4 Awesome Road Trips Every St. Louisan Should Take

Need a vacation? We hear you -- which is why we devoted a portion of our 2016 Summer Guide to road trips that can easily fit into your weekend. Our writers went in every direction to find the best food, lodging and entertainment for you at every destination -- none of them more than a few hours' drive away from St. Louis. These photos showing the highlights of their journey could well inspire a trip of your own. So what are you waiting for? Pack your bags and get away. RFT writers Doyle Murphy (Springfield), Kelly Glueck (Francois Mountains), Allison Babka (Greenville) and Elizabeth Semko (Hermann) contributed these stories.

Need a vacation? We hear you. Our writers went in every direction to find the best food, lodging and entertainment for you at every destination -- none of them more than a few hours' drive away from St. Louis. These photos showing the highlights of their journey could well inspire a trip of your own. So what are you waiting for? Pack your bags and get away.

RFT writers Doyle Murphy (Springfield), Kelly Glueck (Francois Mountains), Allison Babka (Greenville) and Elizabeth Semko (Hermann) contributed these stories.

06/07/2016
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To the north of St. Louis: Springfield, Il.Nothing introduces you to a town quite like local, hole-in-the-wall dining, so start your Springfield getaway at Cozy Dog Diner (2935 S. Sixth Street, 217-525-1992; www.cozydogdrivein.com). Park under the spinning sign, cut past the wall-to-wall Americana memorabilia, step up to the long counter and order a corn dog. It's probably better to call it a Cozy Dog, because this is where corn dogs were invented, or so the owners claim. The dogs are $2.05 each. Cozy also runs specials on a dozen for $20.75. That's probably overkill, but who are we to judge? Photo by Doyle Murphy.
To the north of St. Louis: Springfield, Il.

Nothing introduces you to a town quite like local, hole-in-the-wall dining, so start your Springfield getaway at Cozy Dog Diner (2935 S. Sixth Street, 217-525-1992; www.cozydogdrivein.com). Park under the spinning sign, cut past the wall-to-wall Americana memorabilia, step up to the long counter and order a corn dog. It's probably better to call it a Cozy Dog, because this is where corn dogs were invented, or so the owners claim. The dogs are $2.05 each. Cozy also runs specials on a dozen for $20.75. That's probably overkill, but who are we to judge? Photo by Doyle Murphy.
Lincoln's tomb is less than five miles north of Cozy in the Oak Ridge Cemetery (1441 Monument Avenue, 217-782-2717; www.lincolntomb.org). Pause inside the gates and pay your respects to Roy "Mr. Accordion" Bertelli. Photo by Jenna Murphy.
Lincoln's tomb is less than five miles north of Cozy in the Oak Ridge Cemetery (1441 Monument Avenue, 217-782-2717; www.lincolntomb.org). Pause inside the gates and pay your respects to Roy "Mr. Accordion" Bertelli. Photo by Jenna Murphy.
The rebellious musician was a local legend who played with Lawrence Welk. That was an impressive credit back in the day, but what keeps the squeezebox master relevant thirteen years after his death is the ostentatious mausoleum he built as an everlasting "screw you" to Oak Ridge's overlords. Get details on the story here. Photo by Jenna Murphy.
The rebellious musician was a local legend who played with Lawrence Welk. That was an impressive credit back in the day, but what keeps the squeezebox master relevant thirteen years after his death is the ostentatious mausoleum he built as an everlasting "screw you" to Oak Ridge's overlords. Get details on the story here. Photo by Jenna Murphy.
As for Lincoln's tomb, it's a quick and interesting introduction to the many remembrances in Springfield. A statue of him out front is dull bronze except for the gleaming nose, polished by the hands of thousands of visitors. A heavy door at the base of the tomb provides (free!) access to curved, marble hallways adorned with more Lincoln statues and plaques engraved with excerpts from his speeches. You eventually come to the burial chamber. Lincoln's remains lie ten feet below the floor, and his wife, Mary, and three of his boys are in crypts along the south wall. Photo by Jenna Murphy.
As for Lincoln's tomb, it's a quick and interesting introduction to the many remembrances in Springfield. A statue of him out front is dull bronze except for the gleaming nose, polished by the hands of thousands of visitors. A heavy door at the base of the tomb provides (free!) access to curved, marble hallways adorned with more Lincoln statues and plaques engraved with excerpts from his speeches. You eventually come to the burial chamber. Lincoln's remains lie ten feet below the floor, and his wife, Mary, and three of his boys are in crypts along the south wall. Photo by Jenna Murphy.
From there, the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library & Museum (212 N. Sixth Street, 217-558-8844; www.illinois.gov/alplm) is just two miles south. Tickets are $15 for adults and $6 for kids ages five to fifteen — one of the more expensive Lincoln things you can do but worth it. Among other things, this place has legit, Tupac-would-be-jealous holograms and a theater that rattles, flashes and booms with such force you'll flinch. 
Not enough Lincoln for you? Check out the Lincoln Home National Historic Site (426 S. 7th Street, 217-492-4241; www.nps.gov/liho). Then grab a beer at Obed & Isaac's Microbrewery and Eatery (500 S. Sixth Street, 217-670-0627; www.obedandisaacs.com) and a nightcap at Bob's Butternut Hut (215 N. Second Street; 217-789-7777). Bed down at the Country Inn & Suites (3092 Stevenson Drive, 217-544-5151; www.countryinns.com). Photo by Doyle Murphy.
From there, the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library & Museum (212 N. Sixth Street, 217-558-8844; www.illinois.gov/alplm) is just two miles south. Tickets are $15 for adults and $6 for kids ages five to fifteen — one of the more expensive Lincoln things you can do but worth it. Among other things, this place has legit, Tupac-would-be-jealous holograms and a theater that rattles, flashes and booms with such force you'll flinch.

