Even though St. Louis has plenty of fun things to do with friends and family, sometimes you want a little more than what’s down the street. There are so many wonderful cities and events within a reasonable distance, so why not venture out a bit further? This is the time of year to take the family and get away for a day or two. These are some of the best destinations to take the family for a good experience.
Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari
452 E. Christmas Blvd.
Santa Claus, IN 47579
(812) 937-4401

If you’re up for a long day, travel east on I-64 for about 3 hours (200 miles) and you will arrive at Santa Claus, Indiana. There your family can visit the amusement park and water park, Holiday World. Holiday World includes a water park (Slashin’ Safari) and different themed areas that revolve around Christmas and Thanksgiving. Holiday World provides free and unlimited soft drinks —including carbonated beverages, lemonade, Gatorade, iced tea and ice water—in both parks. Holiday World also offers free sunscreen and free parking. One of Holiday World’s roller coasters was named the #1 roller coaster in America by Time Magazine, and in 2013, USA Today proclaimed Splashin’ Safari to be the Best Water Park in the USA. If you buy your ticket online, the cost is $40.99, or $34.99 if you’re under 54″.

Meramec Caverns
P.O. Box 948
Stanton, MO 63079
(573) 468-2283

About 60 miles west of St. Louis is one of the most famous caves in America. Take a guided tour of the over seven-story cave and take pictures of the amazing formations seen throughout. The Meramec Caverns site also offers ziplining, riverboat rides, canoe floats, panning for gold and an onsite restaurant. The cost for the tour is $21.00 for adults, $11.00 for children ages five to 11 and free for children under 4 years old.

Mark Twain Boyhood Home & Museum
120 N. Main St.
Hannibal MO 63401
(573) 221-9010

Designated as a National Historic Landmark, it is one of Hannibal’s most historic homes. Mark Twain Boyhood Home & Museum also includes the Huckeleberry Finn and Becky Thatcher homes, J.M. Clemens Justice of the Peace Office, Grant’s Drug Store and two interactive museums. While in Hannibal, you can also see the Hannibal History Museum, the Molly Brown Museum and the Rockcliffe Mansion. Hannibal is about 120 miles north of St. Louis. Ticket prices to tour the Mark Twain Boyhood Home & Museum are: adults $11, children 6-17 $6 and children 5 and under are free.

Related: Best Day Trips For Families Around St. Louis

Pere Marquette State Park
13653 Lodge Blvd.
Grafton, IL 62037
(618) 786-2331

Pere Marquette State Park and Lodge is situated on the bluffs over the Illinois River. It offers hiking and biking trails with breathtaking views. Your family can also enjoy rock climbing, fishing, a tour of the lodge and its life-size chess set, a meal at the restaurant and shopping in the gift shop. Pere Marquette Lodge first opened for business in 1940. The centerpiece of the lodge great room is an enormous stone fireplace that welcomes guests to the hotel and restaurant. The surrounding Graton area offers horseback riding, boating, a waterpark and much more.

Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum
212 N. Sixth St.
Springfield, IL 62701
(217) 558-8934

If you’re a fan of Abraham Lincoln there is no better place to visit than the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum in Springfield, Illinois. The city of Springfield itself is filled with tributes to our nation’s 16th President. The museum is full of various artifacts, hi-tech exhibits, interactive displays and multimedia programs. You can even view the original hand-written copy of the Gettysburg Address. Make it a day and visit the Lincoln Home, which has been restored to its 1860 appearance, and the Lincoln Tomb, the final resting place of Abraham Lincoln, his wife, Mary, and three of their four sons. Your family can also visit the State Capitol, which houses the offices of the Governor, Lt. Governor, Secretary of State, Comptroller, and Treasurer, as well as the House of Representatives and Senate Chambers. Visitors are allowed to watch when the legislature is in session. This is a great way to learn about our history and have fun at the same time.

Related: Top Day Trips For Under $100 In The St. Louis Area

Janet Kontz is a Licensed Professional Counselor, specializing in family and parenting issues. She is an Active Parenting course leader and holds a Master of Arts degree in professional counseling. She has worked as a Foster Care Worker, a Substance Abuse Counselor, an Outpatient Adolescent Therapist and a Behavioral Coach. She currently teaches Technology and Writing. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.