With today's hectic pace, peace and quiet can seem impossible to find. Tune out the commotion and spend some time beneath a blanket of stars.
After a day of adventure on the Niangua River, set up your tent at Corkery Campground, located near Lebanon. Corkery combines a natural getaway with modern amenities: shaded campsites with picnic tables, some with electric hook-up, are spaced along the banks of the Niangua River. Showers and flush toilets are available. Receive a free night of camping when you rent a canoe, kayak or raft.
Van Meter State Park Campground offers basic and electric campsites on a first-come, first-served basis. Services include modern restrooms, showers and water. (The shower house is closed October 15-April 30.) Firewood is available for purchase. The park delights history buffs with its excellent collection of American Indian artifacts, as well as an Indian earthwork dubbed the “Old Fort.” Take your fishing rod and your hiking boots — the lakes and trails at Van Meter provide plenty of outdoor fun. The park is located 12 miles northwest of Marshall.
Archaeological wonders come alive at Graham Cave State Park and Campground, west of Danville. Reservable basic and electric campsites, along with modern restrooms and hot showers, are nestled in a wooded area. Artifacts prove humans dwelled in the cave more than 10,000 years ago. Learn about these hunter-gatherers as you stroll through the Graham Cave Glades Natural Area. There’s boating access to the Loutre River and all the fishing you could want.
At Washington State Park and Campground, in De Soto, see ancient rock carvings made by American Indian tribes. This park offers basic sites, electric campsites, and a special-use camping area. Services include showers, water and a laundry. Cabins are available. In the park, the Big River is an ideal canoeing and fishing destination.
Bird-watchers should grab the binoculars and head to Lewis and Clark State Park and Campground, 20 miles southwest of St. Joseph. The campground has 69 campsites, including basic sites and some with electrical hookups. Pull-through and back-in RV sites are available. Each campsite features a barbecue grill and a table. A great number of birds, including geese, call this park home; in fact, the legendary explorers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark made note of the amazing bird population in the area.
In Van Buren, Big Spring RV Camp provides cabins, RV sites and tent camping on the banks of the Current River. Facilities include a laundry room, a convenience store, firewood, ice and a bathhouse. Four miles downstream, the aptly named Big Spring is Missouri’s largest spring — one of the world's largest — producing an average daily flow of more than 288 million gallons.
If an organized campground isn’t your style, excellent primitive camping is available — September 15 through May 15 only — at Huzzah Conservation Area, near Steelville (day use only the rest of the year). This area contains six miles of the Ozark Trail, rugged forest terrain, sections of the Meramec River, plus the Huzzah and Courtois Creeks.