Not enough Lincoln for you? Check out the Lincoln Home National Historic Site (426 S. 7th Street, 217-492-4241; www.nps.gov/liho). Then grab a beer at Obed & Isaac's Microbrewery and Eatery (500 S. Sixth Street, 217-670-0627; www.obedandisaacs.com) and a nightcap at Bob's Butternut Hut (215 N. Second Street; 217-789-7777). Bed down at the Country Inn & Suites (3092 Stevenson Drive, 217-544-5151; www.countryinns.com). Photo by Doyle Murphy.
You may have had your fill of Lincoln-themed attractions by the next day, which isn't a problem. Go to the Dana-Thomas House (301 E. Lawrence Street, 217-782-6776; www.dana-thomas.org) designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. It's a free (donations suggested) and fascinating look at one of the visionary architect's prairie-style homes. Tour guides lead visitors through a dizzying number of levels, often adorned by "art glass" windows designed by Wright. Photo by Doyle Murphy.
You may have had your fill of Lincoln-themed attractions by the next day, which isn't a problem. Go to the Dana-Thomas House (301 E. Lawrence Street, 217-782-6776; www.dana-thomas.org) designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. It's a free (donations suggested) and fascinating look at one of the visionary architect's prairie-style homes. Tour guides lead visitors through a dizzying number of levels, often adorned by "art glass" windows designed by Wright. Photo by Doyle Murphy.
There is one more thing you have to do before leaving town: Eat a horseshoe. The cheese fry/meat sandwich mashup is Springfield's answer to St. Louis' slinger. D'arcy's Pint (661 W. Stanford Avenue, 217-492-8800; www.darcyspintonline.com) has a good one. Roll to your car and come back to St. Louis overfed and full of historical trivia. Photo by Doyle Murphy.
There is one more thing you have to do before leaving town: Eat a horseshoe. The cheese fry/meat sandwich mashup is Springfield's answer to St. Louis' slinger. D'arcy's Pint (661 W. Stanford Avenue, 217-492-8800; www.darcyspintonline.com) has a good one. Roll to your car and come back to St. Louis overfed and full of historical trivia. Photo by Doyle Murphy.
To the south of St. Louis: St. Francois Mountains
Need an escape from the concrete jungle? Whether you're looking to zen out in front of vistas and waterfalls or have a little fun sliding down nature's natural waterslide, the St. Francois Mountains have something for everyone. Photo by Kelly Glueck.
To the south of St. Louis: St. Francois Mountains

Need an escape from the concrete jungle? Whether you're looking to zen out in front of vistas and waterfalls or have a little fun sliding down nature's natural waterslide, the St. Francois Mountains have something for everyone. Photo by Kelly Glueck.
It takes just two hours to drive from St. Louis to the highest point in Missouri, Taum Sauk, listed at a whopping 1,772 feet. The best views arriving at Taum Sauk can be found from a 1949 fire tower (gps coordinates: 37.5688,-90.718758) and the designated lookout just before you ditch your car for the trail (148 Taum Sauk Trail, Middle Brook; www.mostateparks.com/park/taum-sauk-mountain-state-park). The lookout can't be missed. The easiest way to find the fire tower is to turn left when the paved road turns to gravel. Photo by Kelly Glueck.
It takes just two hours to drive from St. Louis to the highest point in Missouri, Taum Sauk, listed at a whopping 1,772 feet. The best views arriving at Taum Sauk can be found from a 1949 fire tower (gps coordinates: 37.5688,-90.718758) and the designated lookout just before you ditch your car for the trail (148 Taum Sauk Trail, Middle Brook; www.mostateparks.com/park/taum-sauk-mountain-state-park). The lookout can't be missed. The easiest way to find the fire tower is to turn left when the paved road turns to gravel. Photo by Kelly Glueck.
After you get your obligatory Instagram photo at Taum Sauk, head down the Mina Sauk Trail counter-clockwise. This is a three-mile loop marked with red blazers. Get more details on the path you should follow here -- and take a look at this photo of a visitor enjoying the view of the St. Francois Mountains atop Mina Sauk Falls. Photo by Kelly Glueck.
After you get your obligatory Instagram photo at Taum Sauk, head down the Mina Sauk Trail counter-clockwise. This is a three-mile loop marked with red blazers. Get more details on the path you should follow here -- and take a look at this photo of a visitor enjoying the view of the St. Francois Mountains atop Mina Sauk Falls. Photo by Kelly Glueck.