Best Free Midwest Attractions: Missouri
Missouri State Parks: free
All Missouri State Parks are free! Our favorites are the dramatic formations at Elephant Rocks (left) and the mansion ruins at Ha Ha Tonka.
The giant granite formations at Elephant Rocks, 90 miles southwest of St. Louis, were formed about 1.5 billion years ago when hot magma cooled into crystalline red granite. Huge weathered boulders are accessible today by several trails.
Ha Ha Tonka, a Lake of the Ozarks park, gets its name from a Native American phrase meaning "laughing waters." Visitors can hike to the dramatic hilltop ruins of a 1905-era mansion that caught fire in 1942.