The 6 Most Stunningly Scenic Drives in Missouri

Written by Jennifer Gaeng
Published: September 15, 2023
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Missouri, often referred to as the “Show Me State,” is a hidden gem when it comes to scenic drives. From rolling hills to picturesque valleys, this Midwestern state offers a plethora of breathtaking landscapes that are best explored on the open road. Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, an adventure seeker, or simply someone who appreciates the beauty of the great outdoors, Missouri has something to offer everyone.

In this article, we will take you on a journey through the six most stunningly scenic drives in Missouri. Each route will guide you through a different part of the state, showcasing its unique charm and natural wonders. From the majestic Ozark Mountains to the winding rivers and historic towns, these drives will leave you awe-inspired and craving for more.

So, buckle up, start your engines, and get ready to embark on an unforgettable journey as we explore the six most stunningly scenic drives in Missouri. Let the natural beauty of the state unfold before your eyes and leave you with memories that will last a lifetime.

1.      Highway 19:

Highway 19 in Missouri is a stunning route that takes you through the captivating landscapes of the region. The drive offers breathtaking views of the Ozark Mountains, with towering peaks, lush greenery, and winding paths that create a sense of wonder.

The drive also showcases the picturesque rolling hills of southern Missouri, adorned with vibrant foliage, providing a serene and tranquil experience. Along the way, you’ll have the chance to explore charming small towns and connect with the local community, immersing yourself in the rich cultural heritage of the region.

Whether you’re a nature enthusiast or simply seeking an escape into the beauty of the outdoors, Highway 19 promises an unforgettable journey through Missouri’s breathtaking landscapes.

2.      Route 94 Wine Trail:

The Route 94 Wine Trail is a must-visit destination for wine enthusiasts and nature lovers alike. Nestled in the heart of Missouri wine country, this scenic drive treats visitors to breathtaking views of sprawling vineyards, rolling hills, and picturesque small towns.

As you embark on this enchanting journey, you’ll be captivated by the lush vineyards that stretch as far as the eye can see. The neatly lined rows of grapevines create a mesmerizing pattern against the backdrop of the rolling hills, painting a picture-perfect scene.

Along the trail, you’ll also encounter charming small towns that exude a welcoming atmosphere. These towns offer a glimpse into the rich history and culture of the region, with quaint shops, cozy cafes, and local wineries waiting to be discovered.

The Route 94 Wine Trail not only provides an opportunity to indulge in the flavors of Missouri wines but also allows you to immerse yourself in the natural beauty that surrounds you. With every twist and turn, you’ll be treated to breathtaking vistas and the soothing serenity of the countryside.

3.      Route 79:

Route 79, also known as the “Great River Road,” is a captivating drive that follows the majestic Mississippi River. This scenic route offers travelers panoramic vistas of the river, towering bluffs, and charming historic river towns.

As you embark on this enchanting journey, the mighty Mississippi River unfolds before you, stretching as far as the eye can see. The tranquil waters reflect the endless sky, creating a sense of serenity and wonder.

The drive showcases the dramatic bluffs that line the river’s edge. These grand limestone and sandstone formations rise majestically from the water, providing a breathtaking backdrop against the river’s gentle flow. The bluffs not only offer a glimpse into the region’s geological history but also create a striking contrast to the peaceful river below.

Along the way, you’ll have the opportunity to explore historic river towns, each with its own unique charm. These towns are steeped in rich history and showcase well-preserved historic buildings, inviting boutiques, and delightful restaurants. Immerse yourself in the local culture and hospitality as you stroll along the quaint Main Streets.

In addition to its scenic beauty, the “Great River Road” offers a range of recreational activities. Fishing, boating, and birdwatching are popular pastimes, allowing visitors to connect with nature and appreciate the thriving ecosystem along the riverbanks.

Whether you’re a history buff, a nature enthusiast, or simply seeking a peaceful escape, Route 79 promises an unforgettable journey. Let the “Great River Road” guide you through stunning views, historic towns, and natural wonders, making this route truly exceptional.

4.      Route 65:

Route 65 is a captivating drive that meanders through the picturesque Ozark hills, treating travelers to breathtaking views of Table Rock Lake and the charming Branson area. As you embark on this scenic journey, you’ll be immersed in the natural beauty of the Ozarks.

