Charming small-town stop between Atlanta and Kansas City?
October 31, 2012 10:25 AM   Subscribe

Where should we stop for the night between Atlanta and Kansas City?

Sometime this winter, my wife and I will be driving from Atlanta to a suburb of Kansas City. It's about 14 hours. We want to stop for the night between 4 - 6 hours outside of Kansas City, without adding much time to our overall trip. The target area is somewhere between eastern Missouri and western Kentucky. We'll be on 24 W, 57 N, 64 W.

We would like:
-not TOO rustic cabin OR
-otherwise appealing hotel, motel, etc (no bed and breakfasts, we're gay and don't want to risk awkwardness/rejection in small-town middle america)
-quick access off highway
-something decent to eat nearby and a nice place to walk

We will also have two dogs. We don't want to spend more than $100 for lodging.

Ideas? First hand experience would be very helpful.
posted by ohsnapdragon to Travel & Transportation around Missouri (8 answers total)
We drove from Atlanta to Southern, MO. So I've done part of the drive.

Marion, Il seems to be a good natural stopping place. It's a wide spot in the road, with a good selection of National Chain Motels.

That's about 1/2 way.

Now, when we did our trip, we stayed in E. St. Louis (is there any other?) at the Casino Queen. Had a freaking ball and really enjoyed the room. Don't know if they do pets, but it's a thought. A bit scary at night, so use the GPS, if you do that.

Or do the suburbs on the distant side of St. Louis, like Chesterfield.

Have fun.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 10:38 AM on October 31, 2012

Check out the KY state parks in the Lake Barkley and Kentucky Lake area. The state parks have really nice lodges and cabins. The restaurants are pretty good too.

Lake Barkley

Kentucky Dam Village
posted by tman99 at 10:51 AM on October 31, 2012

Speaking as someone who used to live in St. Louis, the St. Louis suburbs are probably not what you're looking for. There are some great places within St. Louis itself (I love the Central West End in particular), but if you're looking for small town America cuteness, I would go with Carbondale, IL. It's a few miles off the interstate route you'll be traveling, but it's a college town and there's a lake between the interstate and the town where you could get out and wander around with the dogs for a while. A quick google reveals there are lots of cabins available around there, although for slightly more than your budget.

If you're just looking for a place to crash off the highway, I know Motel 6 allows pets. I used to recommend that across the board for road trips with pets, until I stayed in an absolutely horrific one in Burlington, VT. Up until that point I had surprisingly positive experiences with them, however, so it might be worth checking out at least.
posted by something something at 10:52 AM on October 31, 2012

If you go a southern route, you can stop in Eureka Springs, AR. Google tells me that direction will add about an hour to the trip. It's about 4 hours from KC. Eureka Springs is very gay friendly and you can chose from normal hotels or something nicer. Plus, it has an interesting downtown area + shops/eateries and you get to drive through the Ozarks.
posted by thylacine at 2:00 PM on October 31, 2012

I've done this drive before, and the Barkley/Kentucky Lake area of KY is gorgeous. I strongly second the recommendation to stay in one of the state park cabins.

My partner and I recently went on a long cross-country road trip in the northern Rockies/Pacific Northwest with our dog. If you are considering staying at a chain hotel during your trip, I'd recommend La Quinta. Our experiences there have been really good: the rooms are mid-range, not too expensive, but always spacious, clean, and comfortable, and every LaQuinta we stayed at was very dog-friendly, with designated dog play areas outdoors and friendly staff who came out from behind their desks to pet our dog and give him treats. Other hotels where we stayed that billed themselves at "pet-friendly" were variable in quality and actual pet-friendliness.
posted by Spinneret at 3:53 PM on October 31, 2012

Whatever you do, check out the individual place you're staying. Not all chain hotels are equal in quality.
posted by cnc at 4:48 PM on October 31, 2012

Well, bummer. I was going to suggest the Giant City Lodge in Giant City State Park but it appears they don't take pets.

Over a three-hour stretch of road, I'd say you can take your pick from:
Mt. Vernon
Nashville (small-town, one or two)
---Mississippi River---
St. Louis - Hampton and I-64
St. Louis - I-64 and I-170
Chesterfield (I-64) OR Airport (I-70)
St. Charles (I-70)
Wentzville/Lake St. Louis (I-64 and I-70 merge).

These locations, with the exception of Nashville, should have a decent selection of national chain hotels reasonably close to the highway.
posted by brentajones at 5:55 AM on November 1, 2012

Also, if you're a "getting there is half the fun" person, may I suggest getting off I-64 at Marion and heading west through Carbondale and Murphysboro to Illinois Route 3, then north to St. Louis? It's the Great River Road, a nice drive, and takes a comparable amount of time (especially if you run into construction or traffic on the Interstate). If you switch to this route, you could easily stay in Marion, Carbondale or Murphysboro, or there are lots of little inns and hotels in the small towns along the route.
posted by brentajones at 6:02 AM on November 1, 2012

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