Only In Your State featured some of the amazing Route 66 stops in Missouri, and while I want to visit them all at some point, here are my top five picks:
1. Meramec Caverns – Sullivan
Open since 1935, the Meramec Caverns is the most visited cave in Missouri, as well as one of the most popular destinations on Route 66! Maybe it’s due to the cool rock formations, or because it was one of the infamous outlaws, Jesse James, hideouts while he was on the run? Imagine all of the cool things one would discover by taking a trek through its 4.6 mile path!
How much I want to visit: 8/10
The fact Jesse James used this as a hideout is amazing to me. Especially since he was probably able to hide with ease, due to the length of the caverns! Imagine all of the planning and scheming he did while using the cavern as his lair, and it’s crazy to me the public can walk through at any time!
2. Route 66 Drive-In – Carthage
Ever been to a drive-in movie theater? If not, you’re in luck! This theatre is one of the last-standing drive-in theaters in Missouri. Running from the first weekend of April to mid-September, travelers can take a much-needed break and kick back while watching the flick of the evening from the comfort of their own car! Be sure to grab some goodies during the intermission to get the full movie experience!
How much I want to visit: 8.4/10
Disclaimer: I’ve never actually been to a drive-in movie theater! There used to be one near my hometown, but it sadly closed down a few years ago. For some reason, I find it oddly comforting you can watch a movie in your own car; it’s like bringing your own bubble with you! But, I have to wonder; how hectic does it get when trying to leave? I imagine there must be a bit of chaos! But, nonetheless, I’m very intrigued by this idea, and the thought of seeing a movie on a screen that big!
3. Chain of Rocks Bridge – St. Louis
Did you know this bridge was a filming location in the 1980 movie, Escape from New York? This beautiful bridge previously connected the Illinois and Missouri parts of Route 66, but is now only available to walkers and bikers. This bridge also has a unique feature; a 22-degree bend at the middle of the crossing!
How much I want to visit: 9/10
Okay, this bridge looks like the perfect back-drop for a photo. Peering out over the Mississippi River, taking a quick stroll would be a fantastic way for a traveler to stretch their legs during a pit-stop on their road trip. Also, it would be amazing to visit a movie’s filming location! Maybe I’ll act out a few scenes while I’m there?
4. Route 66 Red Rocker – Fanning
Built in 2008, this 42-foot rocking chair is actually the world’s largest rocking chair! Visitors can bask in the glory of this stunning rocker, and can actually sit on it. However, only on the first Saturday in August, known as “Picture on Rocker Day.”
How much I want to visit: 9.4/10
While I do have a fear of heights, I would suck it up to sit on this gigantic chair and snap a pic! The fact you can only sit on this once a year gives this stop an air of exclusiveness, even if it is a small window. Guess I have to plan accordingly! This stop is also not at all what I would have expected while driving down Route 66; it’s one of those quirky places that makes the iconic Mother Road an American classic!
5. Route 66 Gary’s Gay Parita Gas Station – Paris Springs
A former Sinclair gas station, this building is now a roadside Route 66 museum! Visitors can stop by and chat with the owner, Gary, while enjoying all sorts of Route 66 artifacts. When you stop here, you’re no longer in 2021; nope, you’re back in the 60s, reliving the glory days!
How much I want to visit: 5,000/10
YES. YES. YES. SO MUCH YES. My dad has a ton of Sinclair merchandise in his garage (pictures coming soon? Stay tuned to find out!), and I would love the opportunity to visit an actual gas station! Although it’s not actually a gas station, it’s okay because Gary has worked so freaking hard to make this museum as amazing as it is (four candy canes for you Gary, you go Gary).
Ending my Missouri road trip at this stop would be the icing on the cake!
There we have it, my top five Route 66 stops in Missouri! What do you think, is there anywhere else I should visit? Let me know in the comments below!
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