20 Best Things to Do in Rolla, MO

Rolla, MO skyline
Jacob Boomsma / shutterstock.com

A college town in Missouri, Rolla is a lively place to hang out for a weekend or a short vacation.

This city is famous for its engineers, as the Missouri University of Science and Technology is located right here.

But apart from knowing about computers, the people of Rolla sure know how to have fun.

Being in the middle of everything, Rolla has a lot of exciting activities and attractions for tourists to choose from, including kayaking and hiking.

There's never a dull moment in this city.

Here are some of the best things to do in Rolla, Missouri:

Have a Beach Day at the Fugitive Beach

One of the best water parks in Missouri, the Fugitive Beach is the perfect place to go if you want to have some water-related fun.

The water park was once an old quarry, but it was transformed into a fantastic water park after several renovations.

There is a wide range of heights from where you can jump into the water.

If you are brave enough, you can choose the 60-foot rock, but there are also 15 to 20-foot cliffs for those who feel more comfortable jumping from lower heights.

You can also swim around, play water sports, or play volleyball on the man-made beach.

Visit Mark Twain National Forest

The waters of Mark Twain National Forest
Randy Kostichka / Shutterstock.com

Spanning 750 miles, Mark Twain National Forest is one of the biggest national parks in the US.

You can bike or hike around the forest's scenic trails.

The recreational activities are endless here, many of which you can enjoy with your friends or family.

A bridge over the waters of Mark Twain National Forest
Marlene DeGrood / Shutterstock.com

If you want to camp, there are a lot of campsites here for you.

Did you know there are several black bears in Missouri?

You might even see some during your time in Mark Twain National Forest.

Daytime view of a lake at Mark Twain National Forest
Tony Prato / Shutterstock.com

Learn Something New at Ed Clark Museum of Missouri Geology

Want your kids to learn a valuable thing or two about rocks?

The Ed Clark Museum of Missouri is one of the best educational places for children.

The entire rock collection is available for everyone to look at.

The geology of Missouri is explained quite well here.

Ed Clark Museum of Missouri Geology is a nice place to enjoy some quiet, relaxed sightseeing.

Relive Your Childhood at Kokomo Joe’s Family Fun Center

Kokomo Joe’s Family Fun Center is one of the most loved tourist attractions in Rolla.

Are you traveling with the whole family, kids included?

This place has everything you need to have fun indoors, from trampoline parks to escape rooms.

You can even play laser tag or play with go-karts if you're in the mood for some outdoor fun.

Kids love going to this place, and people of every age will find something to do here.

Go Bowling at Coachlite Lanes

Want to enjoy a bowling night with your friends or family?

Coachlite Lanes is the place to go.

It is one of the best bowling venues in Rolla and all of the US.

People prefer this bowling alley as there are 16 lanes in total, and scoring is easy here.

The ambiance is lively, which will make you want to spend more time here.

The well-maintained lanes are appropriate for beginners and experienced bowlers.

Even if you have never tried bowling, you're welcome to try your luck at Coachlite Lanes.

Play Laser Tag at The Zone

Kids love The Zone, as it is kind of like a dreamland to them.

The many activities and amenities on offer include laser tag, roller skating, a jungle gym, and a maze.

You can organize birthday parties or events here.

Everyone claims that the laser maze is fantastic here, too.

The arcade is spacious and filled with games for you to try.

It's the perfect place to spend a fun day with the family.

Catch a Show at Ozark Actors Theatre

When it first opened in 1988, Ozark Actors Theatre did not even have a stage.

Eventually, they remodeled a church to use as their stage.

Now, it is one of the most active theaters in Missouri.

The locals love this place and often flock to the theater for a night of fun and entertainment.

It's also a famous tourist spot, and visitors love the theater's vintage vibe.

There are a lot of shows and events that take place in this theater throughout the year, so you're in for a treat no matter when you visit.

Visit the Quirky Vacuum Cleaner Museum

Display inside the Museum of Vaccums
Fredrik Guldbaek-Svensson / Shutterstock.com

The Vacuum Cleaner Museum is quite an odd museum, but most people find it amusing.

If you've ever happened to be curious about vacuum cleaners, though, this is the place for you.

While it definitely goes without saying, the person who put up this museum is passionate about vacuums.

Two vacuum inside the Vacuum Cleaner Museum
Fredrik Guldbaek-Svensson / Shutterstock.com

The museum comprises a number of rooms filled with vacuums.

You can join a guided tour telling you the story of the first vacuum, how it came into being, and its initial models.

Everyone enjoys going here at least once on a trip to Rolla.

An old vacuum cleaner at Vacuum Cleaner Museum
Fredrik Guldbaek-Svensson / Shutterstock.com

Enjoy a Night at Red Hot & Blue

Want to enjoy some delicious Southern-style BBQ right in the heart of Rolla?

Red Hot & Blue has got you covered.

Apart from having some of the best quality meat, they serve many other fantastic dishes.

Some of the ribs on their menu have even won awards.

Combined with their delicious food, there is always live music going on in the background, which adds to the restaurant's vibe.

All of their walls have been decorated with their awards, memorabilia, and newspaper cuttings.

Shop at Rolla Antique Mall

Are you the type of person that thinks no trip is ever complete without shopping?

Add Rolla Antique Mall to your itinerary.

