The Top Ten Best Campgrounds in Missouri

The holiday season is finally here with us. It is that time when we get to think about where to take the camping experience. Missouri is one of those states that will always come at the back of the mind of every serious camper.

This state is strategically placed in the middle of the United States of America. This makes it a perfect destination for any camper who wants to experience everything that the heart of America has to offer to the outdoor enthusiasts. Missouri will never disappoint; it has so many campgrounds that are so nice. This article will discuss some of the best campgrounds in Missouri.

The qualities of these sites are unsurpassed. What could you be still waiting for? Scenic wonders are just miles away from you. Get yourself to the campgrounds and enjoy what nature has for you. Here are some of the campgrounds that come to the fore at the mention of Missouri.

1. Meramec Caverns State Park

You have probably heard Missouri being called the Cave State. Have you ever known why that name? All you need is to visit this campground, and you will get to know why that name has been used to refer to this state.

This campground is located outside Sullivan which is on Route 185. The park is approximately 3 miles to the south of Interstate at exit 266. This route takes you straight to the entrance leading to the park.

Any time you visit this place regardless of the weather, you will find the temperature being at a constant of 58 degrees in the mountain. There are lots of activities you can enjoy in this campground. They include:

  • Fishing in the numerous fishing spots available
  • Walking and biking activities on the trails meant for the same
  • Backpacking
  • Boat riding
  • Swimming in the river is allowed, but there are no designated areas for the that

Amenities in the Meramec Park

A souvenir shop together with a restaurant is available on site. In case you need to buy anything then any of these two places will serve you right. And they are open throughout the year just like the campground. At no particular time will you find the campground not operational.

Group camping and 3-year-round campgrounds with all the four connected to the grid ensures there is electricity and water the entire year and from 1st April to 31st October respectively. Showers are available; hot ones in fact.

Canoe outfitters are just standby to provide you with almost everything that will ensure you enjoy a smooth ride in the river. There are lots of picnic areas, sheltered pavilions, concession stand and barbecue pits.

Along the 8.5-mile Wilderness Trail, you will come across eight camping sites. What really fascinates me the most with this campground is the presence of those caves. These are what you should look out for whenever you find yourself in this place.

There are some caves with sizes larger than houses. This should not worry any claustrophobic person. Their 30-feet columns and the bear claw marks make them worth visiting.

2. Bennett Spring Campground

BENNETT SPRING STATE PARK

BENNETT SPRING STATE PARK via mostateparks

This is the most known campground in Missouri. It is located to the west of Lebanon on state Route 64. The place started as a place where farmers could wait for their grains while being milled. That was way back around 1864.

The park lies on 3,216 acres and has water bodies that are known to be home to a variety of fish. It started as a joke and look at how it has grown to be a campsite worth visiting. In 1923 a fish hatchery was constructed here, and a year later, the state bought the surrounding lands which later became one of the adored and first parks in Missouri.

There are 5 campsites in the Bennett Spring Campground. One of them is always open all through the year. There is absolutely no time of the year that you can fail to camp on this campground; only if you decide to stay away.

Camping activities in the Bennett Spring

  • Fishing – there is plenty of trout in the stream. And the stream is stocked on a daily basis, therefore, increasing your chances of catching these fish. If it is your first time fishing, then be sure to leave this place having learned a lot
  • Hiking – this campground has 7 hiking trails. These trails are just waiting for you; probably asking themselves when you will be visiting. The longest trail is 7.5 miles long while the shortest one is 0.25 miles long. Both professional and amateur hikers can try their things on the trails
  • Swimming – a swimming pool the size of an Olympic one is found in the Bennett campground for the adults and a wading pool which is meant for the children. Your kids will have something to do if you decide to have them along
  • Canoeing/Kayaking – the Niangua River is found in this place. A float trip of 7 miles is a possibility in this river. Six-man rafts, kayaks, and canoes are rented out for purposes of this activity. On a canoe, it takes about 3 hours while on a raft it takes 4 hours to make the entire trip. While enjoying the trip down this river, you are likely to witness lots of wildlife and river otters

Amenities in the Bennett Spring Campground

As mentioned above, there is a swimming pool for the adults and a wading pool for kids. There is a dining lodge here with many food choices. Your favorite dish cannot miss in this place. To make it even more interesting, you can take your trout catch to them, and they will prepare it based on your instructions.

Cabins are also available in this place in numbers. Whenever you feel tired of being in a tent, you can make use of one. You only have to make an order in advance for reservations.

