Winding its way through seven states, the beautiful Missouri River provides scenic routes and fun recreational activities for Midwesterners. It’s also surrounded by bluffs, plains, and forests that boast breathtaking views of nature. Whether you experience the river by heading out on the water, driving along the shore, or hiking close to the water’s edge, the Missouri River is not to be missed and can create lasting memories for both you and your family.
The Missouri River is perfect for water sports and has several places for kayaking and canoeing activities. One of the best locations to start a kayak or canoe journey is at the Ft. Randall Dam Spillway in South Dakota, which is the starting point of the Missouri National Recreational River Water Trail. With smooth waters and peaceful streams, you and your family can glide down the river and observe the gorgeous, natural scenery that the Midwest has to offer. Stops along the way might include Sunshine Bottom, Running Water, Riverside Park, and Rosenbaum.
If you’re a fishing enthusiast, head on over to Kansas City in Missouri for plenty of fishing spots right on the river. Here, you’ll have a chance to catch large Flathead Catfish, Blue Catfish, Common Carp, and Shovelnose Sturgeon. If you’re lucky, you could reel in a Walleye or Striped Bass as well. Just be sure to bring your camera for the great views of the river.
Hiking or Biking
For those who are craving adventure along the river, be sure to visit the Bow Creek Recreation Area in Cedar County, which is two miles from Wynot, Nebraska. You’ll find many different trails here that are excellent for hiking or biking along the river as well. And if you’re a fan of bridges overlooking the water, you’ll also want to walk the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge, a footbridge that spans the river between Council Bluffs, Iowa and Omaha, Nebraska, which is ideal for bikers.
Another favorite spot for walking or biking is the Daniel Boone Bridge on the Monarch Levee Trail in Missouri and has lovely views of both the river and stretch of greenery surrounding the area. And while you’re in Missouri, try visiting the Missouri River Valley. It contains several vineyards, farms, forests, and trails that are a great location for hikers.
Driving along the Missouri River can be a relaxing experience, and the best place to start would be in the state of Montana. You can begin at Fort Benton and follow the river downstate through several charming towns. If you drive the 41-mile trek to Great Falls, you can experience the Giant Springs State Park, boating activities, bird watching, and more.
Other enjoyable road trips include The Wild & Scenic Middle Missouri River, which is a car tour that winds its way through South Dakota and Nebraska. It begins at the Chief Standing Bear Memorial Bridge and runs for 65-miles to the Fort Randall Historic site. The scenic roads take you close to the river’s edge and provide interesting history facts of the Ponca Indians and exhibits relating to Lewis and Clark.