The drive offers stunning vistas of Table Rock Lake, a serene and expansive body of water nestled amidst the rolling hills. The glistening lake, surrounded by lush greenery, creates a tranquil and idyllic setting that is sure to leave you in awe.

In addition to the lake, Route 65 provides glimpses of the vibrant Branson area. Known for its lively entertainment scene and family-friendly attractions, Branson offers a delightful blend of natural beauty and entertainment options. From live music shows to theme parks and outdoor activities, there is something for everyone in this vibrant destination.

Whether you’re a nature lover, a fan of live entertainment, or simply seeking a peaceful escape, Route 65 promises a memorable journey through the stunning Ozark hills. Let this scenic drive guide you as you take in the beautiful views of Table Rock Lake and explore the vibrant Branson area.

5.      Route 66:

Historic Route 66 road sign in Missouri along Route 44, Crawford County, Missouri

Route 66 is an iconic highway that stretches across the U.S. and travels right through the heart of Missouri.

©Joseph Sohm/

Route 66, also known as the “Main Street of America,” is an iconic highway that stretches across the United States, and Missouri is lucky enough to be a part of its historic legacy. Get ready to embark on a journey full of nostalgia and adventure as you traverse Route 66 through the heart of Missouri.

As you begin your drive down Route 66 in Missouri, you’ll be transported back in time to the golden era of American road trips. This legendary highway is lined with remnants of the past, including neon signs, vintage gas stations, and classic diners that evoke a sense of nostalgia for the bygone days of the 1950s.

The route takes you through charming small towns and vibrant cities, each offering its own unique attractions and landmarks. From the bustling city of St. Louis with its iconic Gateway Arch to the quaint town of Cuba, known as the “Route 66 Mural City,” there is something for everyone along this historic road.

The drive down Route 66 in Missouri is not just about the destinations but also about the journey itself. As you cruise along the highway, you’ll be surrounded by breathtaking landscapes, rolling hills, and open fields that showcase the natural beauty of the state.

Whether you’re a history buff, a lover of vintage Americana, or simply seeking an unforgettable adventure, Route 66 in Missouri promises to deliver. So, buckle up, roll down the windows, and get ready to get your kicks as you explore the treasures and charm of Missouri on this iconic highway.

6.      Route 21:

Route 21, also known as the “Missouri Valley Road,” is a captivating drive that leads you through the breathtaking Arcadia Valley. This scenic route provides a mesmerizing showcase of the natural beauty of the St. Francois Mountains and the historic charm of Pilot Knob.

As you embark on this picturesque journey, you’ll be immersed in the awe-inspiring landscapes of the Arcadia Valley. The majestic St. Francois Mountains, with their rugged peaks and lush greenery, create a stunning backdrop that will leave you speechless. The mountains are a haven for outdoor enthusiasts, offering opportunities for hiking, biking, and exploring the numerous trails that wind through the area.

Along the route, you’ll come across the historic town of Pilot Knob, a place steeped in history and rich in character. This quaint town is home to significant landmarks, such as the Pilot Knob State Historic Site, where you can learn about the area’s role in the Civil War. The town’s charming streets, lined with historic buildings and quaint shops, invite you to take a leisurely stroll and soak in its unique ambiance.

As you traverse Route 21, you’ll be treated to scenic overlooks that offer panoramic views of the surrounding valley. The lush green forests, picturesque meadows, and meandering rivers create a captivating tapestry of nature’s beauty.

In Conclusion

The scenic drives in Missouri offer a captivating blend of natural beauty, history, and adventure. From the rolling hills of the Ozarks to the picturesque valleys and winding rivers, each route presents a unique experience that will leave you in awe. Whether you’re a local looking to explore your own backyard or a traveler seeking a road trip filled with stunning vistas, Missouri has it all. So, pack your bags, hit the road, and let the breathtaking landscapes of the Show Me State unfold before your eyes. Discover the hidden gems, embrace the serenity of nature, and create memories that will last a lifetime on these six stunningly scenic drives in Missouri!

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Alexander Lukatskiy/

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About the Author

Jennifer Gaeng is a writer at A-Z-Animals focused on animals, lakes, and fishing. With over 15 years of collective experience in writing and researching, Jennifer has honed her skills in various niches, including nature, animals, family care, and self-care. Hailing from Missouri, Jennifer finds inspiration in spending quality time with her loved ones. Her creative spirit extends beyond her writing endeavors, as she finds joy in the art of drawing and immersing herself in the beauty of nature.

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