Missouri Summer Trips for Kids

See Photo Location

“I’m bored.”

The dreaded phrase that always gets more use around this time of year. It seems that kids are able to tap into an endless supply of energy during the summer that burns through their usual activities and leaves them … well, bored.

Need a solution? Take advantage of the sunny days and head out to Missouri’s amazing parks and outdoor attractions. Not only will they keep your kids active, they are also educational and fun for everyone. Read on to learn more about locations that offer a cure for summer boredom.

Big Oak Tree State Park, East Prairie – A boardwalk meanders through a cypress swamp rich in semiaquatic plants, soaring trees and wildlife – some of which are quite rare. The park gives a peek into the unique landscape that the first explorers in Missouri encountered. 

Dogwood Canyon Nature Park, Lampe – Escape to a 10,000-acre Ozark paradise to see towering bluffs, stunning waterfalls and rugged scenery from miles of hiking and biking trails, guided wildlife tours, and horseback riding trails. Both expert-guided and self-guided trout fishing experiences are available. 

Don Robinson State Park, Cedar Hill – Explore a network of sandstone cliffs and box canyons not far from St. Louis. Approximately 650 species of plants can be found in the park as can numerous migratory songbirds that fill the wooded area with music.

Forest Park, St. Louis – Forest Park is not your average park; it’s a 1,371-acre haven packed full of family-friendly activities, including a history museum, art museum, science center and the Saint Louis Zoo – all of which are free to visit. There are also plenty of recreation areas for outdoor fun.

Grant’s Farm, St. Louis – See more than 900 animals from all over the world at the ancestral home of the Busch family. The farm’s historic buildings – including the log cabin where former president Ulysses S. Grant lived – add to the property’s picturesque charm. Admission is free for all ages.

Ha Ha Tonka State Park, Camdenton – Hike to the ruins of a circa-1905 stone castle where you can see magnificent views of the Lake of the Ozarks. In addition to the castle, you’ll find sinkholes, caves, a natural bridge and Ha Ha Tonka Spring along the 15 miles of winding trails.

Kansas City Zoo, Kansas City – Experience an animal encounter at one of the top zoos in the United States. World-class exhibits educate visitors about the exotic animals that call the zoo home in order to further their mission of spreading conservation awareness. 

Katy Trail State Park – Set out on the longest rails-to-trails conversion in the U.S. for an epic bike ride. The trail is mostly flat, making it ideal for family members of all ages. Along the way you’ll find shops and restaurants that make for great resting points.

Lake of the Ozarks State Park, Kaiser – If water is what you’re looking for, look no further than Lake of the Ozarks State Park. With nearly 90 miles of shoreline and two swimming beaches, this is the place for water lovers. Also offered are campgrounds, mountain biking and equestrian trails.

Onondaga Cave State Park, Leasburg – Beat the summer heat inside Onondaga Cave, a spectacular show cave known for its incredible rock formations. Beyond the cave, you’ll find the Vilander Bluff Natural Area, which has some of the highest dolomite bluffs along the Meramec River. Nature programs are held for park visitors during the summer.

Roaring River State Park, Cassville – Taking your family fishing is a classic outdoor excursion, and Roaring River State Park is a spectacular spot for anglers. The river bisecting the park is stocked with rainbow trout, and a free fishing day for kids is held each summer.

Rutledge-Wilson Farm Park, Springfield – The perfect mix of educational and fun, Rutledge-Wilson Farm Park is an agricultural retreat with an animal barn, farm-themed playground, gardens, 20 acres of native prairie, a paved trail and more.

Taum Sauk Mountain State Park, Ironton – Missouri’s highest point – Taum Sauk Mountain – is the place to be for hiking enthusiasts. Climb to the top of the mountain for stunning views, or set out for Mina Sauk Falls, the state’s highest wet-weather waterfall.

For a special treat, head to one of the state’s entertaining amusement parks: Six Flags, Silver Dollar City, or Worlds of Fun for a day filled with thrills.