One-Tank Escapes for 7 Cities

This summer, the key words are "quick" and "easy." But you still want a trip that delivers. So, hit the road! These seven drives are real getaways—even if they take you only a few hours from home.

Great River Road, Mo.
88 miles from St. Louis

On the western banks of the Mississippi River, Highway 79—one of several scenic byways known collectively as the Great River Road—is dotted with old steamboat towns that attract artisans, bird-watchers, and lovers of all things Mark Twain. HIGHLIGHTS Find rustic rockers made of durable Missouri willow at The Bent Tree Gallery in Clarksville (, 660/425-2131). The Eagle's Nest Bistro in the town of Louisiana pairs French cuisine with hearty local vintages from its winery (, 573/754-9888, entrées from $12.50). In Hannibal, upriver, the Mark Twain Boyhood Home & Museum displays the signature white jacket that belonged to Huck Finn's creator (573/221-9010,, $9). Down the street, Twain-happy tourists linger over coffee at Java Jive, run by local potter Steve Ayers (573/221-1017, OVERNIGHT OPTION Cedarcrest Manor, in Clarksville, is a restored 1840s mansion with antique-filled rooms, some of which overlook the river (573/242-3310,, from $150). DRIVING TIPS Riding through the clogged St. Louis suburbs is a necessary evil; head out in mid-morning when traffic ebbs. EN ROUTE Between the towns of Louisiana and Hannibal, see wading birds ply the marshes at the Ted Shanks Conservation Area (573/754-6171)  Rachel Young



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