satisfied your appetite, head to the water for a leisurely boat ride. Kick back and enjoy the gentle breeze and beautiful sights as you leave all your worries behind. From swimming and waterskiing to soaking up the sun, there are so many ways to enjoy the lake. After a full day of boating and outdoor recreation, it’s time for dinner with a view at a waterfront restaurant. One of my favorite dining experiences is Frankie & Louie’s Beachfront Bar & Grill. Settle in for an evening of delicious food, live music and beach volleyball. The next morning, wake up early for a hike along the beautiful trails at Ha Ha Tonka State Park. The site offers miles of nature trails, a huge natural bridge and the ruins of a historic turn-of-the-century castle. Whether going for a boat ride, dining at one of the many waterfront restaurants or simply relaxing on the dock, the Lake of the Ozarks is always an enjoyable getaway.”

Jordan Rowles

Convention & Group Sales Manager

Jefferson City Convention & Visitors Bureau


“Did you know that Marceline, Missouri, is the hometown of Walt Disney? This lovely community gives you a rare opportunity to walk in the footsteps of a true American legend and sends you off with a better understanding of why this piece of small-town Missouri inspired Walt Disney throughout his career.

The Walt Disney Hometown Museum is located at 120 E. Santa Fe Avenue in a beautifully renovated Santa Fe Railway station. It started with a generous donation from Walt’s younger sister, Ruth. The museum contains 10,000 square feet of immersive Disney history. You can take a self-guided tour through Walt’s life via ‘story stations’ dotted throughout the building, while browsing some of the 4,000 artifacts donated by the Disney family – from their collection of personal family letters to the extensive cross-section of fascinating Disney collectibles.  After the museum tour, explore the city of Marceline for additional Disney connections. Enjoy the new Midget Autopia Walking Trail in EP Ripley Park, take in a meal or do a little shopping on the original Main Street USA. The Main Street USA at Disneyland and Disney World are patterned after Main Street in Marceline. Wind up the day with a walk through the historic Disney Family Farm. Sections of the original 45-acre property are still accessible, with highlight stops at the original Dreaming Tree site and Walt’s Barn. Everyone is encouraged to sign the inside of the barn or simply read the thousands of notes to Walt and his brother Roy left for decades by fans who walked the same path before you. Marceline is a bucket-list moment for true Disney lovers. It makes you simply young at heart again!”

Jolene Dempster

Group Sales/Services Manager

St. Joseph Convention & Visitors Bureau

The Way of American Genius

“One of my favorite getaways is when I head to Highway 36, an hour north of Interstate 70, which explores the northern part of Missouri. Referred to as The Way of American Genius, this road explores the area’s natural beauty and some of the Show-Me State’s greatest innovators and innovations.

Traveling east to west, my first stop is Hannibal, where you’ll find several attractions connected to famous author Mark Twain. You’ll learn about the father of osteopathic medicine, Dr. Andrew Taylor Still, at the A.T. Still Museum of Osteopathic Medicine in Kirksville. Then stop at Rothwell Park in Moberly for a selfie with a statue of American military genius, General Omar N. Bradley.

The central portion of Highway 36 brings you to the childhood home of Walt Disney in Marceline. About 20 miles west of Marceline you’ll find the boyhood home of another great military leader, General John J. ‘Black Jack’ Pershing, in Laclede. Jamesport and Chillicothe are the next two stops in the central region. Jamesport is home to one of the largest Amish communities west of the Mississippi, and Chillicothe is known as ‘The Home of Sliced Bread.’

Hamilton, in the western region of the state, is the hometown of James Cash ‘J.C.’ Penney. You can learn more about the man who created a retail empire at the J.C. Penney Library and Museum. St. Joseph, the starting point for the Pony Express, is your final stop. For a look at one of history’s most notable characters, visit the Jesse James Home, where the outlaw was killed by one of his own gang members in 1882. Along the way you’ll find locally owned cafes, bakeries, wineries and breweries that offer a true taste of the Show-Me State. Take your time and enjoy all ‘The Way of American Genius’ has to offer.”

Greg Maxon

Group Travel Sales Manager/Operations Manager

Greater Saint Charles Convention & Visitors Bureau

If you’d like more great group travel ideas in Missouri, check out the Missouri Group Tour Guide and be sure to Subscribe to Leisure Group Travel to stay up to date with our latest travel news.