Unique Places in Missouri

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Most Viewed Off The Beaten Path in Missouri

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    Canoeing Missouri Float Streams

    by vanderlust Updated Oct 7, 2010

    There is a great difference in the rivers and floatable creeks throughout Missouri. The Meremac is a great river to float near the Maramac Springs and State Park. It is only about 90 minutes from downtown StLouis. If you are an experienced canoeist you will find it a bit slow and timid. For a bit more of a fun ride and a little shorter drive from StL I would suggest the Huzzah or the Courtois Creeks. They are tributaries of the Meremac River. The Current and Jacks Fork are more of a drive from StL. Depending on your put in point it is 2 to 3 hours from downtown StL (estimated).
    Here is a website that will give you more information on Missouri's float streams and some exerpts from the site. Note the gradients on each stream. That is the measure of how fast the elevation changes. The greater the number the faster the stream. The Meremac near Maramac Springs is 4.2, the gradient of the Courtios is 7.2, the gradient of the Jacks Fork as a whole is 7.3.


    You can select any float stream from the drop down box.

    Missouri's Meramec River
    Fed by Maramec Spring and many smaller springs, the Meramec is floated most of the year. The most floated sections are those between Maramec Spring and Meramec State Park, although there is still much reasonably attractive river down to St. Clair or even Pacific. Beyond that point, however, real estate developments, railroads, and industry may make the river unattractive to some paddlers. For those who do not mind these distractions, the river is floatable right down to the Mississippi. Floats above Maramec Spring are recommended only for high-water periods.
    Difficulty: I, seldom II.
    Gradients: general (to Palisades) - 3.4; Hwy. 19 to Hwy. M - 7.8; to Hwy. 8 - 5.3; to Hwy. 19 north of Steelville - 4.2; to Onondaga Cave - 3.2; to Moselle - 2.6; to Palisades - 1.6
    Counties: Dent, Crawford, Phelps, Franklin, Jefferson, St. Louis.
    Missouri's Jacks Fork River
    This tributary of the Current River is one of the wildest and most scenic of the Missouri Ozark streams. Its deep valley is nearly a canyon, with no bottomland fields for the first 25 floatable miles. It is therefore advisable to camp well above river level if there is any chance of sudden rain. Trips with loaded canoes above Alley Spring are recommended only in spring or after good summer rains. The few miles immediately above Alley Spring are especially wide and shallow and may have to be walked in low water. Upper sections of the river provide fine fly fishing water.
    Difficulty: I and II.
    Gradients: general -- 7.3; Prongs to Hwy. 17 -- 8.6; to Bunker Hill -- 8; to Alley Spring -- 7; to Current River -- 6.3.
    Counties: Texas, Shannon.
    Missouri's Current River
    Most spring-fed of all the Ozark rivers, the Current may be floated at almost any time of the year, particularly below Welch Spring. On hot summer weekends, the river is usually crowded. Weekdays floats are much more peaceful. Due to the increase in size of the river and the frequency of motor boats below Big Spring, most canoe and kayak trips are made on the sections above Big Spring.
    Difficulty: I, occasionally II.
    Gradients: general- 4.4; Montauk to Akers - 8.7; to junction of Jacks Fork - 5; to Big Spring - 3.8; to Doniphan - 3.2.
    Counties: Dent, Shannon, Carter, Ripley.
    Missouri's Huzzah Creek & Courtois Creek
    These two clearwater gems, which join their waters to the Meramec River in Crawford County, are only about 100 miles from St. Louis. Although they are too small to provide adequate floating water at all seasons, the angler will find them pleasant and profitable floating-wading streams. In seasons of good water, the canoeist will find them quite sporty. Their valleys are relatively unspoiled and have real Ozarks atmosphere. It would be wise to check water levels of these creeks at Hwy. 8 bridges before attempting floats upstream from the highway. The names of the creeks are pronounced locally as Coort-a-way and Hoo-za.
    Difficulty: frequently II due to sharp turns, obstructions and narrow channels.
    Gradients: Hwy. V to town of Huzzah- 8.9; from town of Huzzah down - 7.
    Counties: Crawford.
    Difficulty: frequently II due to sharp turns, obstructions and narrow channels.
    Gradients: Brazil to Hwy. 8 - 9.2; from Hwy. 8 down - 7.2.
    Counties: Washington, Crawford.

    Related to:
    • Water Sports
    • Kayaking
    • Rafting

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    Water Reservoirs

    by Bwana_Brown Updated May 25, 2008

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    There are several large dams in the Ozark Plateau, so I stopped for a closer look at one of them near the town of Warsaw.

