Are you looking for a quick and fun road trip with kids? I’ve got all the tips for a successful road trip to Cape Girardeau including where to stay, where to eat, and things to do your kids will love.
Recently we headed south for a family wedding to my hometown of Cape Girardeau, MO. I’ll break down all the kid-approved hot spots you should check out. Cape is an easy drive only 120 miles from St. Louis. If you’re looking for a relaxing escape, here are some ideas my boys recommend.
What We Did
Buchheit’s Farm Supply
If your kids are animal lovers like mine, you need to stop at Buchheit’s Farm Store; it’s one of my boys’ all-time favorite activities. On Saturday and Sundays from 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. you can walk a potbelly pig around the store. They put the pig on a leash and feed it fresh-popped popcorn available at no cost. It’s the funniest sight to see, ever kid will go bonkers. The newest pig is named Curly Sue. There’s also a variety of cute little farm animals to see, such as chickens, chicks, bunnies, pigs and more. The last time we were there, Curly Sue had outgrown her leash, so we couldn’t take her around the store but remained in the enclosed animal area. The other perk my boys love is the free popcorn.
Trail of Tears State Park
We love hiking, and Trail of Tears State Park has several trails to choose from. Make sure to come prepared for your hike, and I recommend wearing long pants instead of shorts. Our favorite trail features a bluff overlooking the mighty Mississippi River, with a fantastic view. There’s also a different river overlook if you don’t want to walk the trail. The visitors center is small but worth a peek to see different animals and also has clean bathrooms.
St. Louis Iron Mountain Railroad
All aboard! This place brings back childhood memories for me. This was my first job when I was 14, and I sold snacks on the goodie cart. If you have any train lovers in your family, this is a must. A lot of the rides offered on the train are themed. We went on the Easter one, where the Easter Bunny makes an appearance, and there’s a huge egg hunt included. I’ve heard the Santa Express is very popular, and I always loved the one where characters dressed like Jesse James and his gang board and put on a robbery performance. Also, they offer a chocolate-addict ride, which sounds absolutely fabulous.
Downtown Cape Girardeau Farmers Market
This is a small farmers market featuring live music and local vendors selling fresh goodies. My boys are obsessed with their donut truck. These aren’t your average donuts, they’re made on site and are humongous! My mom introduced this destination to us, and it’s become one of our traditions when in town. After you’re done at the market, you can take a nice stroll down to the Mississippi River.
The flood wall by the banks of the river feature hand-painted murals with history of the surrounding area.
If you’re lucky there will be a barge or boat cruising down the river, and will honk its horn; my boys always get a kick out of that. A lot of the 2014 movie Gone Girl, starring Ben Affleck, was shot in Cape Girardeau, especially downtown which is located near the Riverwalk. You can check out some of the sites from the movie including a saloon called “The Bar”. They also have a driving tour where you see some of the filming sites and special stops. This isn’t necessarily a kid-friendly tour, but something fun if you’re in the area.
The Discovery Playhouse (Children’s museum)
This place is a blast. They have tons of hands-on exhibits, and they’ve always added more each time we go. My boys always enjoy the slides, water tables, grocery store, critter area, firetrucks, tire tower and more. Your kiddos won’t want to leave.
This is a great playground that will peak the interest of your kids and definitely burn off a lot of their energy. It was built in honor of a 3-year-old girl who passed away in 2009. She had physical limitations and was unable to enjoy most playgrounds, so through large fundraising efforts, this terrific playground was built.
Levi’s Adventure Trail
This is one of the most unique playgrounds I’ve been to in a while. It features a ride that’s a zip line/ roller coaster/ swing rolled-into-one, that my boys couldn’t get enough of. I got a kick out of watching them play on it, and secretly wish I could give it a whirl. It was blazing hot outside, and my guys were super upset when we had to leave.
Other kid-friendly places to try depending on the weather:
Lazy L Safari Park
Cape Splash Family Aquatic Center
Where We Stayed
There’s a new Drury Plaza Hotel and Conference Center off the Cape Girardeau/ Gordonville exit on I-55. We partnered up with Drury for this getaway, and this location was amazing. Drury Hotels began in the Cape Girardeau area, so staying here supports a local company and is truly the best value available not to mention the hotel is modern and gorgeous.
When we arrived they were having their famous kickback hour (#kickbackhour) that runs every night from 5:30- 7:00. They call it a snack, but it’s more of a meal. That evening they had a taco bar, which is perfect for my guys because tacos are one of their favorite meals. While they ate tacos, I grabbed some cocktails (#win-win). We took our food and drinks upstairs to the terrace, and as the name indicates, kick backed and relaxed.
After kickback hour we headed to the pool. My boys can’t wait to show off their cannonball skills any chance they get. There was a little baby there who would let out a belly laugh each time an older kid jumped in the pool; it was super cute.
The next morning before the boys woke up, I snuck downstairs for my coffee fix. The breakfast at Drury is amazing. My boys love to indulge in special treats they don’t normally get, like waffles, donuts and Lucky Charms cereal. I try to stay with healthy options, which are readily available too.
One thing you can count on anytime you stay at a Drury Hotel is friendly staff and the amazing value. During our stay, we met the GM David, who was greeting people during breakfast. The great thing about Drury Hotels, is they’re a large company, but always have that personal touch. They’re current hashtag “#travelhappy” is quite fitting for this top-notch hotel chain.
Where We Ate
You can find all kinds of chain restaurants right off the highway, but of course, I have my favs when I go home, that are musts:
Lambert’s Cafe, Located in Sikeston, MO, just 30 minutes south of Cape Girardeau. Bring your appetite, and keep your head up for their delicious hot rolls, which they actually throw at you. They also bring around carts with amazing all-you-can-eat homemade side dishes. Make sure to bring cash, because they don’t accept credit card or checks. If you forget, they do have an ATM in the lobby.
Gordonville Grill, Fun bar, and grill located in the tiny town I grew up in.
Gabriel’s Italian. This place will make you feel like your in Italy. They feature amazing gourmet Italian cuisine. They also offer kids cooking classes
Minglewood Brewery, kid-friendly and great pizzas. Also, make sure to try their Bavarian pretzels and beer cheese dip with your brew.
My Daddy’s Cheesecake, a cute little cafe with great sandwiches and salads. But make sure you save room for the cheesecake!
Simply Swirled, Frozen yogurt and cookie dough. Need I say more?
Overall Cape Girardeau will always be one of my favorite places in the world because of all my family and memories there. If you need a fun, getaway, are attending a sports tournament, passing through or like to explore new parts of the state like me check out Cape Girardeau. I hope this helps guide you in having fun with your family.
If you want to see our other travel post check them out here:
Nashville Road Trip with Kids
Gulf Shores AL, Beach vacation
Echo Bluff State Park
Thank you so much for Drury hotels for partnering with us on this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.