I’ve had a literal lifetime to think about day trips from St. Louis, for you see, I lived in St. Louis for 18 years—almost half my life, to this point.
As fond as I now feel for my erstwhile hometown, I also keep it real: This is a city best experienced with frequent breaks, as evidenced by my own experience here. Some of the excursions I recommend below are one you’ll find on other blogs; some are suggestions only someone with a lifetime (well, left a lifetime) in St. Louis could think of. Regardless, I think you’re going to find what you’re looking for if you continue reading.
Although St. Louis is an extremely underrated city that’s practically overflowing with history, culture and cuisine, I know very well that you sometimes need a break from it. If you’re visiting on business, for example, you might seek day trips from St. Louis in order to break up a week of busy meetings, or to enjoy a day or two of leisure after being in town for a convention.
Even if you’re here for leisure, however, getting out of town can help you get some perspective. St. Louis, especially for the uninitiated, can be intense, whether because of the sometimes harsh contrast between wealthy and poor areas of the city, or simply because of the awful traffic, oppressive summer heat or any other number of reasons. Trust me: I’ve lived through them all!
My Favorite St. Louis Day Trips
Discover the history of Cahokia Mounds
If you drove past Cahokia Mounds, which are just over the river from downtown St. Louis in Illinois, you might simply think they were small hills. In fact, they are burial chambers, built almost 1,000 years ago by the Mississippian native American tribe. When you visit Cahokia Mounds, you can not only marvel at the scale of the construction, but learn the detailed story of how they came to be.
Scream your head off at Six Flags
One of my favorite day trips from St. Louis, especially when I was a teenager, was the local Six Flags theme park. Located in Eureka not far from where I grew up, Six Flags St. Louis boasts rollercoasters, live performances and is also home to Hurricane Harbor, one of the largest waterparks in the Midwest. My personal favorite rides are Mt. Freeze and the Screamin’ Eagle.
Say cheers at local wineries
Some day trips from St. Louis are really two in one. What I mean by this, of course, is that you can enjoy beautiful scenery and drink wine. If you want to stay in Missouri, wineries like Watertown Winery and St. Genevieve and Chandler Hill Vineyards in Defiance are your best bet. Just over the river in Illinois, meanwhile, you’ll find Aerie’s Resort in Grafton, IL.