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Once the haunt of the Sioux and a hub for the famous Oregon Pioneer trail, Missouri, known as the Gateway to the West, was a historic centre for the settlement of the mid-west and border states in the late 18th and 19th centuries by immigrants from Canada and Europe. Famous cities in the region include St Louis, Kansas City and Springfield, located on the spectacular Ozarks Plateau, home to the Hillbillies. Exploring the state with car hire in Missouri is the best way to go.
For the best rate on your chosen vehicle, compare car hire before you leave on your holiday. All the reliable international rental firms have facilities in St Louis and Kansa City airports as well as in the downtown districts of the cities. Trusted firms include Alamo, Payless, Thrifty, Ace, Dollar, National and Fox.
If you’re arriving by air, note that the two largest airports at Kansas City and St Louis don’t offer direct international flights from Europe, but do provide connecting routes to major US air hubs such as New York, Washington, San Francisco and Los Angeles as well as Toronto. Seventeen Interstate highways cross the region, with St Louis and Kansas City both centres for touring by car.
UK drivers will need their British driver’s license to arrange car rental in Missouri. Speed limits on major roads here vary between 60 and 70mph (96-112kph) and drink-driving penalties include jail and US $500 fines for a first offence. Both driving standards and road conditions in the state are good, as is directional signposting.
If you’re a fan of outdoor sports such as riding, hiking and trekking, birding, fishing or canoeing and kayaking, head for the Ozarks and you’ll find as many opportunities in spectacular settings as you can take in a single holiday. Missouri saw many conflicts during the American Civil War, and tourists are able to visit famous battle sites such as Lexington and Wilson’s Creek.
Extremes of temperature, cold winters, steaming hot summers, thunderstorms and the occasional devastating tornado are all features of Missouri’s weather patterns. During the southern region’s summer months, highs of 35ËC are normal, as are freezing winters, although the central and northern areas show fewer dramatic variations. If you’re touring during the tornado season of spring and summer, local radio and online sites give tornado warnings.