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.

Total eclipse of the heart (of America): where to see the 2017 solar eclipse

Total eclipse of the heart (of America): where to see the 2017 solar eclipse

Most visitors who trek through the vast interior of the USA are in search of natural wonders on the ground. But on August 21, 2017, they’ll be in search of a…

24 Nov 2016 • AnneLise Sorensen insert_drive_file Article
A Las Vegas survival guide: the dos and don’ts of Sin City

A Las Vegas survival guide: the dos and don’ts of Sin City

Few destinations can match the unbridled hedonism of Las Vegas. Nevada’s pulsating desert city, a tangle of neon-lit casinos and roaring freeways, is one of t…

16 Nov 2016 • Eleanor Aldridge insert_drive_file Article
The dos and don'ts of Thanksgiving travel

The dos and don'ts of Thanksgiving travel

The only thing more challenging than an interminable turkey meal with a squabbling family? Getting there in the first place. Thanksgiving may kick off the mo…

11 Nov 2016 • AnneLise Sorensen insert_drive_file Article
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