If you’re a lover of nature, chances are that you’ve been to the Johnson Shut-Ins, Elephant Rocks State Park or Ha Ha Tonka State Park. Those tend to be the most popular state parks in Missouri. But did you know that we’re home to over 50 state parks? Pretty incredible when outsiders consider us to be a flat, flyover state. Here are some of those awesome state parks in Missouri that don’t get as much love as they should.
1. Prairie State Park - Mindenmines
With wild elk and bison roaming about, it's quite surprising that this tallgrass prairie isn't more well-known to others.
128 NW 150th Lane
Mindenmines, MO 64769
2. Mark Twain State Park - Florida
For the most part, everyone's aware of Mark Twain National Forest. However, Mark Twain State Park is nowhere near that national forest, but it's still pretty rich in nature. The park features bluffs towering over the lake and 6 miles of hiking trails.
37352 Shrine Road.
Florida, MO 65283
3. Rock Bridge Memorial State Park - Columbia
Columbia isn't just home of the SEC powerhouse, University of Missouri. It also has a pretty incredible state park with wood-planked trails and natural rock bridges and caves.
5901 South Highway 163
Columbia, MO 65203
4. Hawn State Park - Ste. Genevieve
Hawn State Park has a bit of something for everyone. If you're a geology buff, you'll love Pickle Creek for its variety of exposed rock formations. For hiking, check out the tree-shaded Whispering Pine Wild trails. There's also some prime locations in the park for bird watching.
12096 Park Drive
Ste. Genevieve, MO 63670
5. Echo Bluff State Park - Eminence
Missouri's newest developed state park sits just a half-mile away from the crystal clear Current River, making it perfect for a summer float trip.
34489 Echo Bluff Drive
Eminence, MO 65466
6. St. Francois State Park - Bonne Terre
Take a stroll through one of the three wooded hiking trails at St. Francois State Park. For floating and canoeing, there's easy access to the Big River.
8920 U.S. 67
Bonne Terre, MO 63628
7. Sam A. Baker State Park - Patterson
For a weekend getaway, Sam A. Baker State Park is the perfect place to post up at. In addition to the St. Francis River, Big Creek, ancient mountains, and wooded areas, it also has a great selection of cabins and campsites. Enjoy activities and delicious food in the lodge anytime throughout the day or at night.
Patterson, MO 63956
8. Weston Bend State Park - Weston
Kansas Citians often forget how close they are to this amazing state park. Downtown Weston is known for its historic main street and wineries, but only a short drive from that you'll find this awesome state park. It offers amazing views of the Missouri River and valley below.
16600 Missouri 45
Weston, MO 64098
9. Big Oak Tree State Park - East Prairie
120-feet tall hickory and oak trees tower over to create a canopy feel at this state park. Wander along boardwalk trails as you explore the marshy terrain.
East Prairie, MO 63845
10. Trail of Tears State Park - Jackson
When you visit Trail of Tears State Park, you'll learn a bit about America's history. It was here that nine of the thirteen Cherokee Indian groups being relocated to Oklahoma crossed the Mississippi River. It was during very harsh winter conditions in 1838 and 1839. Stop in the visitor's center for informational brochures or just read the signs posted throughout the trails.
429 Moccasin Springs Road
Jackson, MO 63755
11. Washington State Park - De Soto
This state park is unique from the rest due to the petroglyphs you'll find carved into the dolomite rock outcroppings. There's also incredible Ozark overlooks and easy access to the Big River for swimming and fishing.
De Soto, MO 63020
With the weather starting to warm up, now’s the time to start looking ahead to plan a visit. How many of these parks have you been to?