Camping in Missouri State Parks: History, Wildlife and Adventure All in One Place


Summer is a great time to create memories as a family, and camping is a perfect opportunity to get outdoors and bond.  Head outdoors and take advantage of the unique camping opportunities in Missouri State Parks this summer.

State parks host a range of unique features, from geologic formations to water recreation and the opportunity to see wildlife.  Plus, at Missouri’s state parks and historic sites, you can find all sorts of interesting activities to make the most of your time outdoors.

To make the most of your camping trip, come prepared for anything.  Safety is key to a successful camping trip, so being ready for any sort of weather or activity is important when planning the trip to ensure it goes smoothly.

Lake Wappapello
Lake Wappapello State Park, north of Poplar Bluff.

Here are some great choices for camping in Missouri State Parks: 

Big Lake State Park:  The campground at Big Lake State Park in the Northwest portion of the state offers basic and electric campsites as well as modern restrooms and hot showers.  There are 76 campsites total at the park, which have recently reopened after flooding in 2011.  Visitors to Big Lake State Park can also enjoy fishing and boating in the oxbow lake for which the park is named.

Graham Cave State Park: Visitors who are looking to enjoy a unique camping experience in Missouri should head to Graham Cave State Park slightly off of I-70 between Columbia and St. Louis.  This park offers 53 basic and electric campsites nestled in a wooded area of the park, with easy access to hiking trails.  Visitors to Graham Cave can enjoy hiking, boating and fishing, as well as the Graham Caves Glades Natural Area, where they can experience the lifestyle of hunter-gathers who lived in the area in ancient times.  Visitors can also view exhibits that detail the life of early inhabitants of the area and enter the mouth of Graham Cave.

Harry S Truman State Park:  This state park near Warsaw offers 201 campsites in six different campgrounds, and includes basic, electric, family and ADA accessible campsites.  The campgrounds have modern restrooms, a dump station, showers, water and laundry.  Harry S Truman State Park also offers a wide range of other activities for visitors, including fishing, boating, swimming and hiking.

Lake Wappapello State Park:  Lake Wappapello is north of Poplar Bluff and offers 74 basic, electric, family and ADA accessible campsites in two campgrounds.  The campgrounds include showers, water and laundry.  Lake Wappapello offers fishing, boating, swimming and kayaking.  The park also includes a variety of hiking, bicycling, equestrian and backpacking trails.

For more information about camping or to make a reservation, visit  You can also make a camping reservation by calling 877-ICampMo (877-422-6766), 7 a.m. – 7 p.m. CT, seven days a week.  Missouri State Parks is a division of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.

Written by Bill Bryan, Missouri State Parks Director.

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