Camping from the Lou

One of the best ways to get out of town for a bit and not spend a fortune is by going camping. Missouri state parks are reasonably priced, have great trails, and include showers during most of the year. There are numerous state parks all within just a few hours drive of our home in St. Louis. Perfect for a weekend, or week long jaunt to enjoy nature. As an added bonus, if you camp at five different state parks within a calendar year, you can earn a Missouri Camper Award!

With the popularity of camping close to home and living in a major metropolitan area, sites often fill up quickly at many of the parks, so reserving online has become a must for popular weekends. That means reserving a spot, ‘sight unseen’ as opposed to the old days when you would just drive through the campground and pick out the best spot available when you get there. Unfortunately for me, it’s hard to remember what sites are our favorites, which ones are just so-so, and which ones to avoid. As a result, I started keeping a binder with maps of the parks just so I could mark down our favorite sites at each park. You know, the site that has privacy, a nice flat (or at least semi-flat) spot for a tent, and of course enough trees to hang three hammocks.

Family and friends know that we are somewhat frequent campers and a few even know that I try to keep tabs on our favorite spots. So occasionally I’ll get a text from someone asking me “What’s the best site at such and such park.” I’ll pull out my book, and gladly divulge my favorite few sites if it’s a place we’ve been to before. Which got me to thinking, why not include my favorites online? Certainly it’s easier than lugging around that book. So here we go… My attempt at putting some of the campground maps from my favorite Missouri State Parks, complete with which sites are my favorites. Of course since we rarely have need for electricity when we camp, the vast majority of my choices are the ‘basic’ sites. If you’re looking for which sites are the best electric sites, you’re on your own! Also keep in mind, that what makes it a great spot for us, may not make it perfect for you.

For a complete list of Missouri campgrounds and their amenities, visit