St Francois State Park
Another option for camping in Missouri is St. Francois State Park.
This top-rated campground features more than 100 campsites. In addition, there are interpretive programs during the summer months.
Three hiking trails traverse the parks terrain. One is open for horseback riders.
More than three miles of the Big River runs through the park. This stretch of the waterway provides the perfect opportunity for campers to fish for catfish and small-mouth bass.
St Louis West / Historic Route 66 Koa
If youre looking for a fun family camping adventure that mixes the natural relaxing elements of camping along with tons of fun family activities and amenities, then the Route 66 KOA is what youre looking for!
This KOA offers loads of family fun including a heated swimming pool, train rides, gem mining, basketball, outdoor movies, hayrides, and much more.
Getting Down Underground: Where To Go Caving Around Missouri
Toeing the line between science and sport, caving is a pastime best suited for curious and devoted explorers. While some cavers do it for the exercise and the chance to spend time outdoors, others may explore caves to study biology, cartography, or photography.
Like fingerprints, every cave is unique in some way, said Alex Litsch, vice president of the Missouri Cave & Karst Conservancy . Every cave has an ecosystem, some more diverse and delicate than others.
No matter the reason for exploring, cavers have a responsibility to reduce the impact of their visit as best they can. This means following the golden role of caving: Take nothing but pictures, leave no trace of your visit, and kill nothing but time.
First Timer? Show Caves are Your Best BetWith over 7,000 documented caves in Missouri, options for exploring are abundant. Show caves are a great place for fledgling cavers to start. Many show caves provide the necessary safety equipment, a tour guide, and even recommendations on where to stay and what to do nearby. Be sure to call ahead to check for any changes in policy, visitor restrictions, or temporary closures due to COVID-19.
Blanchard Springs Caverns
Blanchard Springs is a great beginner trip, as they provide pretty much all gear for beginners, said Seth Colston, president of Kansas City Area Grotto .
Onondaga Cave State Park
Once you receive a permit, cave managers often provide a map as well.
Berome Moore Cave
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St Joe State Park Park Hills Mo
St. Jose State Park is, quite simply, and ATV enthusiasts dream. Located just over an hour south of St. Louis, it is one of only two off-road vehicle parks in the Missouri State Park System. And its one of the best places to camp in Missouri for a reason: many trails are set aside for off-road vehicles only, four lakes, two swimming beaches, equestrian, hiking, and biking trails, as well as two separate campgrounds.
Which campsite youll be using, depending on what youre planning to do while at the park:
What you need to know:
- Find more information at the St. Joe State Park website
Thousand Hills State Park
Few campgrounds in Missouri boast the petroglyphs that adorn the rocks at Thousand Hills State Park.
These etchings date back more than 1500 years and bear testimony to the early inhabitants of the region. Of course, Forest Lake is the main attraction at this park.
Those who are looking to camp can rest at one of the 54 campsites or the seven duplex cabins that provide views of Forest Lake.
Boating is permitted on the lake. There is a swimming beach available for those who just want to catch a few rays or splash around.
The hiking trails at Thousand Hills offer hikers the chance to get close to the abundant wildlife.
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Turkey Pen Hollow Trail Ha Ha Tonka State Park
The Turkey Pen Hollow Trail is a 6.7-mile loop which is perfect for backpackers, winding throughout Ha Ha Tonka State Park. The trail passes through impressive dolomite glades and lush green woodland, where diverse and interesting plant life can be found. Natural features to be seen along the trail include gorgeous views of the lake and a large sinkhole, as well as a large outcrop of rock which is actually the last remaining part of the Red Arrow fault line, which runs through this area of Camden County. The main attraction in the area is the huge castle atop the hill, built in the early 1990s, but there are many other things to see in this area just outside the Lake of the Ozarks.
An alteration of the hike will instead take you to a pond, where plenty of frogs can be seen in the springtime. This hike is great for nature lovers and sightseers, and take note that the trail is rocky and requires a good pair of hiking boots. One other natural feature of interest is the Devils Kitchen, where hikers can check out the natural amphitheater. The pond area of the trail is both seasonally and weather-dependent, so make sure your shoes are waterproof! If you think your trusty old pair needs a new water-repellent coating, check out our article on how to waterproof hiking boots.
