A hefty sum of forty-one state parks with more than 3,600 campsites makes camping in Missouri a breeze to plan and enjoy. Long known as “The Cave State,” Missouri has nearly 6,400 historic caves to offer the archeologists at heart. And with abundant shoreline space, water activities are surprisingly easy to find at Missouri campsites. So round up the crew and grab your gear – it’s time to make memories camping in Missouri!
Thanks to the Lake of the Ozarks, the state has over 1,150 miles of shoreline, making camping in Missouri a must for water lovers. Experience the Ozarks’ breathtaking outdoors in the beautiful Ozark Mountains at one of Elk River’s three campgrounds, which offer rafting, canoeing, camping and angling.
Looking for a little history lesson along with your camping adventure? Look no further than Missouri’s intricate cave scene. Meramec Caverns located in the Ozarks is a 4.5-mile cave system that has existed for the past 400 million years. Meramec Caverns is just one hour from the heart of St. Louis, and offers lodging, camping, and canoeing in addition to guided tours of the cave.
The quaint and historic Graham Cave State Park is just over an hour west of St. Louis, and offers a walk through ancient history along with year-round camping availability, five hiking trails, and over 386 scenic acres to explore. Take a trip down literature lane and visit the famous Mark Twain Cave near Hannibal, MO. Mark Twain, a Hannibal native himself, incorporates the maze-like cave in The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. Cave-lovers can also descend into the Onondaga Cave State Park to view towering stalagmites, stalactites, and active flowstones.
Get away and explore Missouri’s scenic shoreline spots and cave wonders. With The Dyrt, you can be sure to find the best camping in Missouri along the way.
Busy summer camping with great amenities. Perfect for boating on Table Rock Lake, swimming, and fishing. Playground available in picnic area. Some sites are reservable, others are first come-first served. Water and electric available. Beautiful place to use as base camp for active campers, or just to relax by the campfire for those just looking for an escape from busy life. Just across lake from Big M Marina.
My family has been camping here in October- after winterization, thus no water- for decades. In season, there are nearby showers and running water. Sites are large and heavily shaded. The sandy swim beach is clean and fun, even off-season. Lots of places to hike and fish. Great place for boating. The bathrooms are generally kept clean. I have little experience here during season, but highly recommend it if you are looking for a quiet place to camp off-season… unless you come the same weekend as my large family. :)
During the camping season this campground has nice large shower houses and clean bathrooms. They sell ice and firewood at gates. Pleasant campground, very nice lake. I camp with kids from infant through 18 and hot showers and decent bathrooms are a must for us. Close to Smithville Missouri.
We were camping in October, and showed up midday on a Sunday - The campground had been quite full over the weekend and was still in the process of clearing out but someone had already vacated a nice site in the lower loop (one of 4) overlooking the Lake that was available for the next three nights. We are tent campers but in this shoulder season we like electric sites to mitigate some of the dark. The colors reflecting off the Lake and the flock of white pelicans hanging out on a sand bar made this a lovely place to hang out - stoking up a little afternoon fire, which we seldom do. Neighbors at this site were far enough away although there is little privacy between sites. The Park is situated on both shores of an arm of Lake of the Ozarks which allows it to feel more removed from the chaos of the tourist world which we appreciate and the waters are quite shallow in the area which reduced fast boat traffic - could almost imagine kayaking there. The trails in the park are many and we only sampled a few - nice forest. The Caverns were closed by this point in the season so ….. that will have to be fore next time.
Lots of river-side campsites, choice between wooded or open areas, pit latrines or flushies, and standard or electric sites. There are groop camping and cabins. Heated bathroom is available. On-site showers and laundry, RV Dump stations, and a store that offers fishing and camping gear, souveniers and a small selection of food. During the summer, swimming pool is open. Roaring River State Park is home to a Trout hatchery and the river is stocked each evening with trout for fishing the next morning. Sites have fire pits and picnic tables. Handicapped campers will find an accessible site with a large, flat concrete pad, accessible restrooms, and an accessible fishing area.
Blue Spring is beautiful and cold! Aside from the over zealous teenagers jumping into the spring it was a nice visit.
This is a primitive camping area and there are a lot of partying people in and around this area plus frequent motorboat traffic. No amenities, many generators. Drive in, pick a spot and set up camp. There are so many areas to visit around the river this would be an excellent base camp or you could use it as a stop off on a float trip.
Eminence, MO is nearby and a good place to refuel and get stuff you need for your adventures. Make sure you get a paper map because phone signal can be iffy.
Love visiting this area. Big Spring Campgrounds near Van Buren, MO is still being renovated after the flood in 2017.
That being said porta pots are in evidence but they were clean. The showerhouse is crowded and old. The only one for the entire campground and three shower stalls. You have room to spread out in your site, privacy andshade if your on the outer loop. A short walk to the river to wade or swim but there is a good current so be aware and wear water shoes.
Round Springs in the Ozark National Scenic Riverways of MO is one of the smaller campground areas but it still has some options.
