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Homage to History

Laughlin Park’s Trail of Tears National Historic Trail site includes several interpretive plaques commemorating the area near Roubidoux Creek as a Cherokee camping spot. Follow the walking path along the river to learn all about the area’s role during this difficult period of history. No less than five museums are open at the John B. Mahaffey Museum Complex at Fort Leonard Wood, including the Army Engineer Museum, Outdoor Military Vehicle Museum and the Military Police Museum, as well as a replica of a World War II camp. For a lighter look at history, stop by the Military Rock Display, Route 66 Courthouse Museum or the Old Stagecoach Stop to have guides in period costume walk you through 19th century buildings. 

 

Explore Route 66

With so many kilometers of the famed “Mother Road” perfectly preserved here, take a driving tour to maximize your experience (available via print, app or audio download). Don’t miss Elbow Inn & BBQ Pit in Devils Elbow (so named for an awkward bend in Big Piney River), just off the route. This quintessential eatery dates from the 1930s and serves up house-smoked barbecue. Continue your pit stop exploring Devils Elbow itself, a scenic town with tons of charm, lots of history and great views of the river from Devils Elbow Overlook (don’t miss Devils Elbow Bridge). Just down the route, you’ll find yourself (nearly) over the moon in Uranus, a quirky shopping plaza with loads of personality. Famous for its fudge factory and the Route 66 Funkyard, Uranus is a tongue-in-cheek shopping experience like none other. Before you enter Waynesville, check out Frog Rock. This painted stone sculpted to look like a frog even gets its own Frog Fest in October.      

 

Outdoor Adventure

Divers come from all over to explore Roubidoux Spring and Underwater Cave, tucked under a bluff in Laughlin Park. If you don’t dive, head to The Cave Restaurant inside a cave located in a bluff that overlooks the Gasconade River. Fish, float or canoe along the Gasconade or Big Piney, perfect rivers on which to center a family fun day (or stay on land and cool off at the Waynesville Splash Park). Hit the Farmers Market Pavilion at Roubidoux Campground and then have a picnic in an authentic Route 66 roadside park in St. Robert, site of a future Neon Sign Park.

Fun Fact

Frog Rock selfie
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Frog Rock is just like what it sounds: a rock painted like a toad that welcomes visitors to Waynesville.

Hookers Cut on historic Route 66
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There are 53 original, intact kilometers and 53 stops along Route 66 in Pulaski County, Missouri.

Roubidoux Springs on the Trail of Tears
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Roubidoux Springs, a campsite on the Trail of Tears, saw thousands of Cherokee rest here in 1838-1839.

Hot Air Balloon over Asheville, North Carolina
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