Trail Among The Trees Rockwoods Reservation Area
If youre searching for a trail thats good for all skill levels whilst still presenting plenty of beautiful views and natural surroundings, try the Trail among the Trees in the Rockwoods Reservation Area. This 2-mile loop features gorgeous fields of wildflowers and is nicely shaded with trees the whole way.
If you can time your visit after a rainfall, the picturesque creeks will be bubbling with water, this hike is a great one to take the kids on and show them some nature. All-around, the scenery on this hike is very pleasant, with plenty to enjoy as you make your way down the mostly-paved trail.
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Lake Of The Ozarks State Park And Private Campgrounds
Lake of the Ozarks is a man-made reservoir located between St. Louis and Kansas City, Missouri. At 17,741 acres, this is also the largest state park in Missouri. Nevertheless, this lake is so large, there are many private campgrounds here as well.
The length of the lake runs 92 miles from one end to the other. The lake also covers 61,000 acres and has a total shoreline of about 1,150 miles.
This means that you will find many different types of camping accommodations, as well as traditional hotels. Because of this, Lake of the Ozarks was named the 2016 Best Recreational Lake by USA Today.
The lake also holds 617 billion gallons of fresh water and is loaded with fish. This includes spotted bass, largemouth bass, crappie, blue catfish, white bass, channel catfish, flathead catfish, and more. So the lake is well-known for its fishing tournaments, one of its main attractions. Another of the big attractions here are the caverns.
Because there are so many campgrounds, you can generally find anything you want. These campgrounds range from deluxe RV hookups and luxury cabins to primitive group camping.
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Great Places To Camp In Missouri This Fall
Autumn is right around the corner! Taking camping trips in your new or used RV during the fall is a wonderful way to enjoy the colors of fall foliage, brisk mornings, cool nights, and a great cup of coffee around the campfire. You also dont have to travel out of state to enjoy these things! Here are five great places to camp in Missouri this fall.
Missouri State Parks: Castlewood State Park
The grounds of the Castlewood State Park were once a party spot for St. Louisans during the early 1900s. While the dance clubs are now gone, the lush valley and meandering Meramec River remain. This state park contains trails for mountain biking and hiking that vary in difficulty, offering trails for beginners to the most experienced of mountain bikers and hikers. Castlewood State Park is thought to be one of the St. Louis areas best destinations for mountain biking. Many recreational facilities, wide meadows abundant with wildlife, and good fishing opportunities also make this park popular for an escape or adventure.
1401 Kiefer Creek Rd, Ballwin, MO 63021, Phone: 636-227-4433
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Babler State Park Wildwood Mo
Located just 40 minutes west of St. Louis, Babler State Park is known for its massive stone gateway, behind which lies top-notch camping facilities, hiking, biking, and equestrian trails, as well as classic Civilian Conservation Corps architecture. Its set up to make your family getway just perfect! What you need to know:
- Nightly rate: $8.50 $10 nightly
- Make reservations via ICampMO or by phone at 877.422.6766
- Reservations can be made as early as 6 months prior
- Free wifi around the campground
- Find the full details at the Babler State Park Website
Mina Sauk Falls Trail Taum Sauk Mountain State Park
Taum Sauk Mountain is the highest point of elevation in Missouri, at 1772 feet above sea level. Here in this state park, youll also find the states tallest waterfall the Mina Sauk Falls. This huge water cascade drops 132 feet over three ledges, and the crashing water attracts many sightseers every year. Before even starting the hike, you can climb the lookout tower for a jaw-dropping panoramic view of the St. Francois Mountains.
The Mina Sauk Falls Trail is a 2.9-mile trail, offering stunning scenery along the way. The rocky trail begins at the summit of Taum Sauk, and from there, hikers will cross lush green glades between the peaks and valleys, to the top of Mina Sauk Falls. This rugged 2.9-mile trail isnt easy, the descent to the bottom of the falls involves climbing over some rocks, so we would recommend this trail to the able-bodied hiker. After taking in this phenomenal sight, hikers can continue the loop back up the mountain, or follow the Ozark Trail section down the valley trail towards Johnsons Shut-Ins.
