|Limestone Cliff Overlooking Valley of Missouri River (Photo credit: ConanTheLibrarian)|
With summer around the corner, there are plenty of opportunities to get outside and enjoy nature in Missouri’s state parks and historic sites. Spending a night under the stars, hitting the trails and enjoying a day on the water are all options for guests enjoying Missouri State Parks.
“Whether your family has a tradition of enjoying the outdoors, or you have yet to explore the natural wonders on display in our state parks, I’d like to invite all our guests to try a fun new activity in Missouri State Parks,” said Bill Bryan, director of Missouri State Parks. “It’s a great time to try kayaking, enjoy s’mores around the campfire or simply visit a park you’ve never experienced before.”
While planning a trip to a state park or historic site, guests can view parks by region and by activities available at mostateparks.com/find-a-park. Trail options, lodging opportunities and fishing types are among the topics users can select to find the perfect location for their next state park visit.
Many state parks are located on lakes and offer easy access to water activities at Lake of the Ozarks, Table Rock Lake, Stockton Lake, Pomme de Terre Lake, Truman Lake, Long Branch Lake, Mark Twain Lake and Lake Wappapello. Guests interested in kayaking can take advantage of two new water trails at Stockton State Park near Stockton and Finger Lakes State Park north of Columbia.
State park campgrounds offer a variety of amenities ranging from basic campsites for tent campers to campsites with sewer/electric/water hookups for recreational vehicles. Campgrounds offer hot showers, laundry facilities, dump stations and other amenities. Campsites are available on a first-come, first-served basis or can be reserved in advance. Starting at noon on May 23, campers can enjoy the re-opened campgrounds at Big Lake State Park in northwest Missouri and Viney Creek Recreation Area in southwest Missouri.
In 2013, Missouri was named the best trails state in the nation by American Trails, a national, nonprofit organization working on behalf of the nation’s hiking, biking and riding trails. Missouri State Parks includes nearly 1,000 miles of trails for guests to discover and is proclaiming 2014 the “Year of the Trail”. The celebration includes trail-related special events and programs as well as a new GeoChallenge on the Missouri State Parks mobile app that challenges guests to navigate to trailheads in state parks and historic sites.
In March, Gov. Jay Nixon and First Lady Georganne Nixon launched the second year of the 100 Missouri Miles Challenge. The challenge encourages Missourians to complete “100 Missouri Miles” of physical activity by walking, running, biking, rolling, paddling or hiking throughout Missouri, including Missouri’s state parks. To sign up for the 100 Missouri Miles Challenge and begin logging miles, or to continue an existing account, visit 100MissouriMiles.com.
From nature programs to guided hikes, guests can also enjoy upcoming special events taking place day-to-day in Missouri State Parks. On , family-friendly activities throughout parks and historic sites will mark the country’s largest celebration of trails, National Trails Day. On , guests will join thousands of people across the nation for the Great American Backyard Campout.
For more information on Missouri state parks and historic sites, to find a special event near you, or to make a camping reservation, go to mostateparks.com. Missouri State Parks is a division of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.