Are you a St. Louis native in search of a change of scenery—but only for a day? Or, are you visiting the area and want to get out and explore the state of Missouri?

Day trips are convenient because you get the pleasure of traveling with friends or family to a new place and are able to return back to your home within the same day. You get to sleep in your own bed, and you don't have to pack a lot for an overnight trip. Here are the five best day trips near your home (or home away from home) in St. Louis that are fun and easy to travel to.

5 Easy And Fun Day Trips From St. Louis

1. Columbia, Missouri

Average driving time: 1 hour, 54 minutes

Miles: 125

Columbia, Missouri is a vibrant college town, home to the state university, University of Missouri. St. Louis and Kansas City are both of equal distance from the city. The Columbia metropolitan area is the fourth most populous urban area in Missouri. The Missouri Tigers, the state’s only major athletic program, plays football at Faurot Field and are members of the southeastern conference.

Popular Places/attractions:

Rock Bridge Memorial National Park

Shelter Gardens

Ragtag Cinema

Francus Quadrangle

The Blue Note


Shakespeare’s Pizza

CC’s City Broiler

Flat Branch Pub & Brewing


G&D Steakhouse

2. Jefferson City, Missouri

Average driving time: 2 hours, 6 minutes

Miles: 133

Jefferson City, Missouri is the capital of the state of Missouri. With a population of 43, 079, it is the 15th largest city in the state. Jefferson City is known for their arts and culture and various festivals. Jefferson City is named for Thomas Jefferson, who was the third president of the United States.

Popular Places/Attractions:

Missouri State Captial

Missouri State Museum

Fountain of the Centaurs


The Grand Café

Madison’s Café

Arris’ Pizza Palace

Das Stein Haus

Paddy Malone’s

3. Cape Girardeau, Missouri

Average driving time: 1 hour, 52 minutes

Miles: 119

Cape Girardeau is an emerging college town, as it is home to Southeast Missouri State University. Cape Girardeau has emerged into a culturally rich community.

Popular Places/Attractions:

Glenn House

Show Me Center

Rosemary Berkeland Harry L. Crisp II Museum

Isle Casino of Cape Girardeau


Broussard’s Cajun Cuisine

Pagliai’s Pizza

Celebrations Restaurant & Bar

Bella Italia Ristorante

4. Springfield, Missouri

Average driving time: 1 hour, 52 minutes

Miles: 119

Springfield is the third largest city in Missouri. The city houses several universities including Missouri State, Drury and Evangel University. Springfield’s nickname is the “Queen City of the Ozarks” and is known as the “Birthplace of Route 66.”

Popular Places/Attractions:

Dickerson Park Zoo

Pythian Home of Misouri

Landers Theatre

Wonders of Wildlife Museum & Aquarium


Metropolitan Grill

Jimm’s Steakhouse & Pub

Pizza House

London Calling Gourmet Pasty Company

Taj Mahal

5. Carlyle Lake

Average driving time: 1 hour, 2 minutes

Miles: 51

Carlyle Lake is located in Clinton County, Illinois. It is the largest man-made lake in Illinois and the largest lake within the state. Carlyle Lake is mainly used for boating, including sailing and fishing.

Recreational Options:





Boating & sailing

Biking & hiking


The Fish House

The Lubar & Bistro

Wheelan’s BBQ Shack

Covered in Chocolate

This article was written by Alisiana Peters.