A Trio of Family Road Trips in Missouri

Highway 36 – The Way of American Genius

Stretching across the northern part of Missouri, The Way of American Genius connects towns, individuals and events that embody American creativity and innovation. Locations – and their claim to fame – include:
  • Hannibal: Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain) spent his boyhood years in Hannibal. Take a riverboat ride on the Mississippi and learn more about Twain at museums such as the Mark Twain Boyhood Home and Museum, shows and other attractions including Mark Twain Cave – featured in Twain’s novels. Clemens’ signature was recently discovered – and authenticated – on the wall of the cave.
  • Marceline: As a boy, Walt Disney spent several years in Marceline. He modeled the Disney parks’ Main Street USA after Marceline’s downtown. Learn more about Disney at the Walt Disney Hometown Museum
  • Chillicothe: The small town is known as The Home of Sliced Bread. In 1928, the Chillicothe Baking Company was the first company in the world to sell commercially sliced bread. See the machine invented by Otto Rohwedder – on loan from the Smithsonian.
  • St. Joseph: Visit the birthplace of the Pony Express, the relay system designed to deliver mail to the west.
Highway 19 – Water Adventure

Travel to an area crisscrossed by crystal-clear rivers and sparkling springs, perfect places for camping, hiking and fishing. Highlights include:
  • Ozark National Scenic Riverways – The Jacks Fork and Current rivers make up the country’s first national park area to protect a river system. Visitors enjoy the lush forests and rock bluffs while they canoe, kayak or raft down the rivers.
  • Beautiful natural springs are located minutes off Highway 19. Picturesque Alley Mill sits alongside teal-colored Alley Spring. Short hikes take you to the brilliant aqua waters of Round Spring and Blue Spring, one of the deepest springs in the country.
  • Near Alton, hike through the rugged Ozark terrain to reach Greer Spring, the state’s second largest, churning out more than 200 million gallons of water a day. The water flows into the Eleven Point River, offering float trips and trout fishing.
 
Highway 21 – Ozark Beauty and History

Journey into the Ozark Mountains, some of the oldest mountains in the U.S., filled with opportunities to explore history and the outdoors.
Places to stop along the way include:
  • Washington State Park – The park contains the largest group of petroglyphs ever found in Missouri and provides clues about the Native Americans who inhabited the region dating back to 1,000 AD.
  • Elephant Rocks State Park – Marvel at billion-year-old giant pink granite boulders lined up like a row of circus elephants. A mile-long paved trail makes the park easy to explore.
  • Battle of Pilot Knob State Historic Site – Visit the site of one of Missouri’s largest, hard-fought Civil War battles.
  • Johnson’s Shut-Ins State Park – Take a dip in Missouri’s unique “swimming hole” where the Black River has carved out pools and chutes in ancient volcanic rock, creating a natural “waterpark.”
  • Taum Sauk Mountain – A short walk will take to you scenic views from Missouri’s highest point.
 

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