Camping allows us to experience nature in ways lost to most of us in everyday life. Sitting around a fire, starring up at the stars, and sleeping in a primitive shelter while listening to nature’s melody of rushing water or wind rustling leaves. Few activities offer a greater venue for communing with nature.

Camping allows us to experience nature in ways lost to most of us in everyday life. Sitting around a fire, starring up at the stars, and sleeping in a primitive shelter while listening to nature’s melody of rushing water or wind rustling leaves. Few activities offer a greater venue for communing with nature.

Camping doesn’t have to be uncomfortable. Tents today offer much greater ease of use and work better than those old contraptions with bags of big metal poles. Sleeping bags are warmer and more comfortable, and other modern items like cook stoves and LED lanterns have taken many of the frustrations out of camping excursions. 

Maybe your not a tent camper and never will be. That’s fine. There are countless styles of recreational vehicles out there to accommodate any desire, from drivable motorhomes to travel trailers so small they can be pulled by compact car. And you don’t have to buy one. Plenty of rental opportunities exist. Camping is meant to be a relaxing, so do what you find enjoyable and make the most of it. 

When you hear people talk about their favorite childhood memories, camping trips are commonly recalled. Gathering with family and friends, or going at it solo, campers seek to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life. For a great camping experience, consider visiting one of these 5 Missouri campgrounds and make some memories with those who matter to you in Missouri’s great outdoors. 

Echo Bluff State Park 

Echo Bluff State Park officially opened July 30, 2016, becoming Missouri’s 53rd state park. These parks, along with 34 historic sites, are managed by the Department of Natural Resources. Missouri’s state park system offers unique, inviting properties across the state, but Echo Bluff is truly exceptional. 

Echo Bluff is located approximately 25 miles south of Salem on Highway 19. It’s about 15 miles north of Eminence. Sinking Creek flows through park and is the sculptor of the namesake bluff. The creek’s confluence with Current River is just a little ways beyond the park border. Echo Bluff is surrounded by public land, including conservation areas, national forest and the Ozark National Scenic Riverways. 

At 430-acres, Echo Bluff is a year-round destination. The campground, which offers a mix of full hookup sites and walk-in tent sites, is modern and welcoming. It’s a bit wide-open at the present, but trees have bee replanted that will someday shade the campsites. 

Table Rock Lake State Park

Nestled on the shore of 43,100-acre Table Rock Lake, this state park sits in one of the most beautiful locations available in the state. Table Rock Lake State Park is located just outside of Branson, which is one of the leading tourist destinations in America, but feels like you are a world away from the neon lights of the downtown strip. 

Table Rock State Park has two beautiful campgrounds, which offer all sorts of campsites, from primitive to full hook-up. The park also has family campsites for hosting larger groups. A unique and exciting way to camp at Table rock is to rent a houseboat. Five Star Houseboat Vacations offers luxury houseboats with all the amenities you need to enjoy an on-the-water camping experience.

Huzzah Valley Resort

Huzzah Valley Resort is a fine place to take a family camping, but it’s even better for a group who wants to cut loose and kickback for a weekend. Floating the Huzzah River is the prime draw to this location, and people come in droves from the St. Louis side of the state to experience the cool, clear water of the Huzzah.

Located between Steelville and Potosi on Highway 8, Huzzah Valley Resort is on the north side of the Mark Twain National Forest. The Ozark forest landscape of the area is spectacular. Along with paddling, hiking and fishing opportunities abound. Many of the campsites, for both tents and RVs, are situated right along the resort’s 2 ½ miles of river. You’ll enjoy the peaceful sound of the Huzzah flowing by as you relax by a campfire or lay in bed.  

Thousand Hills State Park 

With two campgrounds offering basic and electric campsites, Thousand Hills State Park has that perfect campsite for you. This park is a wonderful destination for a fun-filled family getaway. The park offers special family campsites to accommodate parties of up to 12. It also has a special-use camping area for non-profit organizations, like churches, Boy Scouts, 4-H and others, to use. The special-use campsite is available on a first-come, first-served basis. An onsite park store offers camping supplies.

The centerpiece of Thousand Hills State Park is Forest Lake. At 573-acres, this excellent fishing lake is large enough to allow for pleasure boating. Water skiing and tubing are popular pastimes on hot summer days. A good number of pontoon boats also leisurely cruise the lake as visitors relax on the water. There is a 90-horsepower limit on boat motors. Boat rentals are available at the onsite marina. Canoes and kayaks are also popular for those looking to paddle their way around the lake. There is a beach, but no lifeguards. You must swim at your own risk. Pets are allowed on the beach.  

Hidden Valley Outfitters

If location is everything, Hidden Valley Outfitters hit a homerun. Situated right on the Niangua River next to the Highway 64 Bridge just across the street from Bennett Spring State Park, Hidden Valley is in the heart of the trophy trout fishing and floating. This perfectly placed campground affords the luxury of setting up a riverside camp and walking only a few steps to cast your lure. 

Hidden Valley Outfitters offers a lot of camping options and all the amenities one could hope for. There are full hookup and non-electric sites available. Whether you are in a tent or a large travel trailer, you’ll find an ideal campsite for either a tent or an RV.