Courtesy of St. Louis Convention and Visitors Bureau
St. Louis Skyline Night
By Shannon Murff
In just a few short weeks, summer will be in full swing. While many of you—eighty-one percent of Americans—are busy planning, packing, and gearing up for the time-honored tradition of taking a summer vacation, some of us will be enjoying a summer at home. And for everyone who’s passing on the traditional vacation this year, a staycation is in order. Luckily, Missouri is the right place to do it.
Recently, the personal finance website WalletHub conducted a study on 2015’s Best & Worst Cities for Staycations that answers two important questions: What is a staycation? And where’s the best place to take one?
“A staycation typically refers to travel and leisure activities close to home,” said Samantha Rozier Rich, owner of enRiched Consulting LLC, in the study. “Research your home location as if you were a tourist.”
To figure the ideal locations for staycations, the study used data from several resources including the US Census Bureau, TripAdvisor, and Yelp and analyzed three main categories: recreation activities, food and entertainment, and rest and relaxation. From those three, the study branched into seventeen key metrics that fit with each section.
With that huge set of data, the study produced some pretty exciting results for Missourians: out of the one hundred most populated US cities, St. Louis ranked number six and Kansas City ranked number twenty-two on the list of the best cities to enjoy a staycation. To put that in perspective, Missouri’s two most populous cities ranked in the top twenty-five percent—above Miami, San Diego, Los Angeles, and New York City.
St. Louis ranked especially high in two notable areas; it has the third most museums and the fifth most public golf courses per one hundred thousand residents. So with that in mind, here’s our St. Louis staycation itinerary:
1. Visit a museum … or twenty.
Courtesy of the Missouri Division of Tourism
Plan an excursion to check out one of St. Louis’s museums. The city boasts many to choose from, including the Holocaust Museum & Learning Center, the Black World History Wax Museum, and the Missouri History Museum. Perfect for an interesting and educational afternoon. All museums and phone numbers can be found at stlouisattractions.com.
2. Knock a course of your golf bucket list.
Courtesy of Dennis Wong
St. Louis has plenty of golf courses from which to choose, but one ranks high above the rest: Bellerive Country Club. This prestigious, privately owned course is the crème de la crème of Missouri links. In fact, it will host the hundredth annual PGA Championship in 2018. Although it’s a private course, you could make it your summer goal to find a way into this this world-class course.
3. Get pampered with some R and R.
Courtesy of IQP via Wikicommons
The Lash Loft on Locust Avenue is a one-stop-shop for all spa related activities. Whether it’s you crave a massage, a facial, eyelash extensions, or a spa package to cover it all, the Lash Loft is your go-to zen spot.
4. Sleep away at spooky mansion.
Sheree K. Nielsen
Hosting dinner theaters and haunted tours, among other events, St. Louis’s Lemp Mansion is as historical as it is fun. Check out an eerie interactive show while you grab a meal, or join a scary walk-through; a chilling encounter may be just what you need to beat the summer heat.
5. Grab an ice cream bar at the ice cream bar.
Paul Sableman via Flickr
If food is your thing but interactive theater isn’t, then consider The Fountain on Locust for your next meal out. The ice cream bar and eatery specializes in desserts and specialty drinks and boasts a full menu full of mouthwatering entrees. Plus, the art deco design is unlike any other place—tasty and glamorous.
6. Get cultured outdoors.
Courtesy of Laumeier Sculpture Park
Laumeier Sculpture Park is the perfect blend of the natural and the urbane: a 1.5-mile walking trail sprinkled with funky art and dramatic sculptures. If you live in the Lou and haven’t been here yet, it’s worth an afternoon. If you have been here before, it’s worth a visiting again.
7. Explore the Explorers’ Forest.
Courtesy of the Missouri Department of Conservation
For a more immersive nature experience, try the Lewis or the Clark Trails at the Weldon Springs Conservation Area. This Department of Conservation area is a relaxing and scenic place to hike, mountain bike, jog, or picnic. With panoramic views of the Missouri River, the 8.2-mile Lewis Trail or the 5.3-mile Clark is a great way to spend an active day outdoors; just don’t forget your sunscreen and bug spray!