    The Harry S. Truman Dam was built by the Army Corps of Engineers to help control flooding on the Missouri River and was constructed over 15 years between 1964-1979. The dam holds back the water of the largest flood control lake in Missouri and also provides the energy to run six 27 MW hydro generators.

    An interesting Visitor Center building overlooks the dam, housing an information desk, videos of the construction and a museum-like display of the geological history of the area. When I stepped outside for a brief photo opportunity, I was surprised at the number of birds that were moving around in the trees only a short distance from me. An entirely red bird dropped out of a branch and disappeared before I got a good look, but it must have been a Cardinal. In the same tree I saw a Woodpecker and then a Nuthatch moving headfirst down the trunk, one of their characteristic traits. Too bad darkness was starting to fall, I had to hit the road!

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    Lake !!!

    by eddieboy726 Written Nov 23, 2007

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    Table Rock Lake is Located in West Branson, Mo. It's about 250 miles from St. Louis and there is alot to do in the area. There are resorts on the lake you can stay, and there are motels in the area. You can also drive into Branson and catch some shows. Branson is very family friendly.

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    Route 66

    by ant1606 Written Oct 4, 2007

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    "If you ever plan to motor West...."
    The old song praises one of the most celebrated American highways, the US 66, that since 1926 spans from Chicago to Los Angeles across nine States. This route became particularly popular during the infamous "Dust Bowl" period in the 30s. Years of uncontrolled agricultural practices in the Plains had resulted in an extreme impoverishment of the soil, causing a serie of severe dust storms that forced hundreds of thousands of people to move to California during that decade.
    "The Mother Road", as Route 66 is also nicknamed, has slightly changed over the course of time and certainly superseded by the faster-pace Interstate road system. A true icon of the past times, driving today on Route 66 is a relaxing experience and a great occasion to sample the essence of America.

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    Wonderful website for state info

    by LauraWest Written Sep 13, 2007

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    I heartily recommend this magazine's web site, for its coverage of all places and things in Missouri. From the many small towns to the cities and everything in between, as they say...

    I really hope you will look at this, when planning your next visit to, or Through, this fascinating state, Missouri! No, I haven't been everywhere here yet, either. So many places I want to explore, too!!!

    (will add photo sooon...)(

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    Old Jail Museum

    by Stephen-KarenConn Updated Nov 19, 2006

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    This old jail was built in the Ozark Mountains town of Vienna, Maries County, Missouri, in 1856, and was converted into a museum beginning 100 years later. The limestone jail with a gable roof contains pioneer relics from the central Ozarks area. The structure was originally built by a Mr. Barnhard at a cost of $2,500. That seems a pretty good deal to me since it is still standing sturdily 160 years later.

    Near the Old Jail Museum is another structure from the same era, the Felker Log House, built by John Felker, an immigrant from Hanover, Germany, who was one of the pioneer settlers in the area. Both buildings are owned and operated by the Historical Society of Maries County.

    The Museum is near the center of Vienna, on Hwy 42 East (3 Blocks from Hwy 63).

    Sundays 2-4
    Weekdays: Memorial Day weekend thru June
    Closed July and August
    Open Labor Day weekend thru last Sunday in October

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    • Museum Visits
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    Confederate Memorial State Historic Site

    by Stephen-KarenConn Updated Oct 26, 2005

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    Missouri is usually regarded as a "border state" during the Civil War, and regiments of Missouri soldiers fought on both sides of the conflict. Although the war ended in 1865, many soliders who survived the war continued to live until the mid 20th century. In 1891 the state of Missouri established a home for aging Confederate veterans on 135 acres of land
    in the western part of the state. 1,600 veterans and their families lived here over a 60 year period, the last veteran dying in 1950, at the age of 108. Two years later the Confederate Veterans Home became a Missouri State Historic Site. It is an interesting, albeit sobering place to visit and to contemplate the darkest chapter in the history of the United States. Walking, picnicking and fishing are among the activities that may be enjoyed here.

    211 West First Street
    Higginsville, MO 64037

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    Union Covered Bridge

    by Stephen-KarenConn Updated Sep 27, 2005

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    Union Covered Bridge is one of only four covered bridges which remain in the state of Missouri, and it is the only one of the burr-arch truss design. This Monroe Country landmark, across the Elk Fork of the Salt River, was built by Joseph C. Elliott in 1871. It was in service for 99 years, before becoming a Missouri State Historic Site.

