Missouri has been recognized many times for its outstanding state parks system. More than 80 parks and historic sites offer 200,000 acres to hike, camp, picnic and play. These 10 parks offer a sample of the wide-open spaces and history-filled places you can find in the Show-Me State.
You’ll find sweeping views of the Missouri River and secluded picnic sites at Weston Bend State Park, a short drive from Kansas City. The park’s scenic overlook is accessible for people with disabilities. Trails include a 3-mile paved path that takes hikers and cyclists through the woody terrain. The park also offers a campground.
The 625-acre oxbow lake is a perfect place for fishing. Because it lies along a major migratory flyway, it’s also a great birding spot. The park offers camping, camper cabins, a swimming pool and boat ramp.
Radiocarbon dating indicates the park's shelter cave was inhabited more than 10,000 years ago. Exhibits detail the natural and cultural significance of the site and the people that occupied the cave. The park, located along the Loutre River, offers camping, hiking and mountain-biking, fishing, picnicking and a boat ramp.
Straddling the lush Meramec River valley, the park is an excellent location for canoeing and fishing. The day-use park has hiking and mountain biking trails for all skill levels. The park also has picnic sites and shelters and a boat ramp.
Giant, billion-year-old pink granite boulders stand end-to-end – like a train of circus elephants. A paved, self-guided trail winds among these geologic wonders and past the remains of a long-gone mining operation. The day-use park also offers panoramic views of the Ozark Mountains.
At an elevation of 1,772 feet, the highest point in Missouri is located in this park. A wet-weather waterfall, Mina Sauk Falls, is a highlight of this rugged park. Located nine miles south of Ironton, the park offers picnicking, primitive camping, hiking and backpacking trails and an accessible overlook.
Take in panoramic views of swaying grasses and an ever-changing display of wildflowers at Prairie State Park. Tallgrass prairies once covered more than a third of Missouri, but today, less than 1% remains. Much of that land is preserved at this park, located south of Lamar. You might just spot the park’s resident bison herd.
A steady breeze makes Stockton Lake a favorite among sailing enthusiasts. A nationally recognized sailing school is housed at the marina where you can rent a sailboat, pontoon or fishing boat, canoe, or kayak. The park also offers camping, cabins picnic sites, hiking and biking trails and fishing.
The remains of a circa 1905 European-style stone castle sitting atop towering bluffs add an air of mystery to this park. More than 15 miles of winding trails take you through forests and glades and past caves, sinkholes, a spring, and a natural bridge. Located at the Lake of the Ozarks, the park also has picnic areas, boat docks and a visitors center.
Discover fascinating geologic features at Rock Bridge Memorial State Park. Take the boardwalk to a natural rock bridge, passing numerous sinkholes and springs along the way. The park also has trails for hikers, mountain bikers and horseback riders as well as picnic sites.