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Best One-Highway Road Trips From St. Louis

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Ready to get out of town? Get on the highway, put on some great tunes, and drive until you hit one of these amazing destinations.

Holiday World, Santa Claus, Indiana
Holiday World, Santa Claus, Indiana photo courtesy of Holiday World

Holiday World, Santa Claus, Indiana

If you get on Highway 64 and head east for about three hours, you will run smack into Santa Claus, Indiana. There you'll find  Holiday World & Splashin' Safari, a holiday-themed park that dates back to the 1940s.

Holiday World is still family owned and operated, and you can feel that Midwestern family spirit throughout the park. Parking, sodas and sunscreen are free, all the time. The park is so immaculately clean it sparkles. Food is reasonably priced, compared to other amuseument parks. The staff are friendly and polite. It's like your Aunt Mabel took the place over.

But the excitement is big-city scale. Several of the park's roller coasters, including three wooden ones, have been voted among the best in the world. The water park has a water coaster that will knock the breath out of you, and some truly evil monster slides. 

Little kids are catered to mightily, as you'd expect in a family-owned park, and even toddlers will never run out of fun here. 

There are several hotels, campgrounds and cabin facilities for those who want to spend more time at the park. Visit the Holiday World website to find all the info you need to plan your visit.

New Orleans, Louisiana
New Orleans, Louisiana photo courtesy of NewOrleansOnline.com

New Orleans, Louisiana

New Orleans is a long drive from St. Louis (around 10 hours) but it's a straight shot down I-55, except for a funny business loop around Memphis. And it's so worth the effort.

A messy stew of cultures from the Caribbean, France, Africa and the American South, N'Awlins  one of the  most interesting cities in the world, brimming with it's own unique food, music and nightlife.

What will you do in New Orleans? Stroll the beautiful avenues taking in the French architecture, stuff yourself with delicious gumbo and seafood, drink Hurricanes in a jazz club, or watch artists work in the square. 

Use the website at NewOrleans.com to plan your visit.

Chicago, Illinois
Chicago, Illinois photo courtesy of ChooseChicago.com

Chicago, Illinois

Heading north on I-55 for about 5 hours will take you directly to the toll roads surrounding Chicago. The city is known for its roaring 20s gangster history, but you'll love it for the museums, shopping, lake and arts scenes.

 

Visitors usually head for The Magnificent Mile, Wrigley Field, Milennium Park, and Navy Pier. 

Plan your visits to the Field Museum, Shedd Aquarium, the History Museum, the Museum of Science and Industry, the Children's Museum and more around thier free days with this online list.

You can also take a tour, visit the zoo or botanical gardens, spend a day on a lakeside beach, see an opera, or dine on a yacht. Chicago is a world-class city that offers just about anything you might dream of. Visit ChooseChicago.com to plan your trip. 

Kansas City, Missouri
Kansas City, Missouri By Eric Rogers from Kansas City, MO, USA (Flickr) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Kansas City, Missouri

Drive west for about four hours on Highway 70 and you'll find yourself in Kansas City .  It's a suprisingly beautiful city, reputed to have more boulevards than Paris and more fountains than any city in the world besides Rome.

The city's Power and Light District is overflowing with restaurants and nightlife. The Crossroads Art District (the "SoHo of the Midwest")features an art gallery crawl (walk or take a trolley between art galleries) on the first Friday of every month from 7-9pm that is worth driving in for all by itself. 

Kansas City also offers tours of the Harley Davidson assembly plant, a zoo, and a variety of museums, galleries and show venues. 

Be sure to try some Kansas City style barbecue while you're there.

Memphis, Tennessee
Memphis, Tennessee By Christopher Boyd Jr (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Memphis, Tennessee

A stop on your way to New Orleans or a destination in itself, Memphis is about four and a half hours south along I-55. 

 

Memphis is a natural destination for music-lovers. A pilgrimage to Graceland is de rigueur for Elvis fans, but the city is also a hotbed of blues, soul and R&B music. The Rock N Soul Museum is located across the street from the Gibson guitar factory. Beale Street is the place for blues, restaurants and nightlife. 

History buffs will appreciate the National Civil Right Museum, built over the spot where Martin Luther King was shot. 

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