The mall has two floors filled with vendors with lots of affordable items on display.

You can get your hands on many antique pieces at great deals right here.

Try to bargain with the vendors before finalizing any purchases!

Explore the Little Prairie Conservation Area

Want to visit a refreshing green space in the middle of the busy city?

The Little Prairie Conservation Area is a slice of paradise in the heart of Rolla.

In the middle of the conservation area, there is a quiet lake, around which there are a lot of hiking trails that you can follow.

You can enjoy a picnic here along with your near and dear ones.

Pets are welcome here, too.

Visit the Missouri S&T Stonehenge

Stonehenge in Rolla
Nebraska Puffer Fish, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Have you seen the original Stonehenge?

Rolla has its very own replica of this English landmark, located on the Missouri University Science & Technology campus.

While it incorporates many elements of the original Stonehenge, the Missouri S&T Stonehenge doesn't look exactly like it.

If you want more detailed information about this structure, the plaques on the site have all the necessary information written on them.

Walk around Downtown Rolla

National Parade in Missouri University, Downtown Rolla
Mohammad-amin asareh / Shutterstock.com

Downtown Rolla is quite a nice and cozy place to hang out.

It is the hub of all the recreational activities in Rolla, with many businesses having their shops here.

A pub along Downtown Rolla
Sabrina Janelle Gordon / Shutterstock.com

You can see a lot of cafes and stores where you can shop till you drop.

Downtown Rolla has a lot of tourist attractions, too.

The Phelps County Courthouse and Rollamo Theatre are two such attractions that have been standing tall for hundreds of years.

People walking along Downtown Rolla during a national parade
Mohammad-amin asareh / Shutterstock.com

Go Kayaking and Explore Rolla's Rivers

There are a lot of kayaking options in Rolla.

Kayaking is an excellent way to take a break from your worries and anxieties.

It's a great opportunity to relax your soul and get involved with nature, even if just for a day.

You can also opt for rafting on any of the rivers flowing through the city.

Sit back and take in the views of the serene river and surrounding landscapes.

Stop Over at the Mule Trading Post

The Mule Trading Post is a Route 66 landmark.

Roadwork on Route 66 cut off prospective consumers in 1946 when it opened.

The business has thrived since the owner put it right next to the freeway.

Besides being a shop, the Mule Trading Post is also a museum devoted to Route 66.

The shop's proprietor, Herb Baden, is a big fan of "schlock," which he describes as "historic and deliciously tacky."

Attractions like neon signs and bizarre merchandise have replaced the quarter-priced live chickens that customers used to pay to play a miniature piano.

Immerse Yourself in Nature at Ozark Rivers Audubon – Nature Center

Ozark Rivers Audubon – Nature Center is a must-see for anybody visiting Rolla.

It has over 70 acres of trails and wildlife to discover.

There is a 3-mile-long walk through various ecosystems, including forests, pine forests, glades, grassland, and a riparian zone (habitat wedged between freshwater and land).

Take a walk along the hiking route, have a picnic, or attempt to find as many biological species as you can while you're there.

Learning about the many native flora and ecosystems may also be a pleasant and informative experience.

You may go birdwatching and learn about the Audubon society's conservation work at the same time.

Each month, a new speaker delivers a lecture, and there are often expeditions for bird viewing with the whole group.

It's even better that you don't need any previous hiking expertise to participate in these excursions.

They're open to people of all physical abilities.

Have a Fun Family Day at Rolla Lions Club Den and Park

One of the city's most popular parks offers a wide range of services and facilities.

It also features several fun community events and festivals that you may like throughout the year.

Many sports courts, playgrounds, and pavilions with grills are available for hire.

In addition to a shimmering lake with a pier, there are towering trees and expansive green fields in this lovely scene.

At Rolla Lions Club Den and Park, you and your friends will have an experience you'll never forget.

Picnicking, fishing, mountain biking, and so on are just a few fun things to do here.

While playing sports like baseball, volleyball, and softball, you may work on your team-building abilities.

Chill with Your Friends at Public House Brewing Company

This premium brewpub serves some of Rolla's best craft beers at Public House Brewing Company.

It's a great place to visit with friends at night if you're looking for local favorites.

It has a warm and inviting atmosphere where you can savor mouth-watering cuisine, an excellent beer variety, and private rooms that accommodate up to 35 people.

This brewery is a great place to wind down after a long day of touring, visiting, and participating in other tourist activities.

A pint of flavorful beer accompanies farm-fresh pizzas, sandwiches, paninis, and salads served in a rustic setting.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Join a Sports Team at St. James Recreational Center

Are you into sports?

At St. James Recreational Center, there is always some kind of game going on.

The recreational center is located in the neighboring city of St. James, just a 15-minute drive outside Rolla.

Whether you're into basketball, baseball, or soccer, you can always enroll yourself in any team and join in on the fun.

There are different schedules and sports played here, depending on the season.

Final Thoughts

Do you want to take an unforgettable trip away from your daily routine?

Are you interested in enjoying a variety of activities in addition to sightseeing?

Clear your calendar, organize your belongings, and collect your travel buddies.

A trip to Rolla will surely provide you and your traveling companions with a welcome break from reality.

Enjoy nature, shopping, entertainment, and so much more during your trip to this charming city in Missouri.