Single or group sites with nearby put in to the Current River make it ideal. Unfortunately the party climate of the area can make it less then ideal depending on who you get in the site next to or across from you. I love this area but it’s popularity takes away from the charm. Some people don’t respect their fellow campers and realize everyone wants to have a good time. Not much problem with wildlife the crowds keep them away but raccoons are still prevalent so store your food properly ;) Saw some deer but that was about it. People also use generators in the non-electric sites so you may be unfortunate enough to be next to them.
That being said it’s still possible to find some areas that are less populated and popular but still interesting to explore.Or if you are going to party, you will be in like company. Plenty to hike, float and explore in the immediate area!
We arrived mid week in October without reservations. The campground host was SO helpful in steering us in the right direction both in terms of the campground and there is a Basic loop separate from those with electricity - not very used in October mid week. Bathrooms were centrally located in the campground. The campground is within an easy 1/2 mile of the historic town of Arrow Rock and also a slightly longer hike through woods and leaves and into the Wildlife Refuge to the Missouri River and a landing site. Lewis and Clark and the Santa Fe Trail play into this history here so that's pretty cool too. The Visitor Center at the State Park is really good and tells the story of the area well.
Alley Spring near Eminence, in the Ozark National Scenic Riverways of MO is in my opinion one of the best areas in this region.
There was a flood in 2017 which is a good and bad thing. Unfortunately MO has cut funding to the parks so prior to the flood the maintenance had dropped off considerably, many facilities had been closed and are no longer used due to the neglect. Since the flood there has been and is a lot of renovations going on. It’s not there yet. Some areas are still closed.
Alley Spring is somewhere in the midst of renovation. Still excellent area to camp in with mostly private sites. There are a few that aren’t so great but if you reserve ahead and stay out of the inner area you should be pretty happy with your location.
The nearby rental place for the river will come to you for pickup, there are some nice trails to explore and supposedly wild horses in the area. I’ve not seen them yet.
The spring is beautiful! Tranquility comes to mind when you see it. The trail that climbs above the spring to the overlook is moderate and unfortunately the overlook itself is damaged so you don’t get quite the same view as before. The trail also meanders around the mill and spring, if your lucky you will see the adorable muskrat that resides in the area.
There are pavilions for get together sand a small store with interesting things to see and a cold drink at the end of your journey.
Van Buren, MO is in the midst of to the Ozark National Scenic Riverway. This whole area is party central for water lovers that spend their vacation time either motoring, floating or sitting along the Current River and the several natural springs that feed into it.
Big Spring State Park is nearby with plenty of camping options. The campground is still under renovation due to the 2017 flood. There is a showerhouse used by all that is a bit cryptic and bug infested. There is one flush toilet in the first campground loop, the other two loops have porta pots. Picnic table, fire ring and lantern hook on semi-private, mostly level sites. Some have more shade then others. Also a group site is available.
Skyline Drive is the scenic roadway through the Mark Twain National Forest in this area of the state. There are several areas that people camp on the Current River sand bars. If your looking to commune with nature it is possible even with the crowd, they stick mostly to the river.
Eminence, MO is the crossroads to several of the springs and Current River areas. Food , fuel and shopping.
Definitely a destination camping area.
Quaint campground an hour outside of Kansas City. Beautiful fall foliage. The last weekend in October they have a lot of great activities for kids. Pumpkin Carving games. There’s a campsite decorating contest. Kids can go trick or treating at the campsites that choose to participate. Showers are immaculate. Vault toilets are extremely well maintained. Well marked trails and friendly people all around.
Unfortunately PowderMill is closed due to the flood damage in 2017. The limited funding for repairs of the area has caused several sites to be left to the elements and they are slowly being reclaimed by nature…maybe not a horrible thing ;)
There are still several areas to choose from that are currently being rebuilt/reclaimed.
People's Creek has upper and lower campsites. Upper is basically less trees and isn't near the walake. I would probably avoid it if there are other choices but some folks like the large sites and the overview. I think there are fewer mosquito issues on those sites. People's lower has a mixture of sites that are very close to the lake but relatively less shade. The higher parts of people's lower are very shady and beautiful. Not all sites on lower have water or sewer but many do. I love this area and would highly recommend.
One of the 3 Jackson County campgrounds, but the most in level sites in any of the parks. Sits on top a hill, the sites are cut into the hillside so vary from small tent sites, to RV sites. We camped in our 39’ diesel pusher, had to use lots of wood to level everything up, including extending one of our jacks to the maximum and causing it to throw an error message. Sites run from 20/30/50 amp, some with FHU’s. One site has a view of Lake Jacomo and is somewhat level (#31 I think?) and is hard to reserve on short notice. The bathrooms are decent and clean. Fire pits are allowed, but you have to burn the wood they sell, don’t bring in your own.
As with all three parks in the Jackson County district, this one closes October 31 and re-opens in March. Of all three parks: Blue Springs, Longview, and Jacomo, this one is our very least favorite.