3. Roaring River State Park

Roaring River State Park

Fishing at Roaring River State Park | Photo: dfellow/Filckr/Creative Commons License

This park is found close to the Cassville, Mo. It is off the beaten path but worth visiting. It is a place for those who love fishing. It is a place that almost every camper has his or her needs covered.

There are large campsites meant for the large families who might find their way into the campground. The scenery that forms part of this campground is so beautiful. The campsites are open throughout the year.

The main camping activity in this place is fishing. The Roaring River is home to the first Fisheries in the United States. Trout fish are available here in their plenty. In fact, some are so big; even the size of the fight trophy.

The river is stocked every night. It means that any time you visit; you are likely to catch some fish. To get the tags and fishing licenses, you have to pass through the park’s store.

There are three fishing zones in this park. Each zone has its own fishing regulations. Make sure that you follow the rules that apply to your fishing zone.

If hiking is your thing, then consider yourself not left behind when you visit this park. There are seven trails in this park that can be used for such purposes. The trails are of different sceneries and terrains. The trails range from 0.2 to 3.75 miles.

Amenities in the Roaring River Campground

The Roaring River restaurant is home to some mouth-watering delicacies. Under no circumstance will you camp in this area with an empty stomach. Showers are there from 25th of February to the 31st of October.

Another important thing is the electricity which is readily available all the year. It is very reliable especially if you have to do some stuff that needs the electric power. A swimming pool is also available in this park. Make use of the swimming pool especially during the hot afternoons of the summer.

4. Table Rock Campground

TABLE ROCK STATE PARK

TABLE ROCK STATE PARK via mostateparks

Here is another popular campground in Missouri. Besides, it is a stunningly beautiful recreational area in the Table Rock Lake State Park. The Table Rock Lake is a 43,100-acre human-made type of lake.

This place is surrounded by hickory and oak trees that surely provide the beautiful scenery. The campground is located in Branson which is on the State Highway 165. Its closeness to Branson makes it a great camping ground.

There is easy access to water as a result of the two distinct camping areas. If you have your family with you, then you are likely to require extra space. This is well looked into in this campground.

Camping activities in Table Rock Park

  • Fishing- you can enjoy catching crappie and bass all day and night in this beautiful place.
  • Swimming- it is allowed along the shores of the lake with the exception of near the boat launch and marina.
  • Hiking- there are three trails set aside just for this activity. Two of these trails are perfect for mountain biking. They have different ratings ranging from the easiest to the most rugged with distance coverage from 1.5 up to 11.75 miles.
  • Boat riding- boats are available on a rent basis. But if you have your own then you can carry it along and enjoy the waters of this beautiful lake.

Amenities in this campground

Full-service marina and well-stocked store are found within the campground. Branson town which is just a distance away has many shows and numerous dining choices that you will surely enjoy. The marinas offer a wide range of watercrafts that can be rented.

The town compliments the park in a great way making it a place to visit as often as possible. RVs, tents, and trailers can be used in the campground. If you have any of them, then you can comfortably get them into the park.

5. Dr. Edmund A. Babler Memorial Park

DR. EDMUND A. BABLER MEMORIAL STATE PARK

DR. EDMUND A. BABLER MEMORIAL STATE PARK | Photo: Kbh3rd (Own work) [CC BY 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

According to Missouri State Park Division, this campground is the most visited spot in the entire state. Don’t remain behind; be part of these campers who frequent this scenic place. What could be the reason behind this influx of campers?

The lots of activities that can be undertaken in this campground are the sole reason for this. The activities are not only limited to horseback riding, biking, and hiking. There are trails that are designated for these activities. They are as below:

  • Equestrian Trail- this is a hiking and riding trail which is 6 miles long. It runs through the beautiful terrains which makes it a quite enjoyable route.
  • Virginia Day Memorial Trail- the trail draws its name from a volunteer naturalist who offered to work at this memorial park. It is a much shorter one covering distances of 1.5 miles.
  • Dogwood Trail- it is a purely hiking trail covering lengths of up to 2 miles. The distance looks short, but the terrain is so rugged.
  • Woodbine Trail- it covers a distance of 2 miles, and in the process, it covers some other 3 trails. It is a good one especially if you want to have a clear view of plant life.
  • Paved Bicycle Path- just as the name suggests, it is a cycling and hiking trail that spans a distance of 1.75 miles. It is the only paved trail in this campground.
  • Hawthorn Trail- this is the shortest trail in the Dr. Edmund A. Babler Memorial Park. It covers a distance of 1.25 miles.

The campground is close to St. Louis. From June to August of every year, the amphitheater runs programs that your entire family can take part in every Saturday nights. If you participate in activities that are within the visitors’ center, you can earn a patch to take part in the Missouri State Parks and Historic Sites Explorer Program every Saturdays and Sundays.

