There are tons of small towns across Missouri bursting with charm. Take this road trip from Kansas City to south of St. Louis to visit 10 of the most picturesque. Each offers visitors unique things to do, see and experience!
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now:
Start in quaint Parkville, just north of downtown Kansas City. Take a stroll down historic Main Street for antiques, art galleries, boutiques and more. Check out English Landing Park for a hike along the Missouri River or Parkville Nature Sanctuary's wildlife preserve. Don't miss the H.M.S. Beagle, a quirky science shop with telescopes, minerals, chemistry sets and more.
2. Arrow Rock
Head east on I-70 and take a short detour to Arrow Rock. The entire town, located northwest of Columbia, is a National Historic Landmark. Be sure to stop in at the J. Huston Taven, the oldest operating restaurant west of the Mississippi, and the home of iconic Missouri artist George Caleb Bingham.
Next, head to Rocheport, located just west of Columbia. Situated on the attractive Missouri River bluffs, the town was founded in the early 1800s as a trading post. Go to Les Bourgeois Vineyards to sample Missouri wine and enjoy a picnic and stunning views of the river. Rent a bike and take a spin on the Katy Trail. Before heading on to your next stop, visit the downtown area for shops, galleries and the Rocehport general store.
Hop back on I-70 then south on 94 to reach your next stop, Hermann. There's tons to choose from in this quaint German town: picturesque wineries, a cool brewery, the Deutschheim State Historic Site, and a lot more. Whatever you do, don't miss the awesome sausages at the Wurst Haus.
From Hermann, take Highway 100 until you reach Washington. This picturesque small town is located on the Missouri River and offers visitors museums, walking tours, historic architecture, art galleries, wineries, antique shops, farmers markets and more. If you need to fuel up, hit John G's Bier Deck for a great meal.
A short jaunt north on 47 and east on 94 brings you to Augusta. This charming village is popular with bikers, as it's located just off the Katy Trail. After you stretch your legs a bit, hit up a winery (there are several, but two of the best are Montelle Winery and Mount Pleasant) or Augusta Brewing Company (which has live music on Sundays). Head to nearby Defiance to visit Daniel Boone's home.
Make your way to Pacific, a Route 66 town. This charming town was founded in the 1850s as the start of a railroad being built to head west to the Pacific Ocean. You'll find historic architecture, a Route 66 model railroad museum and Yogi Bear's Jellystone Park.
Head east on I-44 and south on I-55 to get to Kimmswick, located just south of St. Louis. This village hosts many seasonal festivals, like the strawberry and bluegrass festivals in June and the apple butter festival in October. Even if you're visiting outside festival time, there's still plenty to do. Here you'll find art galleries, antique shops and boutiques, as well as the iconic Blue Owl Bakery.
9. Ste. Genevieve
Next, head south until you hit Ste. Genevieve. You'll think you stepped back in time when you see the town's French Colonial architecture. This is another big winery town, so be sure to visit one for a sample. Considered Missouri's oldest town, it's chock full of historic architecture, quaint shops, adorable bed and breakfasts and more. Go on a historic house tour or, only for the brave, sign up for a lantern-led ghost tour through the historic district.
Ironton, located southeast of Ste. Genevieve, is perfect for Missouri history buffs. The town was an important player in the state's iron industry and offers visitors antebellum homes, beautiful churches, and other historic buildings of note (particularly the Iron County Courthouse). Be sure to stop in at Elephant Rocks State Park, located just 10 minutes north of Ironton.