Visited in October - weekday without reservations - The process for securing campsites is awkward at best as it is staffed for very limited hours. It seems a pretty new campground, nice restroom facilities (individual toilet/sink rooms). We are tent campers and in Oct. we tend to look for sites with electric because it gets dark so early - all the electric sites have these massive concrete pads - "double wides" - that actually also include the fire pit! We thought this was a lot of hardscape in a natural setting and so checked out the basic loop and it was the same thing. There are walk-in sites which we did not check out that I presume are not concrete. Unfortunately there hasn't been much attention given to tenter's needs as the concrete slabs are relatively level but area around them (if there is enough available for a tent) is pretty slopey - the staff person suggested putting our tent on the concrete!!! We slept slopey - it was OK. Also the first site we set up in - the 20amp circuit breaker wasn't working so we had to switch after having set up our tent - lesson learned: check breakers first! One more thing: we are very conscientious about not moving firewood and are willing to spend premium to buy firewood from the Park concession. This wood was WET and $1 a stick - come on ….. The park and neighboring parks in the area are well worth visiting.
We stayed in primitive site #3 - fairly close to neighbors, but with some berms/hills between it still felt relatively private. Site didn’t have a ton of level tent sites, but was otherwise in good shape.
Fall foliage was gorgeous this past weekend, and we thoroughly enjoyed the woolen mill tour at the adjacent state historic site.
Shower and restroom facilities seemed adequate, though more dated than other similar state parks in the area. Serviceable but not immaculately clean.
Meramec is a campground centrally located in the Meramec caverns. It is a flat area, soft ground, and open space to camp. Not a lot of privacy from neighbors but it is cozy and everything is close by. Bathrooms could be updated but they are well maintained. Host is kind and halloween trick or treating is the best time to come. Lots of playgrounds and space to play yard games. No trails but it is along a short trail that leads to a cave and the river.
Echo Bluff State Park in Ozark National Scenic Riverways near Eminence, MO is a brand new “old camp”.
Opened in 2016 the history is rather interesting. From 1929 until the 1980s, Camp Zoe was a children’s summer camp, founded by Russell S. and Margaret McMahan Louis County teachers. There is one of the structures still on site with plaques and information. More recently, it was home to music festivals — and an open-air drug market. I didn’t find any plaques in relation to that. However when the government gained control of the land in a court proceeding it was decided to bring more business into Shannon County by opening a very nice campground for people not wanting to rough it.
And “BAM” you have very pricey accommodations from lodge rooms, to cabins and two story condos. The campground is pretty nice too but lacking in shade and privacy. There are walk-in (uphill) sites and nice wagons provided to transport your gear. Not my favorite style of camping. Completely full and busy, which is why it got a 4 instead of 5 star. This may be your type of camping and you would say a 5 star. Reserve ahead, I mean way ahead.
There is a huge pavilion that can be reserved that overlooks the area. It has a large fire pit and mega size grill, one of the trails meanders below the pavilion. This would be a nice venue for an extended family get together.
This is a very nice, new, recreation creation. The playground was given two thumbs up by my granddaughter. Then the river, which you can see from the lodge and playground was given 12 paws and 2 thumbs by dogs and grandkids alike. Crystal clear ice cold water that you can walk across to the sheer wall of rock. Bring your water shoes, the rocks aren’t fun to walk on.
A very cool feature , if you are lucky , you will see the wild horses that roam the area. They are not for petting, so use caution.
Aside from the abundance of people we enjoyed Echo Bluff SP.
Might not have showers but is a nice free campground. It’s pet friendly and you are not on top of your neighbors. Definitely going to come back here.
We were the only ones here on a weekday in the off season and it was fantastic. The campsites were clean, the waterways were clean, and no one bothered us. We could hear cows and barking dogs from the surrounding homeowners, so bring ear plugs if those kind of sounds bother you.
Big Spring, Ozark National Scenic River is one of many springs to visit in this area.
The river is very well used by the party crowd, several of the rocky sand bars are occupied by RV group sites playing loud music and obvious alcoholic beverage consumption. I’m not against a good time but the trash they leave and their obvious disregard for the preservation of natural sites is not conducive the the purpose of the conservation effort. It is still possible to enjoy the area and there are places to get away from the crowd.
In 2017 the area had a major flood and renovations are slow. There are porta pots in some of the campgrounds and the showerhouse is in bad shape. There are three campground areas and a group site near the spring. They have a grill, fire ring and lantern pole. The sites are good sized and depending on which site your in you will have shade and privacy. Several are near short trails to the river. Some of the trails are still closed and other areas may never open back up.
We waded with water shoes on and hiked to several locations. I think I will come back in the colder months when the flow of tourist has lessened and the sites are less traveled.
It is a destination location. There is a nice little collection of stores in the area. With a coffee shop and apparel store to name a few. That area is frequented by the equestrian crowd but everyone is welcome.
We drove through Eminence, Missouri several times. It is one of the main intersections to the different areas. There are two restaurants, sit down and drive up plus a Sinclair for fuel.
Bring your water craft and keep your tank on full there is a lot to see in the area with a few miles in between.