Jesse James, the Pony Express, and the pioneer spirit are more than just the stuff of legend in St. Joseph, Missouri. As the old entry point to the Wild West, St. Joseph has seen its share of covered wagons, prospectors, and men on horseback. This is the birthplace of the Pony Express, and it's also where Jesse James met his end in 1882. And in present day it's a fabulous place for golfing, fishing, horseback riding, and hiking along the 26 miles of local trails.
Set on Missouri's western edge on the banks of the Missouri River, St. Joseph served as a natural outpost throughout the 1800s. The town, once called Saint Michael's Prairie, has been an expedition camp, a trading post, and the center for the Pony Express. In the spring of 1860, this relay of overland riders carried mail and news of the impending war to the west. Each rider covered 250 miles in a 24-hour period and was paid $50 for his efforts. It took about ten days for news to travel the 2000 miles of trail. You can learn all about this fascinating bit of American history at the St. Jo. Pony Express Museum.
St. Joseph is known for terrific Missouri River water-sports like river rafting, floating, water skiing, and bird watching. The surrounding hills are filled with hiking trails, lakes, streams, and forested scenic areas that are perfect for hiking and mountain biking. You can join the boys of summer at a St. Joe Blacksnakes minor league baseball game or head to Missouri Western State University for sporting events like gymnastics, boxing, basketball, and volleyball.
Take a family tour of the Jesse James Home Museum, the place where Jesse James lived and where he was shot by Bob Ford in April 1882. Just imagine America's most famous bank robber sitting down with his family in this formal parlor, living off his ill-gotten gains. The house is filled with memorabilia, artifacts, photos of Jesse and his family, and documents relating to the James family.
The area near St. Joseph just begs to be explored. Just a short drive away, you'll find all the bright lights and attractions of Kansas City and NASCAR's Kansas Speedway. You can visit nearby Savannah to explore the antique shops, boutiques, gift shops, and fabulous restaurants. And for further historical sites in St. Jo, take a tour of the famous Patee House Museum, the Robidoux Row Museum, or find great gaming and nightlife at the Terrible's St Jo Casino.