6. Cuivre River Campground

CUIVRE RIVER STATE PARK

CUIVRE RIVER STATE PARK via mostateparks

This is also another member of the best campgrounds in Missouri. It is a state park that is mainly composed of springs, caves and sinkholes. It is found in the northern part of Missouri State. This area is known for the hiking and equestrian trails that are found along the bluffs of the river.

There are also picnic areas together with modern campsites for family or group camping. On a hot afternoon, you can make yourself comfortable by swimming in the beach of the nearby Lake Lincoln. There is also a boat-launching area in the lake.

Consider having your summer camping at this campground. It is located on 678 State Route 147, Troy. Fishing and boating at Lake Lincoln are some of the activities you can consider while at this place.

During the spring, dogwood will be flowering while in the fall trees will be getting ready for the autumn with beautiful colors. It is also a good ground for backpacking, wildlife observation, and photography. Overnight stays have been made possible in this area.

The park sits on an area of 6,394 acres which is generally considered an agricultural place.

7. Mastodon State Historic Site

best camping in missouri

Mastodon Skeleton Display at Mastodon State Historic Site | Photo: Eden, Janine and Jim/Filckr/Creative Commons License

This place has been included in the list of National Register of Historic Places which is no mean achievement. It is also one of the places you can consider camping at during your vacation. The site is among the widely known and extensive Ice Age fossil deposits across the world.

What do you think about camping at a place where Native Americans at one point called home? That is a rare opportunity that you can let go. Archaeological history in this place points to the fact that humans might have contributed to the extinction of animals.

It is at this site that you can learn about the coexistence of American mastodon and humans. Learn about such discoveries and the pre-historic landscape by camping in this area. There are three trails that anybody who wants to exercise can use. One of the trails takes you straight to the point where artifacts and bones were discovered.

A playground, picnic shelter and site as well as a special-use area are all available in this place. The presence of the wildflower garden is an attraction to butterflies and birds. You can enjoy watching the different species of these animals when you are done studying the ancient stuff.

The site is located at 1050 Charles J. Becker Drive in the Imperial Township.

8. Johnson’s Shut-Ins Campground

best camping in missouri

JOHNSON’S SHUT-INS STATE PARK | Photo by Kbh3rd (Own work) [CC BY 3.0] via Wikimedia Commons

The name “Shut-Ins” is derived from the narrow section of the Black River that came about as a result of an erosion-resistant rock. This led to the creation of some waterpark with a nature’s design. Imagine this happened over a billion years ago but is still there to be seen by the current and future generations.

The smooth and huge rocks are what the cascading waterfalls make their way over and in the process forming natural waterslides and swirling pools. Camping in this place is the best way to enjoy woods and access to the river’s water without any interruptions.

Many people frequent this place which makes parking space so limited.

Amenities found in Johnson’s Shut-Ins Campground

  • Electric and basic campsites
  • Dump station
  • Laundry
  • Showers
  • Two playgrounds
  • Over 15 picnic sites

The place is located at 148 Taum Sauk Trail, Middlebrook.

9. Knob Noster State Campground

best campgrounds in missouri

KNOB NOSTER STATE PARK CAMPGROUND via mostateparks 

It is located next to the Whiteman Air Force Base. It is a place where you can cast a line, mountain bike and hike. While doing any of these, you can enjoy a rare opportunity of witnessing how rockets are launched across the Missouri skyline.

Oak trees are found in their numbers in this place. Small numbers of prairie are also found along the Clearfork Creek making it a beauty of its own. An officially designated area in the name of Pin Oak Slough Natural Area from the featured oxbow slough is found in the park.

This is one of those places that you can spend quality time with all your family members. The hard-packed gravels which are flat are what form the campsites. There is need to have some boundary between different groups of campers. Shade trees do this more than you can imagine. It is found on the 873 SE 10th, Knob Noster.

10. Greer Crossing Recreation Area

Found in the middle of the Scenic River and Eleven Point Wild, the Greer Crossing Recreation Area is another campground you can visit in the state of Missouri. It is a place you can enjoy canoeing plus the beautiful scenes that nature has to offer.

Conclusion

Have you visited any of the best campgrounds in Missouri that have been mentioned? Which one is your favorite? Is there any that you have visited and loved but not included herein? I hope you won’t mind sharing your experience with us regarding the best campgrounds in Missouri.

As you can see, the ten sites discussed above are the greatest places you can consider visiting during this holiday season. They are all unique in one way or the other. Your observations, comments, and questions are most welcome through the comment section.

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