I’m from MO.
We have at least one really great boating lake - Table Rock. The water is clean and clear and very very deep in some spots. Yeah it’s near Branson which is corny but also can be fun. I’m not a fan of the Ozarks but if you have a gigantic boat and don’t like swimming it’s just fine. Too choppy for smaller boats and some e-coli issues sometimes…but the state park thing there is beautiful. Also there is of course the rivers to boat on, which is what my family does nowadays. Easy boat ride to all sorts of interesting places off the river in MO and IL.
There are a lot of wineries here. Hermann, Augusta, and I’ve also been to some in Jefferson City and Columbia areas.
The St. Louis zoo is pretty sweet and FREE. Forest Park is truly a gem and I am glad it’s here. When the weather is nice here being there is wonderful. Nothing like a picnic with good food and wine sitting by the Grand Basin watching all the people.
Driving across the state on I-70 is truly horrible, I will admit. It’s St. Louis, then nothing, then Columbia (which only takes like 10 mins to drive by), then nothing, then Kansas City. The whole cross-state drive is about 4.5 hours on a shitty highway. But I went to college in Columbia so I am used to it. And Columbia does suck but there are also some good parts like Rock Bridge park. And driving around one minute you can be in a heavily populated area and another minute be somewhere that feels like you are in the middle of nowhere.
We have some good sports (Cardinals, sometimes Blues) and some shitty ones (Rams! and the Royals kinda suck too) but we are really into it, which is fun.
If you like having 4 seasons then MO may be for you. Or, rather, if you like retardedly unpredictable weather. Sometimes its 60 in both December and July. Sometimes its 100 in the summer. But then a few days later it may be 80 and absolutely perfect. Some winters are horrid for ice and snow and some years we hardly get any.
I dunno, MO is good for people who like to be outside. There is tons of wilderness and open land and parks, rivers and lakes and streams, bigass hills. Our bigger cities tend to have awesome stuff but you have to find it.
I don’t see how a tourist would ever understand what St. Louis is really like unless they hook up with a good local friend to show them around. STL is a city of neighborhoods and the good is spread all around. I think that’s why a lot of us STL people are defensive when people rag on our city - a lot of them really don’t know what they’re talking about. I wouldn’t call our city the best, and I will possibly get out in a few years, but we don’t deserve all the hate we get.