Home to beautiful trails, diverse wildlife, and a nationally recognized sailing school, Stockton Lake is the perfect place for Midwestern campers to earn their sea legs and uncover a bit of nature, too. Located in southwest Missouri, Stockton Lake spans nearly 300 miles of shoreline and crystal clear waters. A Stockton Lake camping trip offers an opportunity to swim and sail to your heart’s content in the breezy spring and summer months.

The 3 best spots to set up for your Stockton Lake Camping trip

The V-shaped Stockton Lake is dotted with campsites along the shore. With a wide range of primitive to modern campsites to choose from, these are the top four spots for Stockton Lake camping with easy access to the water.

1. Stockton State Park

Resting on the inner point of the v-shape of Stockton Lake, Stockton State Park is surrounded by shoreline on two of its three sides. It offers both basic and electric sites, plus a well-stocked marina for campers’ convenience. The marina offers necessities from marshmallows to sunscreen. Plus campers can rent pontoons, jet skis, canoes, and kayaks there as well.

Image from the Dyrt camper Charlotte B.

Campgrounds at Stockton State Park are separated to the east and west. Both campgrounds offer water, restrooms, and showers. However, laundry, dump stations and a woodlot located on the east campground only. The campgrounds are open year-round, though there is no frost-free water spigot in the park. Winter campers will have to get potable water from the park office. Campsites cost $8.50 per night and they’re relatively flat for pitching a tent. However, they’re not particularly secluded so you should expect to see some neighbors during your trip.

We stay here about seven or eight times per year. Easy to reserve sites. We always stay on the west loop. There are no bad sites. Our favorite sites are 15 and 39. Restrooms are immaculate and camp hosts are great! Walking distance to the Marina that includes a restaurant. Walking distance to the lake and a lake view with kayak access. – Jeremiah K.

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2. Hawker Point

Hawker Point Campground is a lush and shady spot for a Stockton Lake camping trip. The lake and surrounding landscape offer peace and privacy to area campers. With plenty of space between campsites and dense woods between, Hawker Point is ideal for those who don’t like to feel crowded during their stay. The boat ramp nearby has 3-4 lanes and offers a courtesy dock and restroom.

Image from the Dyrt camper Charlotte B.

But the spots fill up fast–, especially on holiday weekends. Hawker Point Park offers 62 reservable campsites with easy access to showers, a dump station and flush toilets. Campers can find electric and non-electric tent sites, RV sites, and equestrian campsites as well. There is a nightly fee, which drops to $10 (from $18) on October 1 until November 30. After the 30th, the campground closes for the season until March 1.

Hawker Point campground together with the lake is great. The campground was well kept, mowed, clean and fellow campers were friendly while at the same time respectful of others. The lake is to die for. Water was clear clean and like glass. We have kayaks so our morning trips were accidentally long, peaceful and awesome. – Carman S.

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3. Crabtree Cove

Crabtree Cove is a Stockton Lake Camping spot perfect for RV campers. It offers 58 campsites, most of which have electric hookups. However, the campsites can be a bit uneven for comfortable tent camping. Amenities like showers, flush toilets and a dump station create a comfortable camping environment. Plus, boat owners will have easy access to Crabtree Cove’s dual-lane boat ramp with a large parking lot and pull through spots.

Image from the Dyrt camper Phillip G.

Along the water, thrill-seekers can find fantastic spots for cliff jumping at Crabtree Cove. Plus, there are three full-service marinas nearby which offer a wide range of services and supplies, including boat rentals, fuel, fishing tackle and restaurants.

We stayed at campsite 13 gravel lot site and a little uneven where the picnic table and sitting area had a good view of the lake and the plus was we faced away from other campers so it was like you were the only ones there at times. our friends used the bathrooms and said they were very clean. – Phillip G.

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Swimming, sailing, and exploring during your Stockton Lake camping trip

Making a splash at Stockton Lake

The main draw for camping at Stockton Lake is, well, the lake of course. Sail boating is especially popular in the area thanks to consistent east-to-west winds that blow from Oklahoma and Kansas. The Stockton Yacht club even holds annual races on the lake and offers lessons throughout the year. About one-third of the lake is accessible to sailboats.

Anglers will feel at home on the lake as well. The waters of Stockton Lake are home to several species of fish including small and largemouth bass, crappie, white bass, walleye, catfish and sunfish. Several trails wind around the lake shore and through the landscape. The Stockton Lake Equestrian Trail continues approximately 15 miles between Hawker Point and Orleans Trail Campgrounds.

In addition to fishing and sailing opportunities, Stockton Lake campers can enjoy a swimming beach at Stockton State Park and options to rent kayaks, canoes, wave runners, and even scuba gear. Check out their website to find more information on boat rentals at Stockton Lake. Stockton State Park even has a 6.6-mile water trail for canoes and kayaks. The water trail is marked in blue and follows along the shoreline. It can be a bit challenging to paddle through, but views of limestone bluffs, quiet coves, and even a small island are worth the effort.

Exploring the land around Stockton Lake

Stockton Lake Campers who’d like to trade in their sea legs for a little land exploration will enjoy the many trails that surround the area. Some of the most popular hiking trails at Stockton Lake are located within Stockton State Park. Hikers and mountain bikers will enjoy the Lakeview Trail at Stockton State Park. The 8-mile trail travels through young woodlands perched above the lake, providing a vast view of the water.

Image from Missouri State Parks

Crabtree Cove campers can find the Crabtree Cove Train in their neck of the woods, which runs just 1.6 miles. Last, but certainly not least is one of the most difficult trails near Stockton Lake: Rutledge Bluff Overlook. This 19.6-mile trail is open to mountain bikers, hikers, and even horseback riders (but no dogs, sorry!). Hawker Point campers can access the trailhead in their campground. But beware, ticks run rampant in these woods during the summertime. Bring plenty of bug spray and water with you for your trek.

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