Missouri State Parks are some of the best tourist destinations that offer the perfect mixture of recreation and history. The natural landscapes and cultural landmarks are some of the best you can witness. Moreover, the state has been recognized several times and awarded for its excellent systems. With over 200,000 acres to hike, it can be confusing when planning an itinerary. If you are looking for some of the best State Parks in Missouri, read this article thoroughly. So, without much ado, let us get started with our list of the best Missouri State Parks.
Missouri State Parks That Are Known For Rivers and Other Water Bodies
Washington State Park
If you are looking for the best Missouri State Parks for a historically immersive experience, Washington State Park fits the bill. You can find several rock carvings (also known as petroglyphs), that have been left by native American Indians. The Park also offers the luxury of canoeing and fishing on the Big River. You can also find fully-equipped campsites, which makes it one of the best Missouri State Parks camping. Go picnicking or seek shelters to stay overnight.
Johnson’s Shut-Ins State Park
Are you looking for offbeat experiences and a unique destination? The Johnson’s Shut-Ins is one of the top State Parks in Missouri that is perfect for family trips and much more! The Shut-Ins are a great location for swimming and splashing and offer the ultimate treat to water lovers. These were carved into the rock by the flow of the majestic Black River to form the unique terrain they are now. The park offers spectacular views and several hiking trails.
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Ha Ha Tonka State Park
Is your child an avid lover of royalty and their lifestyle? Then, we urge you to put Ha Ha Tonka State Park on your itinerary. Witness the majestic remains of a huge, circa stone castle built in 1905. Moreover, the unforgettable view of the Lake of the Ozarks from the castle will be with you for life. Thus, Ha Ha Tonka State Park is undoubtedly one of the best Missouri State Parks.
Lake of the Ozarks State Park
Out of the several Missouri State Parks, Lake of the Ozarks State Park is the largest. The park has over 89 miles of shoreline and is a haven for boating lovers. You can find marinas, boat-launching areas, an aquatic trail, and swimming beaches that make it one of the best State Parks in Missouri. Featuring several campgrounds, it is one of the best Missouri State Parks Camping. You can sign up for some exciting group tours to the Ozark Caverns.
St. Francois State Park
St. Francois State Park is full of cultural treats and is rich in folklore dating back to the Civil War. If you are looking for State Parks in Missouri for a historical and cultural experience, this is the place to be. The park also features rugged Pine Run Hills and a camp on the Pike Run Trail. This camp is for hikers and is fully equipped to provide a luxurious touch.
Meramec State Park
If you love exploring caves, Meramec State Park has a lot to offer! With more than forty caves, the park is located along the Meramec River with several hiking trails. You can also sign up for a guided tour of the Fisher Cave and book an overnight stay at the cabins. One can go canoeing or kayaking and find all essentials at the rental stores. If you love fishing and barbecuing, the park has facilities for both.
Weston Bend State Park
For families seeking magnificent views of the Missouri River, Weston Bend State Park is the place to be. The park has several picnic areas, shelters, and campgrounds with a host of modern amenities. You can also find hiking and biking trails to explore the dense forests. The location is the perfect destination during spring and fall and offers a great view of migrating birds. It also has an equipped playground to entertain your friends and family during the trip.
Castlewood State Park
The Castlewood State Park straddles the lush valley of the Meramec River and offers magnificent scenic views. It is also the perfect location for those who love hiking, fishing, and mountain biking. If you’ve been searching for the best State Parks in Missouri that are perfect for picnicking, this is the destination to go to! You can also find trails for hiking, equestrian, and biking. Book a stay at the nearby lodgings as the park is open during the daytime.
Montauk State Park
Springs are often a source of relaxation and look really refreshing. Montauk State Park has seven springs formed from the headwaters of the large and mighty Current River. If you are a fishing enthusiast, the Park will provide much-needed relief. Montauk State Park allows you to fish for the rainbow trout, which provides quite the thrill to regular fishers. You can also find several campsites with top-of-the-line facilities for overnight stay. Or, you could book a cabin for your trip.
St. Joe State Park
If you’re looking for a place to park your RV and enjoy a hoard of facilities, St. Joe State Park is the perfect destination. The park has two shaded campgrounds that are equipped with picnic tables and make for a great family vacation destination. It is also Missouri’s third-largest state park in the old Lead Belt and allows one to participate in a range of activities like swimming, hiking, and mountain biking. You can also find a large trail area.
Bennett Spring State Park
The state’s third-largest spring makes for really marvellous views and offers a range of features. Whether you love exploring or fishing, this is the place for you. One of the best Missouri State Parks camping, the spring is located 12 miles west of Lebanon. Fishing hours do vary every month and it is better to check with authorities beforehand. Remember that the park requires a Missouri fishing license and daily trout tag for fishers.
