Capture the castle at Ha Ha Tonka, plunge into activities at Missouri's oldest summer camp and take a dip in pretty Pigeon Creek. Here's what to do with your family at Missouri State Parks:
Nearly a hundred years ago, Echo Bluff State Park was opened as a summer youth camp, and that ethos is still palpable in the park's myriad outdoor activities and facilities. Mountain biking along spectacular Ozark ridges and floating about on crystalline lakes are some of the activities enjoyed by visitors to this verdant park.
At the confluence of the Current River and Pigeon Creek, Montauk Park is beloved of fishermen hailing from across Missouri and even farther afield. Step back in time on a tour of the gristmill that was founded here in 1896. Or hike the park's three leafy trails or enjoy a picnic and the sunshine at the designated picnic area.
Your family will marvel at the historic castle and myriad geological formations that litter this spectacular park. Hike trails to caves, sinkholes and a vast natural bridge, or play hide-and-seek in the ruins of the turn of the century castle. The tinkling of the spring almost sounds like laughter, or perhaps it's just the laughter of excited children. Boardwalk trails make it easy for families to navigate to these sites, and there's a picnic ground to relax at too.
Billion year old inhabitants and intriguing caves lure hikers to step out in Missouri's State Parks. Here are some of the most memorable hikes in Missouri:
1.5 billion year old granite monoliths litter the parkland in a line, like a herd of trained elephants. Geologists and children love these fascinating formations. The easiest way to get to them is by following the Braille Trail, which is designed to promote accessibility to this natural wonder. Another branch leads to a historic railroad engine house, an echo of the region's rail history.
Thirteen miles of hiking trails unfold scenic bluffs and dense woodland, twittering with bird life. Make your way to the spectacular mouth of Fisher Cave, which you can navigate with torches. Along the path, there are several swimming or fishing holes to stop off at. Explore local geology and history further at the Visitor Center, or embark on a canoe trek along the river.
Glades and shaded forests are a serene setting for mountain-skirting hiking trails. As you ascend, you'll discover plenty of stopping places that overlook the glittering Lake of the Ozarks. Comb the lake's two beaches, or take a refreshing dip in one of Missouri's longest lakes to cool down after your climb.
Lakes leaping with trout, outdoor adventures in the Ozark mountain range and thrilling wildlife are some of the attractions of Missouri State Parks for adrenaline junkies. You can always loll by a lake or picnic in the sun after your activities. Here are some sporting favorites:
Water lovers can make a splash at Bennett Spring, a cool and crystal clear uprising of water that's well stocked with rainbow trout for fishermen to reel in. Hiking trails thread through the outskirts of the park, which ascend into the valley that embraces Bennet Spring, affording splendid views at a number of stopping points. One of the state's oldest State Parks remains one of its best.
Sequestered in the foothills of the Ozark mountain range, Roaring River State Park is one of the most popular in the state. Teeming with trout, anglers from miles around make the pilgrimage to fish its waters. Seven hiking trails circumnavigate the park, and you can learn more about local wildlife you may spot as you hike at the Nature Center. You can also relax at the picnic tables after your exertions.
White tailed deer hop through the oak and hickory forest that spreads around Mark Twain Lake. Bluffs overlook the lake, which is hugged by the dramatic Salt River Hills, providing the perfect playground for adventure sports fans. Wander six miles of trail, or launch your boat on the lake.