Day Trips

ATV Riding in St. Joe

ATV Riding in St. Joe

Off-road enthusiasts have two state parks to explore Missouriís outdoors from a different angle. St. Joe State Park, located in a former lead mining area, and Finger Lakes State Park, located in a former coal strip mining area, provide hours of fun with almost 3,000 acres available for riding. At St. Joe State Park, trails wind through the wooded portions of the park as well as through acres of sand flats, an area created by the sandlike residue or tailings from the lead mining process. The park offers one of the most popular ORV areas in the Midwest, and an ORV campground near the riding area. A trail from the campground to the ORV area provides access to unlicensed ORVs that are not permitted on park roads. At Finger Lakes State Park, the rugged terrain, with its steep hills and deep ravines, challenges the skills of even the most experienced riders. A special motocross track, designed by professional riders, is the site of numerous motocross and motorcycle races and events each year.
Location: Finger Lakes State Park, St. Joseph, MO

Battle of Carthage Historical Site

The Battle of Carthage was the earliest full-scale battle of the Civil War, preceding Bull Run by 11 days. Battle of Carthage State Historic Site contains a quiet meadow and the spring that made the area an encampment for both the Union and Confederate troops during the battle. The area is little changed in its appearance since the battle was fought on July 5, 1861. A few minutes off of Interstate 44, the site interprets the battle that set the stage for a decisive showdown a month later at Wilsonís Creek.
Location: Carthage, MO
Trail of Tears State Park/Historical Site

Trail of Tears State Park/Historical Site

Gain a better understanding of one of the saddest chapters in American history at Trail of Tears State Park, where nine of the 13 Cherokee Indian groups being relocated to Oklahoma crossed the Mississippi River during harsh winter conditions in 1838 and 1839. The parkís visitor center tells the tale of the thousands who died on the forced march, as well as the parkís many natural features. The park also has a cheerier side: shaded picnic sites, hiking and horse trails, opportunities to fish in both the Mississippi River and Lake Boutin, and majestic views of the Mississippi River and beyond. Its location right on the river makes the park one of the best places in Missouri for viewing migratory waterfowl.
Location: Cape Girardeau, MO
Bicycling Trips

Bicycling Trips

Bicycling is one of the most popular activities in Missouriís state parks, and itís not hard to see why. With its rolling hills and varied landscapes, the state is a bicycling fanís dream. Katy Trail State Park, with its tree-shaded gently loping terrain and great views of the Missouri River, stretches across the stateís midsection. The trail offers numerous diversions for bicyclists along the way, including restaurants and connections to towns along the route. Built on the tracks of the old Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad line, the corridor has become one of the nationís leading bicycling destinations over the past 20 years. But bicycling in Missouri has plenty to offer bicyclists of all levels of interest and fitness. Mountain bikers will enjoy the rugged terrain and challenging bicycle trail at Finger Lakes State Park while the more leisurely 2.2-mile Table Rock Lakeshore Trail offers great views of scenic Table Rock State Park. Bicyclists looking for some Show-Me State scenery would also do well to check out Castlewood State Park near St. Louis. A series of trails wind throughout the park, with the Lone Wolf Trail affording a blufftop view of the Meramec River below.
Historic Site Tours

Historic Site Tours

Visitors to Missouriís state historic sites have a wealth of experiences awaiting them, from touring Civil War battlefields to seeing where Harry S Truman and Mark Twain were born. Of the 36 state historic sites, nearly two dozen have interpretative tours designed to give visitors an inside look and better understanding of the events that happened there. The Battle of Lexington State Historic Site tour includes a visit to the Oliver Anderson house, which was the center of a ferocious battle that left the marks of mortar rounds and musket fire on the exterior and interior walls. History of another sort is explained at the Missouri Mines State Historic Site, located in an area known as the Old Lead Belt, the premier lead district of the United States. Visitors enter the huge mine-mill powerhouse that has been developed into a museum that displays old mining machinery and an outstanding mineral collection. The central display at the Mark Twain Birthplace State Historic Site is the simple two-room cabin where Samuel Clemens, later known as Mark Twain, was born. The site also displays a handwritten manuscript of ďThe Adventures of Tom Sawyer.Ē A loom inside Watkins MillAt Hermann, visitors to the Deutschheim State Historic Site can tour two of the homes of the German immigrants who flocked to the Missouri River valley in the early 1800s. At Kansas City, a tour is available of Thomas Hart Bentonís comfortable home and studio. At Watkins Woolen Mill State Historic Site, the walking tour takes in the bucolic farm of Waltus L. Watkins as it looked in the prosperous 1870s, and the brick woolen mill with the three floors of machinery still intact. While the Watkins mill represents the Industrial Revolution, Dillard Mill State Historic Site features a picturesque gristmill powered by the waters of the sparkling Huzzah Creek. Dillard Mill has been restored to working condition and visitors can witness the wheezing, clacking, churning of the leather belts and meshing gears inside. Free tours are given at Harry S Truman Birthplace, Battle of Athens, Confederate Memorial, Battle of Pilot Knob and Mark Twain Birthplace state historic sites and the Missouri State Museum. Fees for tours are listed on the individual facility web pages.