Missouri Road Trip

I’ve always been a big city girl, but lately there’s something about small towns that have been absolutely stealing my heart so a road trip bopping from one cute town to another cute town made for the perfect getaway. Not only were these places beautiful with their charming downtowns and unique personalities, but I had no idea there were so many pockets of history tucked along the Missouri and Mississippi rivers.  

St. Charles

St. Charles was our first stop just 15 minutes from the airport and the homebase for Lewis and Clark! The two-year expedition to find a way to the Pacific Ocean started on the Missouri River, right in St. Charles, and replicas of the boats they used can be seen at the Lewis and Clark Boat House and Museum. Once inside, you learn about the path they took, the challenges they faced along the way and the conditions they endured. It’s truly surreal to stand on the balcony, looking at the river, knowing a major piece of history started right where you’re standing.  

Just steps from the museum is the most idyllic downtown main street with brick sidewalks, cute boutiques, flowers in bloom everywhere and patios filled with people soaking in the early spring sun. One thing that stood out – this is possibly the most dog-friendly city I’ve ever been to, and I live in Denver! You couldn’t go more than a few steps without encountering a pup. Plus, the Foundry Art Centre had an entire exhibit aimed at dogs – complete with obstacle courses and paintings at eye level for dogs, painted in colors they can see! Furry friends are not only welcome, but encouraged at the Lewis and & Clark Boat House and Museum with the perfect sign as you walk in:

“Did you know the first crew member of the Corps of Discovery was Seaman, a giant Newfoundland? We proudly welcome dogs (and their people) in the Boat House Museum!” 

 If you’ve got a pup, don’t leave them behind when you come to St. Charles.  

Hannibal

From St. Charles, we headed north; it’s just under two hours to the home of Mark Twain in Hannibal, Missouri. We got in late and expected the town to be a little sleepy, but instead we found multiple bars with live music you could hear from the street – so much fun! 

First thing in the morning we hit up the first coffee shop west of the Mississippi: Java Jive. We had clearly found the hot spot for breakfast; it felt like the whole town was there. We checked out the Mark Twain Boyhood Home and Museum before making the trek up the 200-plus steps from the Mark Twain Statue to the Mark Twain Memorial Lighthouse (highly recommend for a view of the town and river!). 

The highlight of Hannibal is just outside of town at the Mark Twain Cave. They offer guided tours lasting about an hour and will give you the perfect blend of geology and history as you wander through the caves detailed in the Adventures of Tom Sawyer.” I never would have thought to check out a cave, but it was VERY cool. I also really appreciated the amount of rock and boulder “dad-jokes our guide had on hand. It’s definitely worth the stop, but heads up if you have small kids. It gets a little dark at times.  

Hermann

After Hannibal, our drive took us to Hermann. As soon as we crossed I-70, the scenery changed from countryside farmland to lush and rolling green hills. The signs for wineries started popping up every few miles, so we knew we had entered a Missouri wine country! 

Our winery of choice was Stone Hill Winery, perched on a hill overlooking gorgeous Hermann. The winery is one of the highest-rated and most-awarded in Missouri, and you learn why pretty quickly. They offer free tours of their cellars, which are the largest series of curved underground cellars in North America. Before heading in for a wine tasting, we popped into their Vintage 1847 Restaurant for an incredible lunch – be sure you come hungry and thirsty! The winery itself is stunning and the tasting was super fun. We learned the locals’ routine is to buy a few bottles of wine, some snacks from the winery’s shop and then head out to the picnic tables to enjoy their treats with a view.  

While exploring downtown, we happily learned we had stumbled upon Wurstfest! Hermann’s German heritage is at the forefront of several festivals throughout the year, and I’m so delighted we found one because it was a blast. People were singing and dancing in every bar all day long, wiener dogs were everywhere (ahead of the Wiener Dog Derby) and I had some of the best German food I’ve had since Munich. 

New Haven, Washington, Augusta

We completed our road trip with a gorgeous drive through rolling green hills popping into a few towns along the way. Each one had its own unique downtown, usually right along the river. Washington stood out as a stunner, especially looking back at the waterfront town while you’re crossing the bridge. Leave yourself plenty of breathing room to stop as you please there were so many more cute towns as we were hitting the road. I really felt like each one had its own personality, and I wanted to try every coffee shop and brewery as we went through each downtown. We also stopped for a quick walk in Klondike Park in Augusta. Make sure you head up to the overlook! 

A Few Takeaways From Missouri

The Color  – The first thing I noticed when we hit the road in Missouri were the colors bright green grass, trees flowering with gorgeous pinks and whites and purples. Had it been just a few weeks later, and we would’ve been in peak spring bloom. The rolling green hills through vineyards and along the river made for a beautiful drive start to finish. 

The Food – From German food to unbelievable bakeries and coffee shops  – to breweries and wineries at every corner – come hungry for your weekend in Missouri! Wandering the downtowns, you can pop from place to place knowing you’re supporting locals and are guaranteed a good meal.  

The People – You always know you’re back in the Midwest as soon as you land. The people just exude a kindness that is unique to Missouri, it feels so genuine with every person you encounter. I truly enjoyed every interaction with the people I met and feel like we all could use a little bit of Missouri’s good nature in our everyday lives.  

Kylie Bearse

Kylie Bearse

When I’m not exploring the trails, I’m a Meteorologist! You can see me every weekday morning on Fox31 KDVR from 4:30-10am! Have a weather question? Don’t hesitate to ask!

Kylie Bearse

Kylie Bearse

When I’m not exploring the trails, I’m a Meteorologist! You can see me every weekday morning on Fox31 KDVR from 4:30-10am! Have a weather question? Don’t hesitate to ask!

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Kylie Bearse

Kylie Bearse

When I’m not exploring the trails, I’m a Meteorologist! You can see me every weekday morning on Fox31 KDVR from 4:30-10am! Have a weather question? Don’t hesitate to ask!

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