Hometown of Homespun Mark Twain
Hannibal is an old river town about two hours north of St. Louis and would be an unimportant speck on the map were it not for the fame and talents of its native son Samuel Clemens. In fact, his nom de plume, Mark Twain, comes from the string they used to measure the depth of the Mississippi from the riverboats that Mark Twain worked on, which gave him an exposure to bigger cities, bigger ideas and a love for traveling that fueled much of his literature. Here in Hannibal you can ride on that river as well as see his old boyhood home, the famous whitewashed fence from "Tom Sawyer" and other landmarks from his writings. At the same time, Hannibal has maintained some of its old, small-town charm, so you don't have to be a huge Mark Twain fan to enjoy a visit here.