Missouri has excellent routes for memorable fall drives, with the rolling hills and winding back roads of the Ozarks serving up beautiful spots for enjoying colorful foliage.
Sometimes, though, staying on the beaten path is just as enjoyable, as Missouri's major highways offer scenic views and convenient access to attractions.
Here's a look at four drives to consider this fall, when you want to make good time while you're having a good time.
1. A trek across Missouri on Highway 54 leads you through small cities such as El Dorado Springs, a popular spot for outdoor activities such as hunting at Wah'Koh-Tah Prairie, and Osage Beach, one of the major gateways to Lake of the Ozarks and the Lake of the Ozarks Golf Trail.
2. Traveling the Show-Me State on Highway 36 is as interesting and informative as it is scenic. The east-west route includes stops in cities such as Hannibal, Marceline, Chillicothe and St. Joseph.
Each of those cities has a claim to fame: Mark Twain grew up in Hannibal, Marceline was the boyhood home of Walt Disney, sliced bread was first served in Chillicothe, and St. Joseph was the starting point for the Pony Express.
3. Traffic moves pretty fast along Interstate 70, but that doesn't mean there aren't plenty of opportunities to slow down and enjoy the drive. You probably know a bit about large cities along I-70, including Kansas City, home of the fabulous Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art; St. Louis, where the Gateway Arch stands 630 feet tall near the banks of the Mississippi River; and Columbia, home to a large shopping, dining and entertainment area known as The District.
What you may not know is that the interstate offers quick access to Warm Springs Ranch, home of the Budweiser Clydesdales in Boonville; treetop-soaring fun at Eco Adventure Ziplines in New Florence; and the popular Les Bourgeois Winery in Rocheport.
4. Of course, the most famous drive through Missouri is on the iconic Route 66. You can take it fast, or you can slow down and enjoy a few attractions along the way. Meramec Caverns is a fun stop for the whole family with the cave, zipline, wax museum and canoe rental. Fall is a glorious time to get back into nature along the Big Piney River near Devil's Elbow and with a visit to breathtaking Grand Falls near Joplin.