The lovely riverfront community of St. Charles, Missouri, is only 30 minutes away from the bustling city of St. Louis, but in many ways, it feels like another world.
Everything about St. Charles is charming, from the brick-paved historic South Main Street filled with boutiques and restaurants to the wineries, historic attractions and friendly people.
St. Charles is most famous for being the final embarkation point in the famed Western expedition of Lewis and Clark. At the Lewis and Clark Boat House and Nature Center, you will find great exhibits and dioramas that highlight the expedition. St. Charles was also the site of Missouri’s first capitol in the 1820s. I got to do a great tour of the First State Capitol State Historic Site, and what I really liked about it was that it was geared to adults and children alike with plenty of hands-on exhibits to keep people of all ages interested.
Exploring the Town
After my morning of history and culture, I took a walk along the Katy Trail by the Missouri River. It’s a lovely place to walk or bike, and there is a great coffee shop called the Bike Stop Café that serves fabulous coffee. You can rent bikes there, too!
Next, I head to South Main Street and found 10 blocks of charming shops, restaurants and boutiques. You will want to go into every single one of them, and you should! Some of the boutiques are full of an eclectic mix and others jam-packed with sweets, cakes, fudge and ice cream that come in all flavors imaginable. If you’re craving wine gums or chocolate digestives, there is even a shop offering everything British. I bought a dress in one shop and a handmade coffee mug in another, and both items have been met with rave reviews since I returned home!
Walking the Katy Trail
Sampling and Sipping in St. Charles
Now, let’s talk about food and drinks! St. Charles' restaurants are known for their great selection of wines, excellent food, warm atmosphere and relaxing outside seating. Lewis and Clark’s is one favorite thanks to its comforting cuisine and wonderful view of Main Street. St. Charles also has some breweries that are fun to check out.
I am so glad that I stayed overnight in St. Charles, as there are plenty of lovely bed-and-breakfasts and hotels in town plus a casino resort. My only regret was that I had just one night there. Do yourself a favor and plan to stay several nights.