Missouri Travel Guide

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The St. Louis Arch

The St. Louis Arch

Gwen Bowling

There are many things to do and see in Missouri, so don't just visit St. Louis and skip the rest.

For travelers interested in the American frontier and westward expansion, there is no better destination than Missouri. Throughout the 19th Century, Missouri served the burgeoning nation as a thoroughfare of migration and commerce, and as the crossing over point into the great West. The threshold of this frontier was the Mississippi River, which is why the city of Saint Louis is called "the Gateway to the West." The Gateway Arch was created to commemorate this historic American location, and is the tallest man-made monument in the world, standing 630 feet tall. The area is especially noteworthy in the westward expansion of the U.S. because Saint Louis and neighboring St. Charles were the starting and ending points of the Lewis and Clark Corps of Discovery Expedition. Once explored, this route along the Missouri River became a dependable trail for people moving west.

History buffs should head for Ste. Genevieve. Records indicate that Missouri's oldest community was founded as early as 1735. Ste. Genevieve's French immigrant architecture is nationally famous, especially the "vertical log" cabin construction. The town's French heritage is remembered in street and family names, in architecture, and in celebrations during the year.

For lovers of literature, Hannibal, Missouri was the place of birth of Mark Twain. There are not only a a monument and a museum dedicated to the famous writer but you will also find several family attractions and activities that help young scholars experience a bit of the lifestyle portrayed in the stories of Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn.

If you love the outdoors, head for the Ozarks. The rivers and mountains provide for excellent recreation opportunities. Another great area is Southeast Missouri, where you can enjoy the historic riverfront at Cape Girardeau.

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