Where to Camp in the Show-Me State
Missouri, nicknamed the “Gateway to the West,” is the state where two mighty rivers — the Missouri and the Mississippi — join together. It’s the home of the Great Plains and the foothills of the Ozarks. It was also the starting point for many travelers who made their way west to California and Oregon in the 1800s. With all this rich history and beautiful geography, it’s not hard to have a great time camping in Missouri.
Here are our favorite camping spots in the Show-Me State.
1. Cuivre River State Park – Troy
Cuivre River State Park is a bit of the Ozarks outside of the Ozarks – a nature lover’s paradise just a short drive from St. Louis that is vibrant with colors three seasons of the year. The park’s renowned trails take visitors through prairies and forests of oaks and hickories. The park’s three natural areas feature sinkhole ponds and woodlands that would be more at home in southern Missouri. The park has hiking and equestrian trails, modern campsites, group camps, picnic areas and a lake so everyone can enjoy one of Missouri’s most rugged and beautiful jewels. Learn more.
2. Paddy Creek Recreation Area – Roby
This recreation area is nestled in a hollow along Paddy Creek, a major tributary to the Big Piney River, 1/2 mile away. It provides a picnic area and 23 campsites. It is located adjacent to the east boundary of the Paddy Creek Wilderness and is one of the 3 trailheads for the Big Piney Trail.Paddy Creek flows year-round and is a crystal clear wading creek. Learn more.
3. Berryman Recreation Area – Berryman
This small, remote campground and picnic area located at the site of a Civilian Conservation Corps camp of 1937 provides a quiet setting for escaping from your normal routine. With just 8 individual campsites and a picnic shelter, it is enjoyed by campers, picnickers, mountain bikers, equestrians, and hikers. Learn more.
4. Pershing State Park – Laclede
Wander through a slice of pre-settlement landscape at Pershing State Park. The park includes a boardwalk and hiking trailthat winds through a wet prairie near a meandering stream with oxbow sloughs and cutoffs, and into a bottomland forest. The park’s wetlands attract a variety of birds and waterfowl as well as scores of other wildlife species. Locust Creek and four small lakes give anglers a chance to try their skills and a shady campground with electric and basic campsites makes the park an ideal overnight location. Learn more.
5. Table Rock State Park – Branson
Nestled in the oak and hickory trees that surround Table Rock Lake, the park offers something for everyone. The park features a modern campground with a full range of campsites and a yurt, a circular structure with a fabric cover much like a tent. A full-service marina offers easy access to the lake with all types of boats, a well-stocked store, and even SCUBA diving excursions. Trails range from a challenging mountain biking trail to a paved trail along the lake. Learn more.
6. North Fork Recreation Area – West Plains
North Fork Recreation Area provides camping, picnicking, boating, canoeing, hiking and fishing access to the beautiful North Fork of the White River, which has a total of nine major springs flowing into it. Two of its largest springs are Big Springs and Blue Spring, which contribute some 18 million gallons of cold, clear water every day. North Fork Recreation Area serves as trailhead for the 35-mile long Ridge Runner National Recreation Trail and the Blue Spring Trail. Learn more.
7. Meramec State Park – Sullivan
The Meramec River flows by majestic bluffs, wooded areas and a dramatic cave entrance. More than 13 miles of hiking trails are available for exploring the park and visitors can swim, fish, raft and boatt in the river. A modern campground,cabins and hotel give visitors a choice to stay the night or even longer. Exhibits in the visitor center interpret the natural and cultural features of the park. No visit to the park would be complete without a tour of Fisher Cave with hand-held lights. Learn more.
8. Indian Point – Branson
Indian Point is a green and spacious campground on the White River Arm of Table Rock Lake in the mountainous Missouri countryside. A wooded campground with plenty of shade and access to the lake is ideal for visitors looking for the best of both worlds: a scenic outdoors experience as well as close proximity to theme parks, live music and shopping. Learn more.
9. Montauk State Park – Salem
Wet a line at one of the Midwest’s premier trout-fishing destinations at Montauk State Park. Located an easy ride from St. Louis, the park’s waters are stocked each night from an on-site hatchery. Want more than day of fishing? Stay overnight at the park’s motel, campground or cabins. Want to do something other than fish? Montauk State Park’s hiking trails will take you in and around the scenic park. Guests can also enjoy a tour of Montauk Mill, which was built in 1896. Learn more.
10. Silver Mines Recreation Area – Fredericktown
Silver Mines offers a variety of recreational opportunities and is abundant with historic and geological wonders. This beautiful area is located along the St. Francis River, the only river in Missouri classified as “white water,” and is used for kayaking during the spring high waters. Silver Mines is located at a historic mining operation and is known for its Precambrian granite and felsite rocks. Learn more.
Do you have a favorite camping spot in Missouri that wasn’t included on this list? Let us know in the comments!
And be sure to check out the rest of our Best Campgrounds in the US series.
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