Ian and Kristina love a good adventure. And for them, enjoying adventure together is a great way to vacation.
So naturally, it worked out well when these outdoor adventurers made their way to the Show-Me State, where outdoor fun is offered in abundance.
Sikeston and Cape Girardeau
On the ride up to Missouri from Memphis, Ian and Kristina took time to stop at one the Show-Me State's most-famous eateries, Lambert's Cafe in Sikeston. The aptly named "throwed rolls" come flying in from all corners and generous portions of comfort food are served up to hungry customers.
From Sikeston, it's a short drive to Trail of Tears State Park, found along the route Cherokee Indians took when they were forced to relocate in 1830 (learn more about this chapter in history at the park's visitor center). At this park, near Cape Girardeau, you can enjoy stunning views of the Mississippi River and surrounding area; hiking, fishing, camping and swimming are popular activities.
The Arcadia Valley
There's perhaps no better place to begin an outdoor adventure in this region of Missouri than Elephant Rocks State Park, where visitors climb on and around billion-year-old boulders the size of elephants. Great views - and tests of coordination and jumping skills - are part of the fun.
A little ways down the road, on the Black River, is Johnson's Shut-Ins State Park. Noted for its natural swimming holes, carved from rocks courtesy of the river's flow, JSI (as locals call it) is the perfect place for summertime swimming, hiking, biking, camping and more. A boardwalk along the river offers great views of some of the most popular swimming spots. Several canoe outfitters and resorts are found along the Black River.
For those who'd rather ride horseback than paddle a canoe, visit the Arcadia Valley Stables along Stouts Creek. Take in the native wildlife as you trot on this country adventure during a trail ride.
Okay, now it's on to wine country and one of Missouri's most well-known and oft-awarded wineries, Stone Hill in Hermann. Overlooking the German settlement of Hermann, Stone Hill Winery gives you great views while offering great wines. Tour the underground cellars before sampling a Missouri red or white.
Round out your time in Hermann by visiting Katy Trail State Park, the country's longest rails-to-trails conversion (it stretches about 240 miles across Missouri). The level, crushed-limestone path is easier for cyclists or walkers and it offers great views of the Missouri River, river valley and numerous bluffs as it winds across the state.
Cap your day in Hermann with a night at The Inn at Hermannhof, a restored B and B with spectacular views of the Missouri River and Hermann. Experience historic elegance in rooms and suites dotted with antiques of a bygone era.
About 20 minutes north of Hermann, find outdoor fun at Eco Adventure Ziplines in New Florence, where nearly one mile of zips make for a great day of adventure. Oh, and it helps if you aren't afraid of heights; some of the zips reach up to 250 feet!