Trip Ideas: Fall Into Family Fun in Missouri
Take your family on a fall drive that's anything but boring. This road trip is designed to take you and your children into the great outdoors and back in time. Travel in the footsteps of many famous Missourians, including Mark Twain and Walt Disney, and experience the Show-Me State in all of its fall glory.
Day One
After you’re done exploring the Hannibal area, it’s time to hit the road along a scenic route known as “The Way of American Genius.” Highway 36 gets its nickname from the many artists and innovators who lived along the route, and beautiful fall colors make it an even better drive this time of year. Make sure you stop in Marceline, Walt Disney’s childhood home, to thrill the kids with attractions dedicated to his legacy. Connect with genius when you click here.
505 N. Third St., Hannibal MO 63401, 866-263-4825
Hours: Hours vary by attraction.
Located near Marceline, you’ll want to add the Swan Lake National Wildlife Refuge to your list of stops along Highway 36. Explore the nature trail or climb the observation tower to find more than 240 species, including bald eagles! You can bring along your fishing gear for a few relaxing hours along the shores of the refuge, or check out the hands-on exhibits in the visitor center. Check out more details here.
16194 Swan Lake Ave, Sumner MO 64681, 660-856-3323
Hours: Visitor Center, year-round: Mon.-Fri., 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m.; Sat., 9 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sun., noon-6 p.m.
St. Joseph, where the Pony Express began, is filled with attractions of historical importance, including the Patee House Museum and the Jesse James Home. Continue your historical journey by dining at the J.C. Wyatt House. This 1891 historic home features delicious cuisine and a Victorian ambiance. Reservations are required, but it will be well worth it. Keep reading here.
1309 Felix St., St. Joseph MO 64501, 816-676-1004
Hours: Tue.-Sat., by reservation only.
Day Two
Wake up refreshed and take the morning to explore all that Lewis & Clark State Park has to offer. This park is well known among birders – William Clark described the lake as “full of geese & goslings” and it is still home to many bird species to this day. Check out the visitor center, take a hike, fish on the lake, join the fun on the playground or simply relax at your campsite. Channel your inner explorer and learn more here.
801 Lake Crest Blvd., Rushville MO 64484, 816-579-5564
Hours: Park hours: Daily, 7 a.m.-10 p.m.
A perfect place for families, Weston Red Barn Farm is a working farm that features traditional farm animals and crops. During fall harvest, the farm comes alive with its annual Fall Festival; so make sure you visit on a fall weekend, starting Labor Day weekend through the first weekend in November. Activities include a pumpkin market, The Barnyard, a corn maze and hayrides pulled by either tractors or horses. The Dinner Bell serves fun farm food for lunch and dinner on weekends as well. After your exciting day, return to your digs at Lewis and Clark State Park's campground and get a good night's sleep. You're heading home tomorrow. Pick up more information here.
16300 Wilkerson Road, Weston MO 64098, 816-386-5437
Hours: Mon.-Sat., 8 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sun., noon-5 p.m.
Night One
Located near Hannibal, the childhood home of Mark Twain, and only two miles from Mark Twain State Park, the private and comfortable accommodations at Lodge at Mark Twain Lake are perfect for families. Take a tour of Hannibal, the town that inspired many of Mark Twain’s most well known books, or experience the outdoors by hiking, boating or fishing around the lake. Want to learn more? Click here.
20884 County Road 479, Stoutsville MO 65283, 573-672-3230
Hours: Office: 9 a.m.-8 p.m.
Night Two
After you fill your stomachs, take another short drive south to Lewis & Clark State Park, named after the two men who first explored the Missouri river. Put up your tent and prepare for an evening of relaxation after your epic road trip across the state. Learn more here.
801 Lake Crest Blvd., Rushville MO 64484, 816-579-5564
Hours: Reservations by phone: 7 a.m.-7 p.m.