My Middle America Adventure takes you through the central portion of the United States. You'll start in St. Louis and marvel at, not only the construction of the Arch, but the views you'll see from the top. To end your first day on this adventure, you'll enjoy a dinner cruise along the Mississippi River. What's cooler than that? From there, you'll drive to the Branson, Missouri area. For those not familiar, this area is a mecca for casinos and shows (kind of like a smaller Vegas.) However, there is a quieter side, complete with high-end accommodations. Here you'll be able to relax or explore the area at whatever your pace may be. The next leg takes you to Kansas City for one night. Spending the night seeking out the best Kansas City BBQ or listening to Kansas City jazz. The next day you'll board an Amtrak train for an overnight ride toward your next destination, Colorado Springs (by way of Trinidad, CO.) Watch the country pass by as the sun sets over the horizon and then let the train gently rock you to sleep. The final destination is the Broadmoor. A destination hotel that is consistently rated as one of the best in the country. Live the Rocky Mountain life by hiking (or biking) one of the many trails, give fly fishing a try or head out on horseback.
This is not a plan that I am selling, but a post to inspire you to explore different vacation options. With that being said, you can take this idea and adjust it to fit your needs, maybe by cutting nights or even destinations. I list the pricing after tax (except on some transport), and the prices are for July, during the peak travel time. The trip is calculated for a family of four, but I do list what a couple should expect at the bottom. So let's get started. Below are a couple maps of the trip and total cost:
When looking at the transportation costs of this plan, you'll be arriving in St. Louis and departing from Denver. I've set a budget for airfare, $300 per person, for a total of $1,200. As usual, if you have points accumulated, that would be a great way to reduce the cost of this trip.
As far as getting around when you arrive, I would suggest renting a car when departing from St. Louis. This way you don't get hit by high fees in the city, and it cuts back on the number of rental days. St. Louis has enough transportation options that you really won't need it while there. You'll find the car very helpful in Branson, as well as getting up to Kansas City, but I would return it the night you arrive in KC. After the Amtrak ride into Trinidad, CO, you would again rent a car for the duration of the trip. These fees are built into the budget, and at $800 for the trip, I think it's a reasonable amount.
Hotel Summary: This adventure features destination hotels, which is one hotel per location. Below is a brief overview of each:
Four Seasons Hotel St. Louis
If you want to impress your family, then this is your place. Located along the banks of the Mississippi, the Four Seasons is the definition of luxury. The resort style hotel has a rooftop pool overlooking the River, a stunning patio area to take in views and high end finishes for all rooms.
St. Louis Union Station Hotel (Hilton)
From the outside, the Union Station Hotel looks like a castle, complete with a clock tower. Inside, the arched grand hall is an awe-inspiring space that will surely impress young and old alike. Choose from a range of room options in this one of a kind building.
The Westin is a right in the middle of the city, offering 255 loft-style rooms and suites.
Stonewater Cove Resort
This option is an all-inclusive option. You’ll be able to enjoy a luxury while taking in the lakefront views. The accomodations are high-end and well worth the splurge.
Big Cedar Lodge
This expansive wilderness resort area is a mecca for outdoor enthusiasts. The accomodation options range from glamping all the way to large cabins. The list of activities at the resort include: a stunning spa, four golf courses, a 50,000 sqft activity center and two full-service marinas.
Chateau on the Lake Resort Spa
Chateau in the Lake is set in the rolling Ozark Mountains, 10 minutes outside Branson. It offers lakefront accommodations and a wide range of activities.
The Raphael Hotel
The Raphael, a Marriott hotel, is located right next to the InterContinental. It’s location along Brush Creek is ideal for those looking for a picture perfect location. This is a fantastic luxury option, from elegant rooms to the on-property dining, The Raphael is a place to recharge before boarding the train.
InterContinental Kansas City at The Plaza
Located in the Plaza area, along Brush Creek, this location is ideal. It’s upscale and beautifully maintained. The InterContinental brand is one of the finest hotel chains in the world, so a great option.
Embassy Suites Kansas City – Plaza
I love Embassy Suites. It’s a great option for families or even couples looking to spread out. The Plaza location is slightly south of the main downtown area, so you’ll have a little less hustle and bustle. As with most Embassy Suites, there’s an open atrium area in the center of the hotel, with the rooms around the exterior.
Board your train in Kansas City and relax as you rumble down the rails toward Trinidad, CO (most are overnight - 12 hours). For this option, For families, I have included the 4 person sleeping cabin (total of $780 before taxes) and for couples, the superliner roomette sleeping cabin (total of $448 before taxes) for all vacation options. You can always adjust based on your preferences. For example, two adult saver tickets would only cost $154 before taxes. The car rental from trinidad to Denver for 3 nights is $244.
The Broadmoor is a world-reknown hotel located in Colorado Springs. It is a beautiful destination for families or couples. Here you'll enjoy spectacular views, endless activities and expertly prepared meals.
Itinerary and Activities
Above is an idea of what a possible itinerary would look like for this trip. Everything listed above is included in the price and covers all the activities that I have planned for the trip for four family members. So, again, if you see activities that don’t interest you, you could save money by skipping.
The food budget is based on an average of $140 per day. I think this is a reasonable ballpark.
For couples, I've adjusted the amount spent on the flight, the activities, the food and the room rate. If you were to go, the prices would be similar to the chart below.
Thanks for stopping by and reading through my latest travel plan! If there's a region, or a trip, that you would want me to feature, just let me know!