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Introducing St Charles

This Missouri River town, founded in 1769 by the French, is just 20 miles northwest of St Louis. The cobblestoned Main St anchors a well-preserved downtown where you can visit the first state capitol. Ask at the visitor center about tours, which pass some rare French colonial architecture in the Frenchtown neighborhood just north.

Lewis and Clark began their epic journey in St Charles on May 21, 1804 and their encampment is reenacted annually on that date. The Lewis & Clark Boathouse & Nature Center has displays about the duo and replicas of their boats.

Hotels are spread along St Charles' four I-70 exits. St Charles also has several historic B&Bs, including Boone's Colonial Inn. The three rooms in the 1820 stone row houses are posh.