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Roughing It: Missouri-Style

June 22, 2018

I used to do a fair amount of camping - particularly while trout-fishing at Bennett Spring or Montauk State Park with my husband. Half the fun was getting the gear together: tent; camp stove; gas lantern; sleeping bags; ice chest full of food selected for outdoor cooking convenience; marshmallows, chocolate and graham crackers. Those were great times.

Photo by Missouri State Parks

Then one day I overheard my co-worker making a reservation for a campsite. I didn't think he even owned a pair of jeans, so I was surprised ... until I heard him request satellite for his luxury RV. It opened my eyes to different definitions for camping.

And now there's glamping, a newish word for a new kind of travel: glamorous camping. It's defined as a way to enjoy the great outdoors without sacrificing luxury.

No matter which definition of camping you prefer, Missouri has it all. Particularly the great outdoors part.

Photo by Missouri State Parks

If you still enjoy the more rugged variety of camping - roughing it with the tent, et al - I suggest any of Missouri's State Parks. You'll find beautiful scenery, outdoor activities like fishing, hiking and boating, and a few basic luxuries like bathroom and shower houses. At many campgrounds you can purchase local firewood for your campfire. If you have kids, some of the parks offer fun programs and amenities such as swimming pools and playgrounds.

The Show-Me State has an abundance of other camping options, including RV Parks and resorts, privately-owned and state park cabins, and campgrounds with horseback riding offered, along pristine float streams, and on beautiful lakes large and small. Check out all the options at

If you like camping with your dog, check out the Missouri State Parks program Cabins for Canines or other pet-friendly campgrounds like Huzzah Valley Resort in Steelville, Jellystone Camp Resort in Forsyth, St. Louis West KOA Campground in Eureka and Alley Spring Campground in Eminence.

One real hot spot when it comes to camping these days are yurts. These portable round tents covered in skins were once the dwellings of nomads in the steppes of Central Asia. Here in Missouri, they're a luxurious adventure for today's campers. Pomme de Terre State Park in Pittsburg offers yurts with heating and air conditioning; they are situated close to a bluff overlooking the lake. Lake of the Ozarks State Parks' yurts boast a microwave as well air conditioning and heating. Neither location has running water, and you'll need to bring camping gear like lanterns, cooking and eating utensils and linens or sleeping bags. Be sure to call early; yurts are in high demand.

Echo Bluff State Park, photo provided by Missouri State Parks.

And when it comes to glamping, the Show-Me State can show you how it's done. Indulge yourself in the luxury accommodations - cabins or lodge - surrounded by nature at Echo Bluff State Park near Eminence. Sleep in the treehouse of your dreams at River of Life Farm in Dora and enjoy private wade-fly-fishing right outside your door. Escape to a log cabin with all the amenities and easy access to all the Branson attractions at The Wilderness at Silver Dollar City.

Camping sure has come a long way from my days sleeping on the ground in a tent at the trout park. I think I'm going to try a yurt or glamping next. But I'll still bring the s'mores.

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