Reader Request: Road Trip Detours

A while back one of my readers contacted me about taking a trip to Washington DC over the 4th of July. Since then she’s decided to drive instead of flying. She’ll be taking along her husband and teenage son from St. Louis to Washington DC and back again. She was unsure of which highway to take and she wanted a few cities that she could possibly take a detour into so she could see more of America on her way. Here are the options I’ve come up with:

View STL/DC Road Trip in a larger map

St. Louis to DC

I took the reader on the southern highway route, following I-64 and through Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, West Virginia, and Virginia. It’s just over a 14 hour drive and I’ve come up with 3 great potential stops along the way.

Louisville Slugger Museum

Louisville Slugger Museum

You mentioned your family is full of baseball fans so you should consider a detour to Louisville, Kentucky for this baseball themed museum. Right now there’s a Norman Rockwell exhibit, historic bats, bats being produced and more. While the tour costs $10/person, you get a free souvenir mini-bat to take home with you.

Mary Todd Lincoln House


You mentioned in your first request that your son was interested in history so here’s a detour to historic Lexington, Kentucky. First Lady Mary Todd Lincoln’s childhood home includes a look at a historic house and the First Lady’s life. Home renovation buffs will love the restoration done to this early 19th century house. The tour here will cost you $9/person but you may be able to find a coupon locally.

Trans Allegheny Lunatic Asylum

Both Ghost Hunters and Ghost Adventures have been to this potentially haunted asylum in Weston, West Virginia. This asylum has been around since before the Civil War and while it offers both historic tours and ghost tours, you’ll get a little of each on either tour. It’s likely you’ll want to take a historic tour during the day and there are varying rates for this depending on how much of the asylum you want to explore.

DC to St. Louis

On the way back I send the reader on the northern track, heading towards I-70 and through West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois. This route is closer to 14.5 hours before the 3 detours I’ve included.

“O’ Be JoyFull” Historical Tours and Entertainment

Harper's Ferry

This tour company offers tours in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, where John Brown led a raid during the Civil War. While you’ll probably be here too early for a ghost tour, they do offer a $10 historic tour discussing the armory, John Brown, and the Anteitam Battlefield.

Gettysburg National Military Park

Gettysburg 2009 canon

The so-called turning point of the Civil War was fought in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania and Lincoln addressed the country here soon after. Now it’s a National Park and it’s a somber way to honor the war in its 150th anniversary. There are special events being held here July 1-3 in honor of the battle’s anniversary and there are many touring options available for varying rates. If you had to choose one of the detours I’ve suggested here, this would be my top pick.

National Museum of the United States Air Force


The oldest and largest of military aviation museums is located on Wright-Patterson Air Force Base just outside Dayton, Ohio. If you haven’t had too many museums yet, this one is a must-see and often overlooked destination. You can see Presidential aircraft, planes used in WWI and WWII including the one that dropped the bomb on Nagasaki, foreign planes, Apollo 15 and more. Best of all, there is free admission.

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I'm Julie, I love to travel, I'm very hyper and I like to "hype" things and from that, TravelHyper was born. I'm a Missouri native and I cover St. Louis travel ideas as well as my own travels. I also like to focus on places I want to visit and budget travel ideas by creating trip plans. There's so much world out there and I hope you'll find that it's worth seeing and that vacation doesn't have to be out of reach to you.

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