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The first time my former partner and I came to Sam Baker was during 4th of July and it was pretty busy but laid back. The accommodations were excellent such as the campground shop and cafe. We stayed in our very large tent, folks were really friendly even though it was mid COVID-19. They regularly cleaned and sanitized all the bathrooms regularly on schedule. We really enjoyed our first stay of roughly a couple nights so much we scheduled to return later that fall. We found out they also had boat/canoe access along the lake and we finally got around to that before it got too cold. Actually enjoyed some more of the snack/meals at the cafe and of course bought whatever we felt necessary at their shop. We really appreciated all the great vibes and welcoming folks. Was sure a good time hope to come back a third and more often then not enjoy our stay!
The campground was laid out well in the fact that you didn’t feel crowded at all, even when there were lots of campers. We were in site 45 with a 33 ft travel trailer and had plenty of room. Nice walk for our dog and grassy areas also. Showers were clean but nowhere to put toiletries except on the dressing area bench… but that was okay. It was all tiled also. Mosquitoes were the big downfall. Just be prepared. We put up a screen tent as well as having bug spray. Ate at Boyettes too and it was really good.
We camp here a lot and have tried several spots in the South campground. The ones near the lake have views but don't have water access. There is also a pavilion near the lake.
Sites 22, 24, 25, 70 backup to the forest and have lots of room to set up tents, however they are the first to flood and stay wet longer.
The map is pretty good about and shows pictures of the sites. At the time of this review the bathrooms between sites 64 & 66 were closed. The bathrooms and showers near site 23 are bigger and more accessible. The bathrooms and showers near site 4 do have a ramp but it is uneven, the space inside is much smaller and would be difficult to navigate with a wheelchair.
Site 43 has trees on both sides of the pad and, based on comments from another camper, can be difficult to back in a larger camper.
Sites in the mid and upper 40's are also good for tent camping. The cypress trees in the area send roots up and the ground can be lumpy because of them. The campground has lots of gopher holes all over. The mosquitoes are bad and you should take some strong bug spray.
The campgrounds does have drainage issues when it rains and if your forecast predicts rain, you might want to put your tent up on the pad.
They opened a small gift shop this year. The sell worms, and they now rent canoes and kayaks. There is a boat launch near the entrance, but you can't launch anything too wide.
This campground is due for a makeover and I heard that it is in the works.
If you love bird watching or photography this place is a dream; osprey, eagles, herons, egrets, and so many others are everywhere. Pelican's stop here on their migration and I recommend the pontoon tour in October during the festival if you want to see them on the water.
Just spent the weekend with my family at Sam A Baker (SAB). We stayed at campground 2. Spot 145 and had plenty of shade and space. There are two traditional camps and one equestrian. The park is crowded but that’s because of how great it is. Lots of paved walk/bike trails around the park. If you forget your bike no problem you can rent one for $5 a day! The visitors center was neat. The general store has everything you need and a restaurant attached where you can get breakfast, lunch and dinner. We spent some time on the gravel bar which was a short walk from our campsite. The water on Big Creek was clear, shallow, and not too cold. I would recommend this state park to any family looking to camp.
The state of missouri does an amazing job providing opportunities for families to enjoy the beauty of nature. Nature programs for kids and parents to learn. Well kept facilities. The ice cream is just a bonus. This is by far my favorite campsite for the kids.
We went with the whole fam to Sam A Baker. Shower houses were conveniently located in camping area. Big River was just a small walk away from the campsite. I know they had been flooded, but I am still cleaning rocks and dirt from the camper. They had a nice camp store and were very friendly. Mostly electric sites. A few full hookups close to the front of the campground. Nice paved roads and larger than normal sites. It was during a pandemic, but bathrooms were pretty clean. Will definitely go again.
Close doesn't begin to describe the camp sites! Spots are crammed into every conceivable space at any imaginable angle. Some sites are "waterfront" but you can't access the water nor see the sunsets for the reeds and Cyprus trees. Decently level asphalt pads with electric and water.
--Tons of swimming in the rivers and"shut-ins" throughout the park(just remember to wear water shoes if you can; it's VERY gravely)
--Lots of trails
--Nice, mellow bike path connecting the two main campgrounds and the very fun camp store(look up on the ceiling!)
--Tall pines(I love tall pines, that's all)
Cons: DISCLAIMER-- We were here on a weekend in August, so I suspect our experience was very much shaped by that….
--Campground was PACKED and LOUD
--Campground was PACKED and LOUD
--Campground was PACKED and LOUD
Okay, I think you get the picture with the campground itself. It was one of those things that made me feel like a cranky old man, saying,"man, why can't these people stop trying to show-off their lame-ass stereos???" That said, the park itself was beautiful.
The main attraction is the water. The river twists and turns through the park. It's shallow, gently flowing, and VERY clear pretty much everywhere(except a few places where it was stagnant!). PRO TIP!!! Since the campground was PACKED and LOUD, most people seemed to not venture too far from the campground itself, so if you want your own private swimming spots, you can hike a relatively short distance and grab one. We did the short"shut-ins" trail and found a perfect one.
BOTTOM LINE: If you want any peace and quiet, don't stay here on the weekend. I suspect the weekdays would be better, and if you managed to schedule mid-week, I suspect it would be an incredible place to stay.