Saint Francois is a tent and rv campground just 1 hour south of saint louis, MO in Bonne Terre. It also along a river which allows swimming at your own risk because there is no real entrance site. But plenty of gravel bars. I personally enjoy this park and its sites. The rvs and tents are separated which i love. And the tent sites have plenty of room for 2-3 tents plus games. They provide individual showers, out houses every 6 sites, flat areas for tents, ice, wood, and activities. Trails, parks, and lots of fields to play in.The only downfalls are (1) entering the park. You enter on a dangerous highway where you need plenty of room and stopping to enter but there is none. Getting out is the worst especially if you have a trailor and move slow. There is no lane for you to pull out. Cars are fine. (2) the river is monopolized by 1 company for rafting/kayaking/canoing. You have to make an appointment, they only accept cash, and the websites dont show correct equipment. But it gets the job done.
Fun swimming area
We have stayed here many times. It is busy and has a party atmosphere on the weekends but is nice and quiet during the week. There are some nice trails here that are around 3 miles and 1 long trail that equestrian friendly and also has a hike in camp site. I did score it down because the shower house is older and could use updating. The electric sites are nice. The basic area has some sites that are washed out and red clay is exposed so very messy in wet weather, There also seems to be a drag racing track nearby because you can sometimes hear the noise. Great place for wildflowers and butterflies.
I’ve gone hiking at St Francois State Park many times- Mooners Hollow is one of my favorite trails within two hours of St Louis. I didn’t realize there was a campground here until a drive through the park. It’s a fairly large campground with a tent/non-hookup loop and a much larger (and more congested) electric/water/hookup RV loop. All sites have the standard picnic table, fire pit, grill set up with nice parking pads. The ground surface in some of the tent sites was…interesting. I guess its an attempt to reduce erosion? There are also some really neat “glamping” canvas cabin/tents that you can reserve on the bluff. Besides the hiking trails, there is a beach on the lake and boat access to the river. One important note: you are required to have a vehicle to get out in case of flash flooding on the river and creeks. You have to go through some low areas and along the river to get to the campground and flooding has been a serious problem in the past.
The park itself is huge, but they unfortunately have plots right on top of one another. Its really nice to have space but here there's almost no space for a larger tent. Because its so busy and over packed all the time the crowds from group campers and rvs get so roudy and messy. Swimming is great at the river and my favorite tree is here, its just too cramped :/
The campgrounds have two loops, electric and basic. The electric loop sites are close together, and is mainly RV camping. The loop has great river access. Further from the river is the basic loop - these sites are nicely spaced, most back to the woods, and all were grassy.
All sites are within reasonable walking distance to the very nice shower house, bathrooms, it even had laundry. All facilities were well maintained and clean. Campground host sells wood and ice. Nice playground next to shower house.
Big River is great for many water activities - kayak, float, fish, etc. I gave a try at fishing and caught a couple small bluegills. If you'd rather get away from the people, there are a number of beautiful trails to hike, many providing bluff river views or are along creeks (I prefer hikes with water views!) I hiked the swimming deer trail, which is 3.15 miles and a combination of forested areas and bluff riverside terrain. The trailhead is at the campgrounds, which made it very easy to access.
While we were there, we encountered a lot of wildlife! We passed by a momma (we assumed) raccoon in a tree, a few snakes on the trail, a few turtles on the trail, an abundance of squirrels, and even had some deer spend time right behind our campsite. It was amazing!
very nice campground. large park with tons of room and several playgrounds for the kiddos. the shower houses were clean and well kept, the water feature was adequate for play. miles and miles and miles of trails.
We have been to St Francois to RV camp 3 times in past year and I love the pleasant hostess and park rangers. Hiking is beautiful especially if you go the first few weeks in april and the wild flowers of the bluebells are in bloom. beautiful! Bathroom and showers are clean, as is entire park. Playground for grandkids and plenty of shaded campsites. Not a 5 star as had flooding and quite a bit of dried mud on our paved site and it rained while we were there and we were unable to remove all dried debri so it was pretty messy.
We spent a Saturday and Sunday there camping in the electric site. They do have tent sites but we wanted to be closer to the river which was a 2min walk.
Great place, awesome people and kid friendly. Definitely will be back!
Not a huge campground but, Its a really simple beautiful place to enjoy Missouri's rolling hills. It is located 1 hour from St. Louis and 30 ish min from Elephant Rock State park. If your in the area check out the other amazing Missouri state parks while staying here. The Missouri Mines state park is maybe a 5 min drive and a neat place to see. Tent sites, Bathroom and some hammock spots.