Toys break and video games become outdated (all too quickly), but the great outdoors remains vibrant, fun and fascinating year-round. Spend some time in Missouri and be astonished by the natural beauty of the Show-Me State. We have a lot of outdoor adventures just waiting to be experienced.
Nature takes center stage at Johnson’s Shut-Ins State Park, located in the St. Francois Mountains, 10 minutes north of Lesterville. Discover the pure joy of simply being outside on a nice day, swimming, splashing, hiking and camping in a landscape shaped by the Black River for more than a billion years. The eroding action of the rushing water shaped the rocks into potholes, plunge pools below small waterfalls and smooth chutes that form wild, natural waterslides. You’ll shout – whoopee.
Speaking of rushing water, why not grab a canoe or kayak and let that water carry you away? Floating is a major pastime in Missouri, and for good reason. There are 29 floatable rivers and streams serviced by numerous outfitters who have all of the equipment you need. You can plan a float trip lasting as little as three hours to as much as seven days. Find details on rivers and outfitters on the Missouri Canoe & Floaters Association’s website and by searching Canoeing and Floating Facility on VisitMO.com. For information about dos and don’ts and restrictions, read the article Floating Tips and Restrictions.
Is staying on solid ground more your style? Try an equestrian adventure at in Raymondville, one hour south of Rolla. Rent a horse or take your own for a guided trail ride, with more than 200 miles of trails from which to choose. The terrain covers spring-fed streams, forest, massive bluffs and caves so large you can ride your horse into them. Whether you’re a novice or an expert, you’ll enjoy the ride. Their facilities include camping sites (tent and RV), a motel, horse stalls and paddocks, shower houses, a swimming pool, exercise room and many other amenities.
For a really thrilling excursion, soar through the trees on one of the most exciting activities in Missouri: ziplines tours. Ziplines are rapidly expanding in popularity because of the true sense of adventure experienced as you zip high above the ground, strapped into a seat or harness, suspended from a steel cable. Talk about an adrenaline rush.
All ziplines are operated by trained instructors and guides. All necessary equipment is supplied. Plan ahead; most require reservations because zipline tours often sell out. These attractions are usually seasonal, so check their website for the months of operation. Here are just a few examples:
- NRO Zipline in Lebanon covers more than 3,000 feet with four zips and speeds up to 30 mph.
- Branson Zipline Canopy Tours at Wolfe Creek Preserve in Walnut Shade has excursions ranging from one-and-a-half hours to three hours, day and night.
- Caveman Zipline is part of the Meramec Caverns complex, south of Stanton. Trips include three swinging sky-bridges and four ziplines ranging in length from 200 feet to 1,250 feet; reaching speeds up to 50 mph.
- Zippy's Ziplines at Turtle Hill Eco-Park, south of Eldon, is home to three unique zip rides with nearly 2,000 feet of ziplines. The park offers many other fun family activities. They strive to make Turtle Hill as eco-friendly as possible.
- Eco Adventure Ziplines, near New Florence, has a variety of experiences for visitors to enjoy. With more than one mile of ziplines and some experiences reaching heights of 250 feet, it's a great way to enjoy the outdoors in Missouri.
There is a lot more out there, so go find it. Wherever you go, send us your comments on our VisitMO Facebook page.