Ellisville is a fantastic place to live and raise a family. But sometimes, you just want to get out of the area for some new sights and activities. Fortunately, Ellisville is within a few hours’ drive of other fantastic locations around Missouri and Southern Illinois. That’s why Crème de la Crème of Ellisville has put together this list of the six best day trips from the Ellisville area.
“Family heading off on a summer road trip” licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Flickr by State Farm
Whether you’re bringing the kids on the day trip or not, you have a wide variety of fun and interesting activities to enjoy in nearby St. Louis. Catch a Cardinals game at Busch Stadium with or without the kids. Leave the kids at home and go brewery hopping with friends or tour the Anheuser-Busch brewery and get free beer.
Treat the kids to a visit to the Magic House St. Louis Children’s Museum (Admission is $12 per person.); the Missouri Botanical Garden (Cost is $6 per person for St. Louis County residents.); as well as the Saint Louis Zoo and the Saint Louis Science Center, both of which are free. Make it a family fun getaway weekend by booking a room at the St Louis Union Station Hotel and enjoy the station’s aquarium, Ferris wheel, mini-golf, mirror maze, ropes course, and a plethora of restaurants.
Immerse yourself in history with a trip to Saint Charles, located about 30 minutes north of Ellisville. Stroll along South Main Street and visit some of the 100 shops, restaurants, and cafes. During your visit, you can access the digital walking tour from the city’s site to learn more about the original merchants and settlers that once called this area home.
Check out the Lewis & Clark Boat House and Museum, where you can view nature displays, replicas of the boats these explorers used on their expedition, and watch educational and entertaining re-enactments. Tickets are $5 for adults and $2 for children.
Other museums include the St. Charles County Amateur Sports Hall of Fame, the St. Charles County Veterans Museum, and the Log Cabin Museum. You can catch quite a few live musical acts, comedy shows, and seasonal events, too.
Great River Road
Consider spending a weekend driving along the Great River Road that follows the Mississippi River — a route that takes you through awesome little towns and offers a stunning view of the water. What’s great about this day trip is that you can explore one portion of the road before heading home. Or you can just hit the road and see where it leads you.
The river towns along this route offer plenty of activities and good eats. Both St. Louis and Saint Charles are along this road, but you can also stop by Alton, Illinois, the birthplace of legendary musician Miles Davis; take a ride on the Delta Queen Steamboat in Kimmswick, Missouri; tour the Cape Girardeau Conservation Nature Center in Jackson, Missouri; and try the delicious local cuisine in other Missouri towns like Caruthersville and Perryville.
Another one of those river road towns is Hannibal, the hometown of American literary icon Samuel Clemens, better known as Mark Twain. In fact, many of the cool features in this town are named after him. Outdoorsy folks will enjoy exploring the Mark Twain Cave, where you can see Clemens’ signature. Bookworms should visit the Mark Twain Boyhood Home and Museum to earn more about the author’s life and watch readings and performances of his stories.
History buffs should visit the Molly Brown Birthplace & Museum to learn about the Unsinkable Molly Brown’s early life before her voyage on the Titanic. If you have a car lover in your family, take them to Karlock’s Kars & Pop Culture, where dozens of classic and vintage vehicles are on display, including Steve McQueen’s motorcycle. And if you want to see all the town has to offer, book a ride on the Hannibal trolley tour.
Springfield, Illinois, is known for being the home of another famous historical figure: President Abraham Lincoln. During your trip, be sure to visit the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, which houses many artifacts, books, and images that depict his presidency, early political career, and the Civil War. You can also visit the Lincoln Home National Historic Site, where Lincoln and his wife, Mary, lived from 1844 until 1861, as well as the Old State Capitol where Lincoln worked as a state legislator and gave his famous “House Divided” speech.
Architecture lovers should book a tour of the Dana-Thomas House, which was designed by architect Frank Lloyd Wright, the Illinois State Capitol building, and the Illinois Governor’s Mansion. Family-friendly destinations in town include the Henson Robinson Zoo, which costs $7 for adults and $5 for children; the Knight’s Action Park water park; and the Kidzeum of Health and Science, which costs $10 per person.
Since Springfield is about a two-hour drive from Ellisville, we’d recommend getting a room for a night or two to make the most of your trip.
Taum Sauk Mountain State Park
Approximately two hours south of Ellisville is Taum Sauk Mountain State Park. This site, located in the St. Francois Mountains, is the highest point in Missouri. It’s a paradise for a family of hikers. Plus, there’s a campground on-site, so you can stay for a night or two to pack in as much fun as you can.
There’s plenty of room to go hiking, thanks to nearly 7,500 acres of land and miles of trails, including a section of the Ozark Trail. The Taum Sauk Highpoint Trail takes you up to the tippy-top of the mountain, and it’s an easy walking trail of 1.6 miles that takes 45 minutes to do. The Mina Sauk Falls Trail is longer, at 2.9 miles, and has a bit rougher terrain. But it’s still good for kids.
So there you have it, six day trips you can take from Ellisville. Did we miss any of your family’s favorite day trip destinations around the Greater St. Louis area? If so, contact us. We’ll be happy to add it to our growing list!