Introducing Along I-70
The main highway artery between St Louis and Kansas City, I-70, is a congested dud (with a surprising number of porn and sex shops); whenever possible, leave the interstate.
You'll find much to engage with on US 50, which meanders on a parallel path south of I-70. From Jefferson City, Hwy 94 follows the Missouri River east toward St Louis and passes through a beautiful region of wineries and forests.
There are a couple of good excuses to exit if you are on I-70. Columbia is home to the much-lauded University of Missouri. The downtown is easily walkable and is a very attractive collection of old brick buildings that feature thriving cafes, bars, bookstores and more. Try Uprise Bakery, renowned for its organic meals and baked goods.
Some 30 miles west of Columbia and 10 miles north of I-70, Arrow Rock State Historic Site is a small preserved town that feels little changed since the 1830s when it was on the main stagecoach route west.