Camping in Missouri: Top-Rated Camping Grounds for Your Outdoor Adventure

SolarJerry Lee

A hidden gem in the heart of America, Missouri beckons outdoor enthusiasts with its captivating landscapes and abundant natural wonders. With its diverse terrain encompassing majestic mountains, serene lakes, meandering rivers, and sprawling forests, Missouri offers a haven for camping enthusiasts seeking an unforgettable adventure.

From thrilling hiking trails and scenic waterways to wildlife encounters and stargazing nights, camping in Missouri guarantees a remarkable journey, providing endless opportunities to connect with nature and create lasting memories. So, if you want to start having a good weekend getaway, we got you covered.

In this article, we will explore the best campgrounds in the Missouri area and what are the essential things that you need to know before getting into a real adventure.


Top 10 Places to Camp in Missouri

When it comes to camping in Missouri, nature lovers are spoiled for choice. From picturesque lakeside campgrounds to secluded forest retreats, the state offers a diverse range of camping destinations. Whether you're seeking a family-friendly adventure or a rugged backcountry experience, here is the list of state parks to camp in Missouri.

1. Lake of the Ozarks State Park


  • Location: Osage Beach, Missouri
  • Best Visit Time: Spring and Fall

Nestled along the shores of the beautiful Lake of the Ozarks, this state park boasts numerous campsites suitable for tents, RVs, and trailers. With breathtaking lake views, fishing opportunities, and an array of recreational activities, it's an ideal spot for water enthusiasts and nature lovers alike. So if you are on the road, you might want to stop by and get an RV camping here in Missouri.

2. Mark Twain National Forest

  • Location: Southern and Central Missouri
  • Best Visit Time: Spring and Fall

Encompassing over 1.5 million acres of sprawling forests, Mark Twain National Forest offers endless camping possibilities in Missouri. From primitive campsites to developed campgrounds, this forest provides a serene and secluded experience. Explore hiking trails, spot wildlife, and immerse yourself in the tranquility of nature in this popular destination.

3. Table Rock State Park

  • Location: Branson, Missouri
  • Best Visit Time: Spring and Fall

Situated near the bustling entertainment hub of Branson, Table Rock State Park provides a picturesque camping setting. With its clear waters, limestone bluffs, and numerous recreational opportunities, including boating and fishing, it's a perfect destination for outdoor enthusiasts of all ages so even your kids can enjoy the wonders of outdoor fun.

4. Elephant Rocks State Park

  • Location: Belleview, Missouri
  • Best Visit Time: Spring and Fall

Known for its unique geological formations, Elephant Rocks State Park offers an extraordinary camping experience. Camp among giant granite boulders that resemble a herd of elephants and explore the surrounding trails that lead to stunning vistas and ancient rock formations.

5. Meramec State Park

  • Location: Sullivan, Missouri
  • Best Visit Time: Spring and Fall

Nestled along the picturesque Meramec River, this state park offers a variety of camping options. Enjoy canoeing, fishing, and hiking during the day, and gather around a campfire under the starry sky at night. Don't miss the opportunity to explore the fascinating Meramec Caverns nearby.

6. Johnson's Shut-Ins State Park

  • Location: Middlebrook, Missouri
  • Best Visit Time: Spring and Fall

Famous for its natural water park, Johnson's Shut-Ins State Park is a must-visit camping destination which allows you go free camping in Missouri. Enjoy swimming, sliding down natural water slides, and exploring the scenic trails with the whole family. With both basic and electric campsites available, it's an ideal spot for a family camping adventure.

7. Pomme de Terre State Park

  • Location: Pittsburg, Missouri
  • Best Visit Time: Spring and Fall

Nestled along the shores of Pomme de Terre Lake, this state park offers a peaceful and relaxing camping experience. Explore the lake by kayak or canoe, try your luck at fishing, or simply unwind on the sandy beaches. With multiple campgrounds in Missouri to choose from, it's a perfect getaway for nature lovers.

8. Roaring River State Park


  • Location: Cassville, Missouri
  • Best Visit Time: Spring and Fall

Renowned for its trout fishing, Roaring River State Park is a nature lover's paradise. Camp amidst the lush greenery, hike along the scenic trails, and don't forget to visit the trout hatchery and historic mill within the park. With both modern and basic campsites available, it caters to different camping preferences of all ages.

9. Hawn State Park

  • Location: Ste. Genevieve, Missouri
  • Best Visit Time: Spring and Fall

Escape to the rugged beauty of Hawn State Park, known for its pristine wilderness and stunning rock formations that will leave you in awe. Hike through lush forests, explore the Whispering Pines Wild Area, and cool off in the crystal-clear waters of Pickle Creek. The park offers both basic and electric campsites for overnight stays.

10. Bennett Spring State Park

  • Location: Lebanon, Missouri
  • Best Visit Time: Spring and Fall

Home to one of the state's largest springs, Bennett Spring State Park is a haven for anglers and outdoor enthusiasts. Cast a line in the trout-filled waters, hike along the scenic trails, or simply enjoy the serenity of nature. The park is the best place to camp in Missouri, which features both primitive and modern campsites to suit different camping preferences.

Camping in Missouri Essentials

The camping spots will surely make your camping journey unforgettable. When preparing for a camping trip in Missouri, make sure to pack these essential items to enhance your experience.

Solar Generator

A solar generator can provide a reliable source of electricity during your camping adventure. It harnesses the power of the sun and comes with a portable power station to charge your devices, run small appliances, and light up your campsite, ensuring you stay connected and comfortable even in remote locations.

Outdoor Cooking Equipment

In terms of food, make sure to pack portable stoves, grills, and cookware for outdoor cooking. Whether you're grilling fresh catch from the lake or preparing hearty meals, having the right equipment will make your camping experience more enjoyable. Plus, it is easier for you to prepare meals if you have a good set of cooking tools too.

Lighting Gear

Pack headlamps, lanterns, and flashlights to illuminate your campsite during nighttime if you are unable to bring a portable power station. It will not only enhance safety but also create a cozy atmosphere for socializing or enjoying quiet evenings under the stars.

Insect Repellent

Mosquitoes and other insects can be bothersome during camping trips, and they might get you some illness too. Therefore, be sure to pack insect repellent to protect yourself from bites and enjoy a more comfortable camping experience.


Camping in Missouri Tips

Having covered camping essentials for Missouri, let's now dive into valuable camping tips to enhance your experience even further. Hence, you can make the most of your camping adventure in Missouri.

  • Reserve Early: Popular campsites in Missouri can fill up quickly, especially during peak seasons. Make reservations in advance to secure your spot and avoid disappointment if you cannot avail yourself of your desired campground.
  • Pack Layers: Missouri's weather can be unpredictable, with temperature fluctuations throughout the day. Therefore, pack layers of clothing to accommodate changing conditions and ensure your comfort. You can also investigate today’s weather to be updated.
  • Stay Hydrated: Missouri's outdoor activities can be physically demanding, so remember to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water throughout the day. You can always bring drinking water with you.

Final Thoughts

Camping in Missouri offers a myriad of opportunities to immerse yourself in the beauty of nature and create lasting memories. From the stunning lakeside landscapes to the rugged forests, Missouri's diverse camping destinations cater to a range of outdoor enthusiasts.

With the right essentials, careful planning, and an adventurous spirit, your camping experience in Missouri is sure to be an unforgettable adventure. So pack your gear, explore Missouri's top camping sites, and embark on a journey of discovery in the heartland of America.