Onondaga Cave State Park
If you want to take your family to visit a show cave, Onondaga Cave State Park is the perfect destination. The park also has access to the Meramec River where you can go fishing and boating. You can also sign up for seasonal exploration tours for a historically immersive activity. The park is also a haven for explorers and offers a range of hiking trails with marvellous scenic views. Other than two shelters, you can also find a picnic spot.
Rock Bridge Memorial State Park
If you’ve been in Missouri for a long time, you would know that Missouri State Parks are a portal to heaven. Rock Bridge Memorial State Park is one such haven for geographic lovers and admirers. Fascinating geographical formations like Connor’s Cave and Devil’s Icebox Cave adorn the park and can be explored by hikers. You will also find several sinkholes and springs along the hiking and biking trails. The Park also has several picnic spots for families and young kids.
Cuivre River State Park
Do you love hiking and backpacking and want to go on a journey that you’ll enjoy? Well, Cuivre River State Park has everything you love! The 6426-acre park is filled with biking, hiking, backpacking, and equestrian trails of over 45 miles. You can also join organized camping groups or visit the visitor centre for more information on the different activities. The park also has a lake for fishing, swimming, and canoeing in cool waters.
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Roaring River State Park
Are you a licensed trout fisher or want to join the respected community? Then, Roaring River State Park offers exactly what you need. The rugged and scenic park is a hotspot for trout fishing and offers other facilities like a nature center. You can also explore the different trails winding all over the park and book an overnight stay at the cabins. Or, you can camp for a better all-in-one feel and picnic under the different shelters.
Missouri State Parks Famous For Their Geographical Terrain
Elephant Rocks State Park
The Park is known so for its remarkable and giant, billion-year-old granite boulders that look like a train of red circus elephants. The comments and names carved onto the red granite rocks by 19th-century miners working here form a great recreational activity. You can also embark on a journey through the self-guiding trail with Braille signage. If you’re visiting for a family trip, you’ll be happy to know that the park also has a dedicated playground and many picnic sites.
Table Rock State Park
If you’re planning a trip to Branson, keep a day aside to visit Table Rock State Park. The park is located on Table Rock Lake and offers a fully functional campground and marina. It is the perfect destination for boating lovers and allows them to rent all types of boats and scuba diving equipment. You can also plan a day-out trip at the picnic spots and use the mountain biking trails to explore further.
Why visit Missouri State Parks?
Missouri State Parks is acclaimed for the several recreational and learning opportunities they provide. These historic sites offer access to some of the best natural landscapes and transport you back to the era of ancient humans. You can also fish in the lakes, explore the dense forests, and camp overnight. Several state parks in Missouri allow horseback riding, which forms new and unmatchable experiences.
What is the number of state parks in Missouri?
The highly praised Missouri State Park system was established in 1917 and covers more than 150,000 acres. This area is divided between 92 Missouri state parks and historic sites.
Which Missouri State Park is the most visited?
The Roaring River State Park is a hotspot for trout fishing and provides additional amenities like picnic spots. The river is stocked with rainbow trout and guarantees a large catch. Anglers love the thrill and excitement, making Roaring River State Park the most visited state park in Missouri.
Are Missouri State Parks free?
You can access all state parks in Missouri without any additional charge, making it one of the highly praised State Park systems in the USA. Missouri is also one of the eight states offering its park service and associated facilities for free. If you want to stay overnight, you can reserve a cabin for an extra charge. Or, you can use their functional campsites that might be subject to a small entrance fee. We suggest you consult the local park authorities before visiting any state park.
What is the biggest state park in Missouri?
Out of the whopping 92 Missouri state parks, the largest and most notable one is Lake of the Ozarks State Park. The secluded and lush land provides an array of activities that help create a lifetime of irreplaceable memories. It is a 17,626-acre state park with over 55 miles of hiking trails. We suggest you explore the park using these trails and check the different natural attractions like the Patterson Hollow Wild Area. A must-visit at this park is the Ozark Caverns which you should explore just for the sake of tradition.
What is the oldest state park in Missouri?
After the establishment of the acclaimed Missouri State Park system, the Big Spring State Park became the first Missouri state park. It was established as one on 17th October 1924, and the park system has undoubtedly evolved since then.
Who is in charge of the Missouri State Parks?
Missouri State Parks are under the administration of the Division of State Parks, an integral part of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources. They are in charge of the administration and other instances governing these areas.
If historic tours seem boring to you, we recommend you consider the good old teacher – life. Missouri State Parks offer a much-needed chance to escape the barriers of boring historical textbooks. Most parks have historical significance and are a great way of allowing children to experience their history and culture hands-on. Instead of teaching them about diverse natural life, how about you show it to them? We hope the article provided some ideas about the destination you can visit on your next vacation. Let us know your experience and leave suggestions for your fellow travelers in the comments below.