Best Camping in Missouri

Camping in Missouri

By Alex Murphy

From Kansas City and to the Ozarks, the "Show Me State" is a popular destination for both people from the Midwest and the South, and has some great camping spots for travelers from all over the country.

Whether it's barbeque ribs or the home of Budweiser, Missouri also brings views of the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers plus some great mountain trails.

Here's a look at some of the best tent sites and RV spots in Missouri.

See a map of all camping in Missouri.

Missouri State Parks

There are nearly 100 Missouri State Parks and historic sites covering everything from Mark Twain's birthplace to mountain waterfalls and underground caverns.

Those looking to stay near Kansas City have the option of Watkins Mill State Park or Weston Bend State Park. On the opposite side of the state outside St. Louis, visitors will find Babler Memorial State Park.

Travelers looking for more nature can stay in the Ozarks region in the southern part of the state at parks like Table Rock State Park, which has lake access, or Onondaga Cave State Park for cave exploring of a National Natural Landmark. History buffs can stay at Trail of Tears State Park and learn about some of the darker parts of U.S. history.

National Parks in Missouri

Missouri is also home to the Ozark National Scenic Riverways, which protects multiple rivers just north of the Missouri and Arkansas border. The rivers are known for strong currents and are great for canoeing and kayaking, plus they are popular fishing destinations.

There are multiple options within walking distance of these spring-fed streams for camping. They include Big Spring Campground and Alley Spring Campground, which are within the park's boundaries. Echo Bluff State Park is another nearby option for camping.

Free Camping in Missouri

When it comes to Free Camping in Missouri, there are several options in National Forests and dozens of roadside stops that work well for RVers looking for a place to stay for the night.

Slightly away from popular destinations, in north-central Missouri, you'll find Thomas Hill Reservoir, which is maintained by the U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife. Although there aren't many spots on the property, it does allow quick access to the reservoir.

There are locations like Berryman Campground located in Mark Twain National Forest for those looking to spend some time near trails.

Travelers looking to stay for free closer to the cities and are just passing through have options like Cracker Barrel parking lots. Be sure to get permission from management before settling in for the night.

Missouri RV Parks

RVers have many options for visiting Missouri RV Parks, whether they want to be near some lakes or other natural beauty in the Show-Me State.

Visitors looking to spend time outdoors will find an endless number of RV sites in the Ozarks. As its name implies, Branson Lakeside RV Park is a great option for anyone looking for quick water access. Also in the Ozarks, Downstream RV Park in Joplin provides shuttles to nearby casinos.

There's plenty on the northside of the state as well. Campers who enjoy a laidback country vibe can stay at Lazy Dayz Campground.

National Forests in Missouri

Mark Twain National Forest covers about 1.5 million acres in Missouri and provides 750 miles of trails for hikers, horseback riding, and mountain biking, plus there are plenty of streams and creeks for kayakers and canoers to check out.

Within the National Forest, visitors can find dispersed camping in Sycamore Loop in the north area of the forest, and North Fork provides additional camping on the southern end.

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Recent Missouri Campground Reviews

Feb 07, 2023

"Great Location near Family"

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Choose Lambert's for location close to family. It is a gravel lot and sites are close together. But the location and price made it an okay choice. Lucky for us it wasn't crowded when we were there. It was snow covered when we arrived, and it melted quickly without being messy. You do need to call managers from restaurant to come and unlock the...
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10 reviews
Feb 06, 2023

"Quiet Stay"

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Remote campsite, no water/electric/dump area. Tent or vehicle camping. Quiet open area, 2-3 spots, 2 fire rings. Easily accessible off a maintained gravel road. Would give this spot 5 stars if staying in the summer. In the winter, the right side is mostly shaded for the day and has thick mud that does not dry. We got stuck in the mud and it was...
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1 review
Carthage, MO

Coachlight RV Park

Jan 29, 2023

"Easy In Easy Out"

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We arrived past office closed but called on our way in. They left our info on the guest board that made it very simple to find where our site was. Site was level and we had no direct neighbors and just a few longer term campers around. No problems setting up even after dark. We were able to call the office in the morning with card for payment...
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1 review
Sullivan, MO

Meramec State Park

Jan 25, 2023

"Great Park!"

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Lovely park. We were the only campers 12/27/22. Vault toilets as the water was off for the winter. Close to highway but would be tough drive if icy or snowy. We will definitely be back.

Columbia, MO

Cottonwoods RV Park

Jan 16, 2023

"Has A Little Bit Of Everything "

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This was our first campground experience after buying our 5th wheel. Beautiful campground with all the amenities and nice campsites. Sites are a little close together but manageable. Clean bathrooms and nice pool area

2 reviews