    This beautiful old bridge is in a remote location, just off Route C, southwest of Paris, MO. It may be visited any time and without charge, however, the visitor should be aware that there are no restrooms, picnic tables or other facilities. However, there is a nice interpretative exhibit which tells the story of the bridge.

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    Graham Cave State Park

    by Stephen-KarenConn Updated Dec 13, 2004

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    The centerpiece of this 356 acre state park in central Missiouri is a sandstone cave which was used for human habitation as long ago as 10,000 years. Visitors can explore the picturesque entrance to the cave which is 120-feet wide and 16-feet high. Inside you will find exhibits explaining some of the archeological finds which have been made here. These discoveries helped rewrite history, proving that humans lived in this area longer ago than was previously known.

    I made an overnight stop here in July, 2004, on a road trip with my two grandchildren, and we enjoyed the modern camping facilities. There is also a Visitor Center, playground area, and opportunities for hiking, boating, fishing, picnicing, etc.

    217 Hwy. TT
    Montgomery City, MO 63361

    Graham Cave State Park is in Montgomery County, East Central Missouri, two miles west of Danville off I-70.

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    • Camping
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    Cruising the Ozark Plateau

    by Bwana_Brown Updated Nov 27, 2004

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    At the conclusion of my meetings in Kansas City, I headed into Kansas and worked my way south almost to the Oklahoma state line on a very enjoyable drive. The next day, I swung east, back into Missouri, crossing just above Joplin as I then headed up through the Ozark Plateau south of Jefferson City.

    Strangely enough, I did not find this drive as scenic as I thought it would be. The hills and trees just did not impress me all that much, possibly because this turned into a mostly grey-sky day unlike the sunshine I had enjoyed in Kansas. There was a noticeable upsurge in traffic as well, even though I was keeping to the secondary highways. Maybe the fact that it was now Saturday had something to do with it. I had always heard of the Ozark Mountains and maybe had a somewhat distorted picture in my mind of what to expect.

    In the end, after a brief stop at the Harry S. Truman dam and its reservoir, I headed north on Hwy 65 then west on Interstate 70 as darkness fell. I wanted to get close to Kansas City for my accommodations, in order to catch my flight to Albany, NY the next day.

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    Lovely, Historic Ste. Genevieve

    by deecat Updated May 12, 2004

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    The mixture of French Normandy architecture with the sturdy brick German homes, and the American influence makes Ste. Genevieve a delightful place to visit. Its National Landmark Historic District gives you a glimpse into the colonial past because the residents of Ste. Genevieve believe in and carry out wonderful preservation.
    There is so much to see and do in Ste. Genevieve that you need more than one day. We visited twice.
    1. Ste. Genevieve County is a winemaking area. The French and the Germans both settled here and both contribute to the wonderful wine vineyards.
    2. Many residents have taken historic homes and turned them into delightful Bed & Breakfasts.
    a. Inn St. Gemme Beauvais
    78 North Main
    b. Main Street Inn Bed & Breakfast
    221 North Main
    c. John Hael Gasthaus
    159 North Main
    d. Somewhere Inn Time
    383 Jefferson
    e. Southern Hotel
    146 South Third
    f. Steiger Haus Downtown
    242 Merchant
    g. Dr. Hertich's House
    99 North Main

    3. National Landmark and Register Homes
    a. LaMaison de Guibourd-Valle Home
    One North Fourth
    b. Bolduc House
    125 S. Main
    c. Felix Valle House State Historic Site
    Merchant & Second
    d. Amoureux House
    327 St. Marys Road
    e. Bolduc-LeMeilleur House
    123 S. Main

    4. Thirty Five Shoppes for antiques, gifts, and
    5. Dining in Historic District
    a. Anvil Saloon & Restaurants
    b. Hotel Ste. Genevieve
    c. Historic Old Brick House
    d. Sirro's
    e. Little Choice Cafe (lunch)
    f. Olde Towne Cafe (lunch)
    g. Treasured Memories Tea Room (lunch)

    6. Ste. Genevieve's Historic Memorial
    7. Ste. Genevieve MODOC Ferry
    8. Mississippi River Trail starts in Ste.
    9. Magnolia Hollow Conservation Area is
    ten miles north of the city.

