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  1. Default Midwest Road Trip Help! STL to... ?

    My husband and I are wanting to do a 4-5 day road trip around the midwest! We'll be leaving from St. Louis and we're interested in visiting quirky, cute places/attractions (holes in the wall, best kept secrets, etc.) rather than really popular, touristy places.

    We would LOVE to bring our dog, but we know that asking for advice on a dog-friendly Midwest road trip is probably too much to ask. lol. Any advice out there?! :)

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    Actually, asking about dog friendly roadtrips is a much easier question to answer! "Where to go" is really the most difficult question for anyone else to answer, because the answer really is the first step in planning a roadtrip. On a 4-5 day trip, you could be looking at anywhere of up to 1000 miles away in any direction, which actually puts a very large part of the country into the list of possibilities.

    The most helpful thing would be if you have a few ideas already of what you might think is quirky and cute, but not touristy. If you have a few ideas you can bring to the table, then it is much easier for others to offer other ideas in the area and/or other things that would be along the same lines. At the very least, I'd check out the RTA Map Center and see if some of the attractions there are along the lines of what you'd like to base your trip around.

    There's also a lot of information here about traveling with pet. Are you planning for this to be a motel trip or are you thinking of camping? Most State Parks and National Forests are great places to go on trips with pet, although National Parks tend to be pretty limiting on where you can go with them.

  3. Default

    Thank you so much for the quick response!

    We would like to do a motel/hotel trip, but we've heard from several people that this isn't a good idea with a dog because 1. dog friendly places tend to be unkempt and dirty and 2. even if we found dog friendly places, most places won't allow you to leave the dog alone (if we wanted to go out to dinner, etc.).

    Okay, here is where my cute and quirky idea comes from (and I'm sure you all have heard this a million times before!): the road trip scenes from the movie Elizabethtown. It's full of adventure and fun; goofy little destinations and best-kept-secret restaurants.

    There are a couple little towns around St. Louis that we love...Kimmswick and Ste. Genevieve, and they've got this little homey, historical, cute feel. That's another part of our inspiration.

    In addition, we love Chicago, so we might consider doing a day of our trip there, but not seeing things like The Bean or the Sears Tower...but rather exploring the true soul of the city. :)

  4. Default

    I should also add that we don't HAVE to make this a dog-friendly road trip, as we have a great place to leave our pup...but it was something I was curious about.

    We would like to leave STL in one route and loop back a different route, if possible.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    Gosh, there are SO many ideas for a road trip starting in STL! You could explore Illinois (full of history, Rt 66 artifacts/museums, mound sites, Chicago is full of museums too). You could go to Mammoth Cave in KY, and spend a day there.

    Other RTA members have suggested looking at the RTA Map Center and attractions lists. Another suggestion: if you are a AAA member, you can go to an office and pick up some maps and tour books to browse through. (If you're not a AAA member, you may be able to find some of the old tour books at a thrift store.) Sometimes when we are short on ideas, we comb through those. We have visited some otherwise-unknown places that way. Maybe this is because I'm rather old-fashioned and prefer the "paper method" of planning a trip.


  6. Default

    I just looked at the RTA map and maybe I'm just getting used to it, but I can't seem to dig up the attractions/destinations I'm looking for. Like, when I search in the keyword slot, it's only coming up with a few places around STL and I know it's missing tons and tons of great little spots, so I figured I'd do better getting suggestions of places from fellow road trippers.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default Seeking Hidden / Little Known Gems.

    My favourite way of finding these gems along the way and in small towns, is simply to drive there, and ask the locals. Every place has something of which the locals are proud. Almost every place has a visitor centre. As well as that, it is amazing the information you get from speaking with some of the senior citizens in any of these places.

    Once these attractions are on the internet and / or in guide books, they simply cease being Hidden / Little Known Gems.


  8. Default Route 66 Roadtrip from St. Louis, help?

    Alright, the husband and I have decided on a Route 66 trip out of St. Louis. Here are some questions I have:

    1. As I'm fairly new at this, should we be planning to take the Old Route 66 or no? Also, I've heard that Old Route 66 doesn't show on current maps...what is the best resource we can use?

    2. We're heading west out of STL and are looking at a 4-5 day trip. Is there an interesting way to loop around instead of just driving straight back down 66, or is that recommended to do?

    3. Any must-see locations we should stop for?

    4. Any other recommendations/thoughts? This is our first road trip that's not a day trip, so we can use all the logistical help we can get!


    Moderator Note: Please don't create multiple threads about the same trip
    Last edited by Midwest Michael; 03-04-2012 at 10:56 PM. Reason: Removed non-standard font, Merged Threads

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default That's right, it no longer exists.

    You are correct, route 66 does not show on maps, as it was decommisioned more than a quarter of a century ago. Mainly swallowed up by the Interstate system. There are however remnants of it to be found. Some I have seen is in western MO near Springfield and the other in the Kingman / Seligman area of AZ.

    There are quite a few resources to be found which all have some usefull information. One of these is a book called Road Trip USA, by J Jensen. Another is to be found here.

    On this forum we don't do 'must-sees', as everyone has a different idea of what is and what is not a 'must see'. But I am sure as you read more information about the old historic route you are bound to pick your favourites.

    One thing which will help you greatly, if you do not already have one, is to get a large map of the US, or maps of the relevant States, or a good road atlas. It will help you put the trip in perspective.

    4 - 5 days is not really all that much time to go to the end of the route, if you want to do it in a loop from St Louis.


  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default How this works

    Quote Originally Posted by kb.attarian View Post
    1. dog friendly places tend to be unkempt and dirty and 2. even if we found dog friendly places, most places won't allow you to leave the dog alone (if we wanted to go out to dinner, etc.).
    Actually some of the finest hotels and inns in the world are dog-friendly. I've heard the tales about dirty rooms in dog-friendly motels, but I've never seen a single one -- Mostly I think that's not accurate information. However, no place I've ever been allows you to leave a dog in the room alone.

    The RoadTrip Attractions on the RTA Custom Maps is a work in progress. We only include those places that our staff has been to recently. So, yes, in any one area, we've only included a mere fraction of the stuff to see.

    And there are dozens of books and sites that will help you plan a trip on Route 66. Here are the two I personally recommend:

    Route 66 Web site by Guy Randal

    Route 66 Handbook by Drew Knowles

    More RTA resources for Route 66 here.


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