The natural beauty of Missouri makes it a top spot for camping in the Midwest. See the state campgrounds and bring the family along. Camping with kids is fun!
Missouri Division of Tourism
Happy Camping with Kids in Missouri
What better way to wake up on a crisp spring morning than to the sounds of nature? Sip coffee by the glowing flames of a campfire; listen to the birds sing, and feel energized for the new day's adventures. Throughout Missouri, state campgrounds offer picture-perfect places to camp.
Missouri is an excellent state for camping in the Midwest, and it begins at Big Lake State Park, near the town of Craig. Big Lake is perfect for camping with kids and provides visitors with plenty of opportunities for recreation. While camping in the park's 407 lush acres, enjoy exploring, swimming in the pool or boating. Be sure to take your binoculars, because the park is situated near a large marsh and is quite close to the Squaw Creek National Wildlife Refuge, which means there are many birds nearby. If you're not the world's greatest campfire cook (or just want a break from hot dogs and s'mores), not to worry. Big Lake State Park features an on-site restaurant.
St. Louisans seeking a break from the city's hustle and bustle often head to Cuivre River State Park, located just outside Troy. A trip to Cuivre River is the perfect getaway for any nature lover. During the spring, woodland wildflowers bloom in every color of the rainbow at these state campgrounds. Lake Lincoln, a centerpiece of the park, offers swimming and boating. Visitors enjoy backpacking, hiking, wildlife photography and other outdoor activities. It's not easy to pack all of the fun into just one day, so be sure to load up the car with tents and sleeping bags and spend the night at Cuivre River State Park's campground − modern and primitive sites are available.
Adventure Camping in the Midwest
Want to combine a little high-speed adventure with your camping experience? Look no further than St. Joe State Park in Park Hills. This 8,238-acre park, the third-largest in the state, boasts 2,000 acres set aside exclusively for off-road vehicles (ORV riding). State campgrounds are set up to accommodate ORVs or horses if you would like to trot down the lovely equestrian trails. St. Joe State Park is situated on what used to be the heart of southeast Missouri's “Lead Belt.” To this day, the buildings that housed St. Joe Minerals still stand and can be visited. The cluster of buildings, collectively known as the Missouri Mines State Historic Site, house a great mining museum.
History thrives at Pershing State Park, where General John J. Pershing enjoyed his childhood years. Two hikes, the 1.5-mile boardwalk and the 6.5-mile Riparian Trail at these state campgrounds, offer views of Missouri as it once was, covered in bottomland forest, swamps and marshland. Located in the town of Laclede, Pershing State Park supports a healthy ecosystem of plants and wildlife, where visitors can go on walks led by naturalists. Fishing is available in Locust Creek and one of the park's four lakes. Camping with kids is encouraged; after all, a trip to Pershing can be educational.
Campers who enjoy the glow of civilization love Arrow Rock State Historic Site. The town of Arrow Rock itself is a designated Natural Historic Landmark, and the state historic site is one of its gems and a favorite spot for camping in the Midwest. After exploring the nature side of the town, be sure to visit the Bingham Home, constructed by renowned 19th-century artist George Caleb Bingham. Visitors can take in a show at the Lyceum Theater and grab dinner at the Huston Tavern, which has been feeding hungry travelers since 1834.
Of course, one of the best places for camping in the Midwest is where natural beauty meets modern convenience once again at Lake of the Ozarks State Park, where nearly 18,000 acres of land offer countless opportunities for recreation. Enjoy beautiful views of the lake as you hike, bike and/or ride a horse along one of the park's 12 trails. Be sure to set aside some time to visit Ozark Caverns, a subterranean wonderland filled with interesting rock formations. Camping is available at more than 230 campsites, and lodges are available. Need to head into civilization for a bit? All of the shops and restaurants of the Lake of the Ozarks area are just minutes away.