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    • Architecture
    • Historical Travel
    • Wine Tasting

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    Missouri's "Buried Treasure": Meramec Caverns

    by deecat Written May 11, 2004

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    What I remember the most about Meramec Caverns was the temperature. It was hot outside, and about 20 degrees cooler in the cavern. It is a constant 60 degrees.
    The caverns are located off I-44, Exit 230, Stanton, Missouri.
    The caverns are really quite beautiful with mineral formations and rare colors. These formations took millions of years to grow, and we are still enjoying them. Guided tours are given by trained rangers along well-lighted walkways. The formations, you learn on the tour, have strange names like "Wine Table", "Mirror River", and "Mother-In-Law's Tongue"! And, "The Stage Curtain" is the largest single cave formation in the world (we were told)! It is seventy feet high, sixty feet wide, and thirty five feet thick. They use the "curtain" as a center piece of the caves and have a light/musical presentation.
    We learned that the Indians revered the cave and said it was home of their god. A French miner, Jacques Renault, was the one who found the Cavern's greatest natural resource, "saltpeter", which is used to manufacture gunpowder.
    Jesse James, it is said, used the cavern as a hideout for men and horses.
    The cave was opened in 1935 as a tourist attraction for the public. On the tour, you learn about stalactites, fossils, limestone, Indians of Missouri, Dramas of the Civil War, Train robberies and great escapes, Ballroom dances, World War II, and Hollywood movies.
    My favorite information was about cavern used for Ballroom dances on the weekends. At the time, it was off Route 66; it became a popular site. Can you imagine dancing in the cave?
    There is a motel called "The Meramec Caverns Motel" located in LaJolla Natural Park. In that same park is a campground. There is also a gift shop and a restaurant.

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    Imperial is Part of the Great River Road

    by deecat Updated May 11, 2004

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    While staying in a time share near Imperial, I had difficulty knowing whether Imperial and Kimmswick were the same place. They are near each other, and some maps have them as the same town. However, Imperial is the site given for the 425-acre MASTODON STATE HISTORIC SITE. Evidently, Ice-Age mastodons and mooly mammoths once lived in this area. Interestingly, bones of these massive animals have been studied a great deal, and the visitor center displays the results of the work. They display an actual mounted skeleton of a giant Mastodon! They also have archaeological artifacts that link early people who lived at the same time as the Mastodons. At this historic site, there are hiking trails and picnic areas; however, there are NO overnight camping.
    There is a historic bridge at SANDY CREEK COVERED BRIDGE STATE HISTORIC SITE. This bridge was built in 1872 after the Civil War. Floodwaters destroyed the bridge in 1886; it was rebuilt the next year. This historic site is 206 acres which includes a picnic area and an interpretive kiosk with exhibits about the history of Missouri's covered bridges. Sandy Creek bridge is one of only a handful of covered bridges in Missouri.

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    • Archeology

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    Billed as "World's Largest Man-Made Caverns

    by deecat Updated May 10, 2004

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    Bonne Terre Mine in Bonne Terre, Missouri is over 80 square miles! It has been designated A NATIONAL HISTORIC SITE and Jacques Cousteau made a dive into the mines ; it was filmed.
    People in Missouri have worked with hand picks and shovels and then with the help of the Missouri Mule to carve a five-level "subterranean Grand Canyon" called Bonne Terre Mine. The underground mining began in 1870. The mine is larger than the town of the same name!
    If any of this interests you, it is possible to take a tour. You enter the mine at the old mule entrance. You have a tour guide who gives you background on the century of mining. You descend for 80 feet using 65 steps. That gets you to the first level that is always 62 degrees. As you explore, you are able to see geological formations. Do you realize that this mine honeycombs the earth UNDER THE TOWN!

    You can take a boat tour, which also includes a walking tour. You go on a 22 passenger pontoon boat in order to explore remote, historic portions "of the 17-mile-shoreline.
    SCUBA divers love to dive here year-round because of the constant temperature.
    You ask, Why is the mine flooded? After a century, the mine was finally shut down in 1961, and the pumping system which had kept it dry was shut down too. The lower three levels are filled with clear, filtered water. Thus, a subterranean lake (world's largest) has been created.
    The town of Bonne Terre is called "historic" also. It is 60 miles south of Saint Louis. If you want to SCUBA dive, you are in for a real treat. Divers report that they are able to see all the items left over from the mining days, including elevator shafts, ore carts, & tools such as drills. DIVING INFORMATION CALL

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    Downtown Clayton, Missouri

    by CoolMercedes Updated May 5, 2003

    Downtown St. Louis is wonderful, but be sure to visit downtown Clayton (the county seat of St. Louis County) for an array of great restaurants and shops. Some nice hotels there as well. Clayton is a beautiful city!

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Missouri Off The Beaten Path

Reviews and photos of Missouri off the beaten path posted by real travelers and locals. The best tips for Missouri sightseeing.
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