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Here’s why St. Louis, Missouri, is the perfect RV family vacation

I’m not a travel agent. I just recognize a good (make that great) thing when I see it. And St. Louis is great! It’s especially great this summer because, with rising fuel prices, we’ve decided to vacation closer to home. We’ll not only save on fuel prices by staying closer, but there’s so much to see and do in this wonderful city on the Mississippi River.

St. Louis campgrounds

Bring your RV and stay at the KOA or Jellystone Park, both near Eureka, MO. Both campgrounds are located about 20 minutes from the city itself, but the trip on I-44 is beautiful. You’ll see amazing limestone/dolomite cliffs, lush forests, and the winding Meramec River.

Free attractions

You read that right! There are many, many places in and around St. Louis that you and your family can enjoy for free. I won’t go into a lot of detail. (It would fill a book!) You can Google the following free area attractions for more information: St. Louis Zoo, The Arch, Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis, and Forest Park. Also check out the St. Louis Art Museum, St. Louis Science Center, Missouri History Museum, Laumeier Sculpture Park, Ulysses S. Grant National Historic Site, City Garden, Old Courthouse (re: Dred Scott trial site), Lone Elk Park, Grant’s Farm, Soulard Farmers’ Market, Powder Valley Conservation Nature Center, Central Public Library, Jefferson Barracks Historic Park, The Old Cathedral, Soldier’s Memorial Military Museum, Federal Reserve Bank, and the World Bird Sanctuary. Whew! That’s quite a list! Did I mention they are all free?

Free factory tours

Select St. Louis businesses also offer free facility tours. Check out Schlafly Bottleworks, Anheuser-Busch Brewery, or 4 Hands Brewery for free tours and product samples for adults! Or tour Chocolate, Chocolate, Chocolate’s factory for free. You’ll even get a fresh piece of (you guessed it) chocolate at the end of your tour. And yes, it’s free, too!

For a fee

Many of the aforementioned free attractions also offer specialized tours for a fee. For example, you can go behind the scenes at the Zoo for an up-close look at your favorite animals; see fabulous special art installations on loan to the Art Museum; travel to the top of the Arch; or view an educational movie on the Science Center’s IMAX 3D experience.

History buffs can tour the following places: Field House Museum, Magic Chef Mansion, the Chatillon-DeMenil Mansion, Campbell House Museum, and the Daniel Boone Home. Take a Riordan Tour to discover the haunted side of St. Louis. Or try the St. Louis Paranormal Research Society’s tour. There really is something for everyone in St. Louis.

Sports fans can catch a St. Louis Cardinals baseball game if you time your summer vacation to coincide with when the Cards play at home in Busch Stadium. Tickets are as low as $15. The experience is priceless.

Eateries

St. Louis has so many great places to eat. From Italian to German to good ol’ American BBQ, they’ve got it all. Simply ask wherever you fuel up and the friendly people of St. Louis will gladly direct you to their favorite local restaurants. Or check out Sauce, St. Louis’ own free foodie magazine, for recommendations.

No matter when you plan to travel, be sure to put St. Louis, Missouri, on your “Go-To” list. You and your family won’t be disappointed.

What’s your favorite place to visit? Why? Tell us all about it in the comments. We’d love to recommend your favorite place to other readers.

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John Boy
11 days ago

Branson,MO for us. There is so much to do there between all the entertainment, sites to see such as DogWood Canyon,Downtown Branson, Branson Landing We bought into Treasure Lake RV park because of its location and 340 acres / 588 sites and beautiful surroundings.

Janet
11 days ago

We loved our few days in the St. Louis area. We didn’t have time to do a lot, but made it to the Arch (which my husband thought we were just going to look at from the outside – not a chance!) and to the farm where the Clydesdales live and Ted Drew’s Frozen Custard. We stayed at the KOA park mentioned above which was a great stay and is where I saw the first lightning bugs of my entire life. I was 66 and it was my biggest goal of our four-month cross country trip. We also took a little time to just drive around the city and look at the neighborhoods, some of which are older than anything that exists in California. I love seeing how different – and yet the same – other cities and towns are across the country. I’d go back to St. Louis again for a longer trip in a heartbeat.

David W
12 days ago

I agree with those who have mentioned Missouri Botanical Garden. One of the best in the world. Also, Tower Grove Park, right next door is a wonderful park. And Forest Park has become a top attraction –fantastic plantings, interesting statures and memorials, as well as the Zoo, Art Museum, History Museum, and Science Center (all free admission).

Bob M
13 days ago

Back 30 some years ago I visited St Louis with my wife when she was TDY. We enjoyed it. Remember eating at a good Italian restaurant, Visiting Bush brewery, ect. a friend I was in the Air Force with told me last year that it’s not a safe place anymore. It’s a shame how society ruins a good thing.

Bob S
13 days ago

I live in St Louis and I agree with everything Gail wrote. It is a great place to live. But, if you visit in the summer, you should brace yourself for the heat and humidity. It can be overwhelming.

MattD
13 days ago

Great article Gail Marsh!

Grace Wilfong
13 days ago

The City Museum is great place to explore, slide down, climb and experience.

Steve Tolbert
13 days ago

Check out Bellefontaine Cemetery. It’s interesting and also free.

Ray Zimmermann
13 days ago
Reply to  Steve Tolbert

Good suggestion, very interesting, pick up a map for the self-guided tour or take one of the evening guided walking tours in the summer. You will learn a lot about St. Louis (and American) history. Plus the cemetery is also an arboretum with a great collection of trees and plants.

Drew
13 days ago

Gail, those suggestions are great- I’ll admit I didn’t know about a lot of those things. I’d love to go to a Cardinal’s game!

Christine
13 days ago

Don’t forget the city museum. It is great for kids and adults alike. One of my favorite places in St Louis.

Tom Huling
13 days ago

As previously mentioned, the Missouri Botanical Garden is a must see.
Also for a fee is the City Museum and the Aquarium at Union Station.

Ron T.
13 days ago

Don’t confuse the area in the city limits with the whole metropolitan area. Like any big city there are certain places to avoid at certain times. There are many additional paid attractions in St. Louis too. One I worked at briefly is the Museum of Transport. I don’t live in MO now, but visit several times a year and usually bring grandchildren (next trip – the great-grandsons) along and love to show them all these places in the Show Me State.

bob
13 days ago

Lots of stuff to do there. Forbes and CBS deemed it as the most dangerous city in the US. I will glance out the window when I am driving thru it on the interstate.

Kenneth Johnston
13 days ago

I haven’t felt safe in St Louis for several years

Jeff Buckley
13 days ago

Yes, I totally agree. I live here in St Louis and it has all of that. Just make sure you are aware of your surroundings especially at night in the city. The city does have a lot of crime and tourists are targeted.

Ron
13 days ago

Ted Drew’s custard is one of the best in the country.

Janet
11 days ago
Reply to  Ron

Yes, Ron, it sure is. We made sure to stop twice while we were in the St. Louis area.

Pat
13 days ago

All good choices and you can also include the Botanical Gardens – well worth a visit!

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