No other place had as much influence on Mark Twain as his boyhood home of HANNIBAL, an otherwise sleepy ensemble of nineteenth-century red-brick and clapboard gently sloping towards the Mississippi. Twain, born Samuel Clemens in 1835 in Florida, Missouri, based his seminal novels The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn on his early life in Hannibal, and today the short stretch of historic properties on Main Street is crammed with restaurants, gift shops and museums dedicated to his memory.

The town is 120 miles north of St Louis, squeezed between two steep bluffs; walk up to the Mark Twain Memorial Lighthouse to the north (accessible by 244 steps) or drive up Lover’s Leap to the south (both sunrise–sunset; free) for killer views of the old houses and the muddy expanse of the Mississippi.

Travel offers; book through Rough Guides

USA features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

Buffalo thrill: the ultimate way to see America's Great Plains

Buffalo thrill: the ultimate way to see America's Great Plains

South Dakota, one of the USA’s Great Plains states, holds an annual buffalo roundup in Custer State Park. Last week was the 51st event and we were lucky enoug…

21 Feb 2017 • Neil McQuillian insert_drive_file Article
Dive in: 7 unforgettable experiences in the Florida Keys

Dive in: 7 unforgettable experiences in the Florida Keys

Life in the Florida Keys is dominated by the ocean. The simplest trips become postcard-worthy adventures on the Overseas Highway, the link between its countless…

17 Feb 2017 • Georgia Stephens insert_drive_file Article
The best places to go in spring

The best places to go in spring

Springtime is beautiful, with its big blue skies and flowers in bloom, so there may be no better time to travel. If you're thinking about getting away, here are…

14 Feb 2017 • Rough Guides Editors camera_alt Gallery
View more featureschevron_right

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month