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Glamping Near Dillard Mill State Historic Site
A red mill set on the blue waters of Huzzah Creek is as pretty a picture as there is in Missouri, and thats the setting for Dillard Mill State Historic Site. The site interprets one of the states best-preserved gristmills, completed in 1908. Most of the machinery in the mill is still intact and original to the building and tours are provided daily. If you like the outdoors, the sites location on Huzzah Creek in the Ozarks provides plenty of opportunities to fish, hike, and picnic. Camp right up the road at Pine Valley, where we offer unique indoor and outdoor camping experiences.
Area Attractions: Dillard Mill, Huzzah Creek, Mark Twain National Forest
Of The Best Places To Camp In Missouri
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For the last 3 years, weve been living and camping in Missouri.
Now we live in Southern Illinois, were still only 30 minutes from the Illinois/Missouri border, making some of the parks weve come to know and love some of the best places to camp in Missouri accessible to us still. Not many people know it, but Missouri is more than fields, trees, and the city of St. Louis. Getting a bit outside the comfort of the city youll find some amazing state parks with rivers, cliffs, boulders, and caves. Missouri is filled with diverse landscape and breathtaking views that everyone should experience at some point in their life.
Today, Ive created a roundup full of the best places to camp in Missouri. These parks are all state-run, and some of them contain National Landmark. Of course, there are a lot of great private campsite out there too, but today Im focusing on Missouris best State Parks.
One thing youll notice is that since all of these sites are run by the state of Missouri, you can book them all on the same website, nightly charges remain fairly constant, theyve recently added one awesome perk: free wifi. In some cases the wifi runs through the entire park, while in other cases you have to go the lodge to use it, but it certainly is nice to have while camping is a remote location.
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Best State Parks In Missouri: Knob Noster State Park
The Knob Noster State Park provides a peaceful retreat of oak woodland, along with a few spots of prairie land that runs along both banks of the winding Clearfork Creek. The state park is an area for families wanting to spend some quality time out in nature, anglers looking to catch some fish, and horseback riders, hikers, and mountain bikers seeking time on the trails. Knob Noster State Park is also home to an oxbow slough in what is known as the Pin Oak Slough Natural Area. The park also includes electric and basic campsites, two group camps, and family campsites.
873 SE 10th, Knob Noster, MO 65336, Phone: 660-563-2463
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Onodaga Cave State Park Leasburg Mo
Looking for an awesome cave experience? Look no further than Onodaga Cave State Park. Its an easy 90 minute drive from St. Louis and will drop you into a world of wonder. Active flowstones, stlagtites, and dramatic caves make the park one of the best places to camp in Missouri, and a National Landmark. In addition to camping, you and your family can take guided caving tours, or visit the Vilander Bluffs viewing area that provides a panoramic view of the Meramec River.
And of courses, theres hiking, fishing, and canoeing at this one-of-a-kind campsite.
What you need to know:
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State Parks Near Me: Onondaga Cave State Park
The Onondaga Cave State Park invites visitors to descend down into the depths of caves and explore a world of fascinating wonder that includes active flowstones, dripping stalactites, and towering stalagmites that help to make the parks cave a National Natural Landmark and help illustrate why the state of Missouri is sometimes referred to as The Cave State. Guests are able to join guided tours of the underground cave, as well as explore the Vilander Bluff Natural Area if they would rather stay above the surface, where they can experience panoramic views of the nearby Meramec River.
7556 Hwy. H, Leasburg, MO 65535, Phone: 573-245-6576
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Natural Tunnel Trail Bennett Spring State Park
This 7.5-mile trail in Bennett Spring State Park passes through creek beds, summer meadows, and scenic wooded hills, but its main attraction is its namesake. The highlight of this hike is the path through Spring Hollow to a 300-foot long natural tunnel. This rock tunnel is about 15 feet wide, formed when water eroded an exit in a cave. The rest of the trail is dotted with other small caves, and theres plenty of scenic wildflower meadows to enjoy.
We recommend this loop trail to any nature lover, or anyone interested in special geographical features. You can also enjoy views of a river on your hike, and fishing is popular in the area if you want to combine hiking with an angling trip.
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