A quaint village nestled among rolling hills and vineyards. Miles of bike and hike trails along a gorgeous river. Nope, you’re not in the South of France: you’re in Washington, Missouri, and it just might be the hidden gem vacation your family is longing for. Read on to find out why we love this little spot in the heart of Missouri for an unexpected, sophisticated family vacation that won’t break the bank.
1. The Epic Katy Trail
Washington, Missouri, is located right along the Missouri River and the Katy Trail. The Katy Trail is a hike and bike trail created from 240-miles of the former path of the Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad. It includes 26 hiking trailheads and four fully restored railroad depots along the way.
2. A Charming Downtown
Washington is home to a lively Historic District with street festivals, including BBQ and Bluesfest, Art Fair and Winefest, and Fall Festival of the Arts and Crafts. They also host regular Thursday night live music events, such as, Music at the Market and Sunset on the Riverfront. You’ll find a local Farmers’ Market every Saturday, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., from April to October, and the Iron Spike Model Train Museum is a favorite for kids.
3. Locally Owned Shops & Restaurants
Whether you’re craving pizza and froyo or something more sophisticated, you’ll find an array of family-friendly, owner-operated establishments to suit any craving. Looking for a souvenir? From corn cob pipes to books and antiques, there are plenty of charming shops to pick up a reminder of your family trip.
4. Wineries, Wineries & More Wineries
Okay, so this might actually be number one for some of us, but did you know that this part of Missouri (Central-Eastern) is home to more than forty wineries, all within an hour’s drive of Washington? Move over, Napa! These wineries are never as crowded and feature world-class wines and cuisine.
5. Train Time
Washington is conveniently located along the Amtrak Missouri River Runner line, with direct routes from St. Louis and Kansas City. If you’re feeling extra adventurous, you can bring your bikes on the train for a car-free adventure your family will never forget.
6. Unique Family-Friendly Lodging
While you’ll find plenty of comfy chain hotels to stay in, what really sets Washington apart are the many historic homes you can stay in right downtown. Many of them let you rent out an entire floor or the full home so your family has plenty of space to sprawl.
7. Wheel Cool Fun
Washington has plenty of parks to explore on bike, including the Riverfront Park, which features an asphalt trail ideal for young riders (and rollerbladers!). You can also explore Lion’s Lake, where you’ll find an All-Abilities Playground and a lovely walking trail around the lake.
If you want a place to visit that is off the beaten path with plenty of fresh air and history, visit Washington, Missouri. No passport required.