Trip Ideas: U.S. 63 Itinerary Part I
Route 63 cuts a swath through the heart of Missouri, linking the farm fields of the north to the Ozark Mountains in the south, crossing the mighty Missouri River in between.
Morning
This park features water recreation on the 2,430-acre Long Branch Lake, which has an excellent reputation for bass fishing.
28615 Visitor Center Road, Macon MO 63552, 660-773-5229
Hours: Park: Sunrise-10 p.m; Office: March-November, Mon.-Fri., 7:30 a.m.-4 p.m.; December-February, Tue.-Fri., 7:30 a.m.-4 p.m.
Features American Indian rock carvings (petroglyphs) more than 1,500 years old, and the 573-acre Forrest Lake. The petroglyphs are listed on National Register of Historic Places.
20431 Route 157, Kirksville MO 63501, 660-665-6995
Hours: April-October: Daily, 7 a.m.-10 p.m.; November-March: Daily, 7 a.m.-sunset.
Afternoon

Painted Rock Conservation Area consists of 1,480 acres. The Osage River intersects the property along the western boundary. Breathtaking views are offered from the Scenic Trail at two boardwalks and other locations. The forest contains six ponds, which are managed primarily for wildlife, and Clubhouse Lake. The lands show evidence of occupation by American Indians as early as 9,000 years ago. An Indian burial cairn, located along Osage Scenic Bluff trail, was constructed between 500 and 1,500 years ago. Area activities include bird watching, camping, fishing, hiking and hunting.

Highway 133, Westphalia MO 65085, 573-815-7900
Hours: 4 a.m. - 10 p.m.
For those fortunate enough to have grown up during the 50s, we fondly remember the neighborhood drug store's soda fountain: nothing fancy, just good food and malts that weren't made before you walked in. Turn back the clock at the 63 Diner in Columbia. Enjoy diner decor, old-fashioned quality and service, and delicious food served with a side of fun.
5801 N. Route 763, Columbia MO 65202, 573-443-2331
Hours: Tue.-Fri. 11 a.m.-9 p.m.; Sat. 6:30 a.m.-9 p.m.; Sun. 6:30 a.m.-2 p.m.
Fascinating geologic formations are the principal features of this 2,272-acre day-use park three miles south of Columbia. Visit Devil’s Icebox Cave, the seventh longest in Missouri.
5901 South Route 163, Columbia MO 65203, 573-449-7402
Hours: Park Gate: Year-round, sunrise to sunset; Park Office: Mon.-Fri., 9 a.m.-noon and 1 p.m.-4 p.m.
Evening
Features two guestrooms with queen-sized beds, private bath, fireplace and sitting area. Serves house-made cookies, snacks, beverages and a full hot breakfast.
13750 Martin Spring Drive, Rolla MO 65401, 573-364-0680
Hours: Office: 10 a.m.-9 p.m.