Nestled in Missouri’s wine country, Klondike Park, located at 4600 Highway 94 S., Augusta, MO, is 250 acres of scenic property, featuring more than 4 miles of natural and paved hiking trails. Once the site of an old silica sand quarry, the area has been preserved and turned into beautiful parkland. A unique lookout bluff features picturesque views of the Missouri River Valley, as well as the historic Katy Trail. In addition to hiking through some of the most beautiful parts of Augusta, Missouri, the park also features a unique birding/wildlife area, picnic shelters (remember that picnic you packed?) and multiple playgrounds.
Lincoln Home National Historic Site | Springfield, IL
A little over an hour from East St. Louis, Lincoln Home National Historic Site, located at 413 S. 8th St., Springfield, IL, offers beautiful tree-lined streets, which provide a picture-perfect backdrop for fall photos. You can take the walking tour yourself or join a free tour with a park ranger for a more informative look at this national historic site. Tour Lincoln’s home, which was constructed in 1839 and beautifully restored to its 1860 appearance. The 12-room, Greek Revival house was Abraham and Mary Lincoln's home for 17 years. Make the best of this day trip with a stop at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum (326 S. 7th St.).
Rockwoods Reservation | Wildwood
Seven hiking trails at the Rockwoods Reservation feature the colorful leaves you’re seeking. Rockwoods Reservation, an 1,880-acre park located at 2751 Glencoe Rd., Wildwood, MO, features a rich diversity of plant and animal life, as well as springs, caves and rock formations. The area is also known for bird-watching, and is listed as an “Important Bird Area” by Audubon Missouri, so be sure to take your binoculars and camera!
Forest Park | St. Louis
You don’t have to look much further for beautiful fall leaves than the heart of our great city — Forest Park. At 1,293 acres, it’s larger than Central Park by 500 acres, making it one of the largest urban parks in the United States. Explore the fall colors as you hike the paved trails, taking in the monuments, historic buildings, wildlife, waterways and beautiful landscapes along the way. The park is also home to the Saint Louis Zoo, Missouri History Museum, Saint Louis Art Museum and Saint Louis Science Center – so after your stroll to take in the beautiful scenery, you can also enjoy one of the park’s many free amenities.
Main Street | Historic St. Charles
The City of St. Charles offers breathtaking views of fall right on the banks of the Missouri River. Walk or bicycle on the Katy Trail and immerse yourself in nature and up-close views of fall color. To extend your time in the crisp fall air, take a stroll down Main Street in St. Charles and enjoy lunch on one of their many outdoor patios, or learn more about the history of Halloween during Legends & Lanterns.
Pere Marquette State Park | Grafton, IL
Head to Grafton, ideally via the ferry, and check out Pere Marquette State Park, located at 13653 Lodge Blvd., Grafton, IL. The park comprises 8,050 acres, making it the largest state park in Illinois. After exploring the acres and acres of beautiful scenic fall foliage, check out the Pere Marquette Lodge and Conference Center. This awe-inspiring structure is made of limestone and massive timbers, complete with a 50-foot vaulted ceiling and 700-ton stone fireplace. Skip the picnic and enjoy lunch on the grounds at the lodge restaurant, which is known for its fried chicken.
Kara Roberson is a freelance writer and public relations professional who enjoys exploring Missouri's attractions, museums and cultural destinations with her two daughters.
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