For Boonville's residents, this community is home. For visitors, Boonville is becoming more enticing since it was just named one of the top 10 small town to visit — not only in the state, but in the nation by smithsonianmag.com.
Few within town recognize that Boonville is a tourist spot. They live in Boonville every day. But, Boonville is receiving visitors from around the state, nation and world on a daily basis to see what this town has to offer.

For Boonville's residents, this community is home. For visitors, Boonville is becoming more enticing since it was just named one of the top 10 small town to visit — not only in the state, but in the nation by smithsonianmag.com.
Few within town recognize that Boonville is a tourist spot. They live in Boonville every day. But, Boonville is receiving visitors from around the state, nation and world on a daily basis to see what this town has to offer.
For instance, according to the article released by smithsonianmag.com, 'Boonville is home to hundreds of historic locations—from 2,000-year-old Native American burial grounds to the 1860s Rivercene Mansion, built by a wealthy riverboat captain and now a graceful bed and breakfast. There are also sites associated with the Sante Fe Trail, the Civil War and Jesse James, not to mention the Katy Trail — the former Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad converted into the nation's largest rails-to-trails project, which celebrates its 25th anniversary this year. 2015 also sees the 40th anniversary of the Missouri River Festival of the Arts, held August 27-29 at Thespian Hall, the oldest theatre still in use west of the Allegheny Mountains and a former Civil War hospital. One of the nation's most extensive collections of antique Mitchell cars and wagons also just opened up at the Mitchell Antique Motorcar Museum, while a little further out of town, you can meet the Budweiser Clydesdales at their 300-acre breeding facility, Warm Springs Ranch.'
This list is the fourth annual list compiled by the Smithsonian Magazine.
"We once again worked with the geographical information company ESRI to sort the nation’s small towns (those with a population under 20,000) according to their number of cultural attractions, historical sites, nature opportunities and food-and-drink destinations, then researched to find the places commemorating important anniversaries, openings, renovations, recoveries and other milestones in 2015," author of the list Bess Lovejoy stated.
Making number one was Estes Park, Colo. For Boonville, making number nine was quite an achievement.
While Boonville's downtown has seen an increase of specialty and antique shops, this has been very enticing, not only for area collectors, but for visitors as well.
"We have customers who come into our store from across the United States. We always ask where they are from and what brought them to Boonville. A lot of people tell us that they get online to search for a good place to visit and Boonville somehow always shows up. Others who are traveling I-70 often stop in to see what Boonville is all about. Many tell us they like the town and will be back," Cheryl Deelo of Never the Same said.
Deelo said with the amount of people they talk to on a daily basis, they have seen an increase of people from out of town. With Boonville being in the top 10 list for best places to visit, this does not surprise Deelo either.
"This doesn't shock me too much because I have been questioning how people from Poland and others from around the world know about Boonville," she said. "It's a fun little town. We enjoy what we do and the people we get to meet."
One memory Deelo had, was of a road trip that someone took, not knowing of their final destination.
"There was one customer who said they left Ohio for a drive and ended up in Boonville," Deelo said.
To make the list, Boonville had to offer more than the status quo, it also had to offer new and exciting events and places to see. In fact, in the last couple years, things to do in Boonville has been increasing.
"They (Smithsonian Magazine) were wanting to look for small towns under 20,000 that have a lot of new and exciting things coming down the pipeline in 2015," Boonville Tourism Director Katie Gibson said.
She added that Boonville will be adding the Mitchell Car Musuem and will have anniversaries for the Katy Trail and the Missouri River Festival of the Arts.
"Boonville stood out from many of the other towns that were in the running," Gibson said.
Gibson herself is not from Boonville. She chose Boonville as her home after traveling the world with her husband, while he was in the United States Navy.
"This has made me appreciate Boonville's small town charm, while many living in a small town may take for granted what many visitors appreciate," Gibson.
She added that many in the community may not realize what Boonville has to offer.
"How many area residents have ever been to Warm Springs Ranch? It brings in thousands of visitors a year," Gibson said.
While Boonville has some destination spots, it alone only offers what Gibson calls light tourism. In fact, visitors, when they come to the town, see a working community–not a resort or even a Disneyland.
With the Katy Trail alone, countless bikers discover Boonville, who often return.
Dennis Ward rode into Boonville on the nations longest rails to trails project yesterday. He only has one more day left, which will complete the trail for him. He along with his wife like to visit the small communities along the old MKT path. While they do not often get away from their central Arkansas farm, when they do, they like to explore states that surround Arkansas.
"I came to Missouri to ride the Katy Trail. I thought it was absolutely wonderful. Missouri has a treasure they need to love because it is wonderful," Ward said.
"It is also wonderful how people take care of their land," Ward said as a tourist who likes to see working communities.
Ward and his wife planned to see what Boonville had to offer that evening. While this was his first trip to Missouri, he had one other goal in mind, one that may bring him back.
"I will be really interested when they complete the Katy Bridge," Ward said.