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Located smack dab in the middle of Missouri, Columbia is best known for being home to the University of Missouri and for its flourishing cultural scene. It’s not often thought of as a camping destination, so visitors are often surprised at how many fascinating natural wonders and historic sites there are nearby. Campers will find a variety of options from state parks packed with hiking trails and interesting archeological sites to riverside RV parks with all the amenities and even a jazz music venue. Here are the top campgrounds near Columbia, Missouri according to The Dyrt campers.

Graham Cave State Park

hiker walking on trail through woods

Image from The Dyrt Camper Kelsie L.

Graham Cave State Park is 47 miles east of Columbia and the park’s highlight is Graham Cave, a 120-foot wide sandstone cave that was used as a shelter by ancient Native American people. Visitors are allowed up to the mouth of the cave and interactive exhibits throughout the park explain the cultural significance of the site. Hiking trails wind through the park’s forest and glades and the campground offers basic and electric sites.

“A gem of a campground with a super cool cave. You can’t explore the cave, mostly because it’s been filled with debris over the years. But there is a really informative display near the entrance that talks about the history of the cave and the people that have used it (from Native Americans to modern hog farmers).” — The Dyrt camper Annie C.

Campground Details:

  • 53 total campsites – basic and electric sites
  • Electric hookups, drinking water, and dump station available
  • Prices — $12-$23 (prices vary by season and site type)
  • Dogs allowed

Lazy Day Campground

child standing infront of lake

Image from The Dyrt camper GW C.

Lazy Day Campground is a private RV park just outside of Graham Cave State Park, 47 miles east of Columbia. The campground features RV sites with full hookups, tent sites with water and electricity, and amenities including a swimming pool, showers, a fishing pond, a community fire pit, and a fenced-in dog park.

“It’s quiet and peaceful. You can also fish here and they have lots of movies for rent. The laundry and bathrooms/showers are adorable. The sites are well spaced and nice and level.” — The Dyrt camper Darlene T.

Campground Details

  • 72 total campsites – RV and tent sites
  • Electric, water, and sewer hookups available
  • Prices — $20-$40 (prices vary by site type, weekly rates available)
  • Dogs allowed

Finger Lakes State Park

lake and trees on finger lakes

Image form the Dyrt camper Meaghan S.

Finger Lakes State Park is one of two state parks in Missouri open to ATVs and off-road motorcycles. Built at the site of a former strip mine 10 miles north of Columbia, the park offers over 70 miles of trails for off-road vehicles as well as a challenging 4.5-mile mountain bike trail, river corridor for canoeing and fishing, and a shady campground for tents and RVs.

“This is one of my favorite places to fish and picnic that is close to home. It is quiet and always clean. The campsites are well kept and the shower/bathroom facilities are always clean.” — The Dyrt camper Jenn L.

Campground Details

  • 25 total campsites – basic and electric sites
  • Electric hookups, drinking water, and dump station available
  • Prices — $12-$25 (prices vary by season and site type)
  • Dogs allowed

Mark Twain State Park

5th wheel parked at campsite with huge blanket out front

Image from the Dyrt camper Stacy D.

Situated in the Salt River Hills 60 miles northeast of Columbia, Mark Twain State Park offers hiking trails, boating, swimming, and camping. Adjacent to the park is the Mark Twain Birthplace State Historic Site, where you can visit the two-room cabin Mark Twain was born in and see a handwritten manuscript of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.

“There is something really magical about the campground we stayed at in Mark Twain! The designated spots feel secluded since they are bordered by forest. We got a spot right off the water and woke up to the sound of it in the morning. The hiking trails nearby are also really beautiful and right along the river. Definitely recommend it!” The Dyrt camper Susanna P.

Campground Details

  • 3 campgrounds with over 100 sites
  • RV, tent, group sites, and camper cabins
  • Electric hookups, drinking water, and dump station available
  • Prices — $12-$42 (prices vary by season and site type)
  • Dogs allowed

Cooper’s Landing Campground and Marina

sunset over water

Image from The Dyrt camper Jocelyn W.

Located on the banks of the Missouri River 12 miles south of Columbia, Cooper’s Landing Campground and Marina is a full-service marina, family-friendly camp spot, and music venue. The campground features tent sites and RV spots with electric hookups as well as a country store stocked with goods and wireless internet availability. The outdoor stage hosts a variety of blues, jazz, and folk acts.

“A beautiful campground located right next to the Missouri River. Live music, amazing Thai food, general store with snacks, beer, ice cream and merchandise. A bathroom (in addition to portapotties) as well as indoor shower. Very kind people all around.” — The Dyrt camper Caycy E.

Campground Details

  • 11 RV sites, 13 tent sites
  • Electric and water hookups – no sewer or dump station
  • Prices — $10 per person for tents, $40 RV or trailer
  • Dogs allowed

Binder Park Campground

tree houses at binder park

Image from The Dyrt camper Josh S.

Binder Park Campground is a small city-run RV park just outside of Jefferson City, 38 miles south of Columbia. There are 15 miles of mountain biking and hiking trails throughout the park, in addition to a lake filled with largemouth bass, a disc golf course, and several ball fields and playgrounds.

“This is a great place for us to take our dog to run and also a great place to mountain bike. Trails are color-coded and they do a great job of separating them by difficulty. The lake also has great fishing if you want to put in a canoe and do some paddling around.” — The Dyrt camper Charlotte B.

Campground Details

  • 17 campsites – tents, trailers, and RVs
  • Electric, water, and sewer hookups available
  • Prices — $24/day
  • Dogs allowed

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