Are you tired of the hustle and bustle of the city and craving a change of scenery? Luckily, St. Louis is surrounded by a variety of beautiful destinations that are perfect for a day trip. Whether you’re in the mood for scenic drives, outdoor adventures, or cultural experiences, there’s something for everyone just a short drive away. So, pack your bags and hop in the car – we’ve rounded up seven of the best day trips from St. Louis that are sure to provide an unforgettable escape.

#1. Hermann, Missouri – A Taste of Germany in the Heartland

View of Hermann, Missouri from the sky

Located about an hour and a half from St. Louis, Hermann, Missouri is a charming small town that’s known for its wineries, antique shops, and German heritage. Visitors can enjoy a wine tasting, stroll through the historic downtown, or take a scenic drive through the surrounding countryside. Be sure to stop by the Hermannhof Winery, which has been producing award-winning wines for over 175 years.

#2. Elephant Rocks State Park – A Geological Wonder

Elephant Rocks State Park is surrounded by nature

Located about two hours from St. Louis, Elephant Rocks State Park is a unique geological formation that’s a must-visit for nature lovers. The park’s stunning granite formations look like giant elephants, hence the name “Elephant Rocks.” Visitors can hike through the park, climb on the giant boulders, and take in the beautiful natural scenery.

Location: 7406 Highway 21, Belleview, MO 63623

#3. Meramec Caverns – An Underground Adventure

A day trip to Meramec Caverns is perfect for the whole family.

Located about an hour from St. Louis, Meramec Caverns is a popular tourist attraction that offers guided tours of a series of stunning underground caves. Visitors can explore the underground passageways, marvel at the unique rock formations, and learn about the history and geology of the area. Don’t miss the “Wine Room,” where you can see the world’s largest stalactite formation made of cave coral.

Location: 1135 Highway W, Sullivan, MO 63080

#4. Alton, Illinois – A Historic Riverfront Town

The Altonbridge in Alton near the Alton Museum of History and Art and the Great River Road

Located about 30 minutes from St. Louis, Alton is a charming riverfront town that’s full of history and culture. Visitors can explore the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center, the Alton Museum of History and Art, and the Great River Road scenic drive. Be sure to check out the famous Mineral Springs Mall, which is said to be haunted.

#5. Johnson’s Shut-Ins State Park – Nature’s Water Park

Beautiful water flowing through Johnson's Shut-Ins State Park

Located about two hours from St. Louis, Johnson’s Shut-Ins State Park is a natural water park that’s perfect for a summer day trip. Visitors can swim in the park’s refreshing pools and waterfalls, hike through the surrounding wilderness, and enjoy the beautiful Ozark Mountain scenery.

#6. Meramec Springs Park – A Hidden Gem

Meramec Springs Park waterfalls

Located about an hour and a half from St. Louis in St. James, Missouri, Meramec Springs Park is a beautiful nature preserve that offers hiking trails, fishing, and camping. The park is home to a stunning spring-fed trout hatchery, where visitors can watch the fish swim and feed. Be sure to pack a picnic and enjoy the beautiful surroundings.

#7. Hannibal, Missouri – A Literary Adventure

Outside view of the Mark Twain Museum in Hannibal, MO

Located about two hours from St. Louis, Hannibal, Missouri is a charming small town that’s famous for being the hometown of Mark Twain. Visitors can explore the Mark Twain Boyhood Home and Museum, take a ride on a riverboat, or stroll through the historic downtown. Don’t miss the famous Tom Sawyer Days festival in July.


Whether you’re in the mood for a taste of Germany, a geological wonder, or a literary adventure, these seven day trips from St. Louis are sure to provide an unforgettable escape from the city. From the natural beauty of Elephant Rocks State Park and Johnson’s Shut-Ins State Park to the cultural richness of Alton and Hannibal, there’s something for everyone. And if you’re looking for a quieter and more peaceful getaway, Meramec Springs Park offers a serene and natural environment perfect for a picnic or a hike.

So next time you’re feeling restless in St. Louis, grab some friends or family, hop in the car, and hit the road for one of these amazing day trips. You won’t regret it!

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