River Towns & Cave Diving
The tiny river town of Kimmswick – founded in 1859 by German immigrants – stands as a living museum stocked with homemade crafts, antiques, historic structures and simple charms. Browse through specialty shops and enjoy a leisurely lunch at one of the town’s famous restaurants, known throughout the region for hearty Midwestern cuisine and tempting baked goods. Shops are closed on Mondays.
Continue south on I-55 to Highway 67 south to Bonne Terre, where the largest freshwater dive resort in America awaits adventurers. The legendary Bonne Terre Mine, named one of National Geographic magazine’s Best Adventures, offers year-round diving. Famed underwater explorer Jacques Cousteau called the billion-gallon lake’s cobalt waters, constant temperature and 100-foot visibility “magnifique!”
Bonne Terre, French for “good earth,” was founded around 1750 by French miners. Divers explore the lead mine exactly as it was left in 1961 with abandoned ore carts, locomotives, picks and shovels, lunch pails and mining structures. Non-diving visitors enjoy the unique attraction by taking a narrated walking tour or boat ride through the mine’s enormous underground rooms.
How to get there:
Located 30 minutes south of St. Louis on I-55. For more information on Kimmswick, contact the Historic Kimmswick Visitors Center at (636) 464-6464. To make dive reservations at Bonne Terre, contact West End Diving at (888) 843-3483 or (314) 731-5003 or click on www.2dive.com.