You can do a lot or a little. Yes, vacations are a wonderful thing.
The next time you find yourself with five free days and nothing pressing on the agenda, make plans to visit Missouri. With a full week at your disposal, there's plenty of time to explore multiple locations, especially if you love being outdoors.
Your five-day trip to the Show-Me State can start in St. Charles, situated alongside the Missouri River, and end in Hannibal, perched on the banks of the Mississippi.
During the week, you can ride bikes on the nation's longest developed rails-to-trails conversion, explore caves and take a boat ride (or two). Mom-and-pop shops, wineries and great restaurants are part of the fun when you visit these river cities.
Need a little guidance planning your trip? Well, it could look a little something like this:
Day one - Arrive in St. Charles early and get the fun rolling, literally. Rent a bicycle from the Bike Stop Café and then get those pedals pumping on the Katy Trail. It stretches 240 miles, from just north of St. Charles to the west-central part of the state, so how long you ride is up to you. On your return to St. Charles, cap your day at Schlafly Bankside Brewpub, which has a variety of craft brews and a full menu to help you refuel.
Day two - You might be a bit tired after the previous day's ride, so sleep in and then take a relaxing stroll up and down Historic Main Street. Missouri's first capital is chock-full of retail shops and restaurants and is just a stone's throw from the Katy Trail (in case you want to ride again!). Visit the state's original Capitol and an attraction focusing on Lewis and Clark's historic expedition.
Day three - Take a drive west of St. Charles to explore the countryside and sample wines at spots like Augusta Winery and Mount Pleasant Winery, both in Augusta, and Chandler Hill Vineyards and Sugar Creek Winery, both in Defiance. Head back to St. Charles and end the night at Ameristar Casino Resort and Spa with gaming action and diverse dining options.
Day four - It's off to Hannibal you go (about 90 minutes north), where Mark Twain's hometown offers outdoor fun at places like the Sodalis Nature Preserve and takes you underground at two beautiful caves, Mark Twain Cave and Cameron Cave. Make reservations in advance and have dinner at Labinnah Bistro for a one-of-a-kind dining experience. Overnight at one of Hannibal's hotels or B and Bs.
These are just a few of the experiences waiting for you in the St. Charles and Hannibal areas.