With summertime approaching, we all have a bit of wanderlust but can’t always get away on vacation. Missouri has some great and interesting places to do day trips right outside of St. Louis. Whether you are from here or a transplant, we believe these spots afford some great photo opportunities and a place to make memories.
One of the most intriguing natural wonders around St Louis, the Meramec caverns are more than deserving of a mention on the list of best day trips. Missouri is, after all, known as the cave state – and these caverns are far and away some of the best on offer. Not only are they a stunning example of nature’s work, but they are also the oldest attraction along Route 66, and have some interesting historical claims to fame. Jesse James was rumored to have used the caves as a hideout, and before that, they are thought to have been used as shelter by Native Americans.
An intriguing natural attraction in the surrounds of St Louis is Johnson’s Shut-Ins. A park created by volcanic activity long ago, the river’s flow has created pools, rapids, and waterfalls that make for fun exploration. There are hiking trails alongside, or in the summer you might simply sit around by one of the crystalline swimming spots and take a dip. There are plenty of picnic spots to make this a great family day out, and there’s an excellent visitors’ center to make your trip that bit easier.
Shaw Nature Reserve
Located just 30 minutes outside of the city, nature abounds in Shaw Nature Reserve. Over fourteen miles of trails you can experience a variety of different landscapes, from meadows to forests, as well as plenty of different fauna. If walking isn’t your thing you can always take a ride on the Wilderness Wagon instead – or simply pack a picnic and find a nice spot in which to sit. There are three different picnic areas in the park, plus a lovely outdoor classroom for the kids, with plenty of toys and equipment to keep them entertained.
Diving in Bonne Terre Mine
The largest freshwater dive site in the USA is located just south of St Louis along Highway 67. French for ‘good earth’, the site used to be a functioning mine before being flooded. It’s a fascinating underwater adventure, and divers can see the mine just as it was left: ore carts, picks, and locomotives all lying just as they were in 1961 when it was abandoned. If you don’t dive, it’s still possible to experience the site above water, by taking a narrated tour around the underground rooms of the mines. A boat ride is another option.
Ozark National Scenic Riverways
Though it is a fair way from St Louis, the Ozark National Scenic Riverways is nonetheless worth a visit if you’ve exhausted the closer options. This was the first national park area to protect a river system, and it’s easy to see why it was designated a protected area in 1964. There are two particularly famous rivers – the Jacks Fork River and Current River – which was the initial reason for the creation of the national park, but there are also heaps of other swimming spots, hikes, and historic sites in the area.
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