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

Cape Fair, MO

Cape Fair Campground

Dec 08, 2023

"Winter Camping Free"

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Spent one night dry camping. Grilled dinner and even cooked breakfast on charcoal grill. Good visit at the marina and met some really nice people. Definitely somewhere I’d return. Probably gets crowded in spring and summer. Very well maintained though throughout the winter. Nothing really to do unless you have a boat or rent one.

4 reviews
Saint Joseph, MO

Love's RV Hookup

Dec 06, 2023

"Love’s Has Campsites"

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Campsites are advertised as electric, water (available depending on temperature), and WiFi. We paid $42.60 for a stopover and after we were all set up discovered the WiFi isn’t working for the RV area. Asked to get a passcode for the truck stop paid WiFi but they couldn’t do that. Asked for a discount because we paid for WiFi. Clerk couldn’t do...
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2 reviews
Dec 05, 2023

"Clean and beautiful campgrounds"

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Newly paved campgrounds with level sites right on the Mississippi. Spotted bald eagles and enjoyed watching the barges and boats go by. Right by the train tracks but only a couple trains went by. Beautiful sunsets and night skies. Was our maiden trip close by— would definitely come back and recommend especially if you have a boat. Only one other...
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1 review
Nov 30, 2023

"Nice Park"

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Jennifer was very helpful in setting up our last minute reservation. Site was level, shaded, and clean. Nice community room with tv, vcr, dvd player and huge selection of movies, books and games. Restrooms and showers were clean but very basic. We arrived late and trash cans were full to overflowing—my only negative comment. Shirt drive to...
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6 reviews
Nov 29, 2023

"Large Park (100 Sites) Open All Year."

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Although water is turned off in the off-season, there are 2 locations where you can get potable water: camp host sites 68 & 69. Dump is also open. Restrooms and showers are locked. Rates are reduced off-season: basic $14, 30amp electric only $21, 50amp full hookup $27. I assume full hookup doesn’t have water off-season. Senior 65+ discount is $2...
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10 reviews