Record Memories of Your Camping Excursion
Pitch a tent. Roast (singe?) a marshmallow. Share a story. Sleep beneath the stars. Wake up beside a crystal-blue stream. Hike a mountain. Look no further than Missouri for bountiful outdoor scenery and countless spots to take in a view and embark on an adventure.
Unzip your tent and step onto the plains “where the buffalo roam.” Start your adventure about 35 miles north of Joplin, at Prairie State Park in Mindenmines. Listen to the grunting and snorting racket of American bison amid sights of blooming wildflowers. Take your camera and join the ranger-guided Bison Hike, offered once each month, March thru December. Don’t end the day there – turn your getaway into an excursion and hike among the cream-colored blossoms of Indian paintbrush and through the lavish tall grasses swaying in the breeze.
Enjoy the rich history of Arrow Rock State Historic Site. Go fishing at Big Soldier Lake and reel in a big one. Hike along Pierre a Fleche Trail and River Landing Trail. Lay down a blanket on the soft grass, close your eyes and listen to the rustling trees while the sun warms you. Walk the boardwalk of Main Street in Arrow Rock, where history awaits around every corner. Visit the house of famed Civil War artist George Caleb Bingham and dine at J. Huston Tavern Restaurant, the oldest continuously serving restaurant west of the Mississippi. According to Yelp reviewer Ames A, the family-style tavern serves a fried chicken dish that will have you “hypnotized by the aroma.”
Largemouth bass and catfish make Wakonda State Park, just three miles south of La Grange, a favorite of fisherman. Grab a pole and chair, hook a ball of stink-bait to the end of your line and give the cast a little ‘umph.’ Let the catfish do the rest of the work. When the biting slows, take binoculars in hand for a little bird watching. You may spot birds such as northern shovelers and great blue herons.
Thirty miles northwest of Kansas City is a forested Missouri River corridor that is home to one of Missouri’s most beautiful parks, Weston Bend State Park, three miles southwest of Weston. This park offers grand views of the Missouri River. Take a picnic and a camera and explore the park’s eight trails. Let the meandering wooded paths guide you along for the breathtaking views. Whether you use a simple 35mm camera, a disposable point-and-shoot, your smartphone or expensive photo equipment, go prepared; you’ll be taking many pictures along your journey.
Located 20 miles southwest of Ste. Genevieve, the unparalleled beauty of Hawn State Park establishes it as one of the best camping destinations in Missouri. Hikers awe at the wild azaleas and trickling blue water of Pickle Creek. Pitch a tent and then take a day hike on Whispering Pines Trail. Venture on the park’s other serpentine trails and discover why Missouri was named America’s “Best Trail State” in 2013 by American Trails. Let the kids hunt frogs and catch fish.