Visiting Missouri on Your Next Road Trip
Missouri is where the Ozark Mountains and valleys, lakes and caves, forests and farmlands all come together to set the stage for scenic drives and non-stop outdoor adventures. There’s no better time than now to show yourself the “Show Me State.” Missouri campgrounds and Missouri RV parks welcome visitors year round with open arms.
Squaw Creek National Wildlife Refuge is on northwestern Missouri’s river floodplain near Mound City. Migrating ducks, snow geese and such threatened or endangered species as bald eagles, piping plovers and peregrine falcons find an important seasonal migration stop at Squaw Creek. One of the best and easiest ways to explore the refuge and observe local wildlife is to drive the ten-mile-long, self-guided car tour winding through the wetlands. There are also two trails for visitors who prefer to travel closer to the action – on foot. The Eagle Overlook Trail takes hikers on a walk into the wetlands. The Loess Bluff Trail does one better, ascending 200 feet to the crest of the preserve’s bluffs. At this elevation, visitors enjoy a sweeping, eagle-eye view of refuge lands.
In north central Missouri’s farmland near Macon, Long Branch State Park is on the shores of the 2,000-acre Long Branch Lake. This park is fully equipped for water sports enthusiasts; the on-site marina has boat launches, covered slips and watercraft rentals. There’s a sandy beach for swimmers, plenty of open water for water skiers and an accessible fishing dock for physically challenged guests. Long Branch is known for providing more than respectable catches of bass, crappie and catfish, so anglers consider it the perfect spot to test their luck and skill. Besides the lake, the landscape consists of prairies, hills, and forests of oak, sycamore, hickory, and silver maple. Animals and birds like it, too, as evidenced by the population of red foxes, white-tailed deer and bobwhite quail living at the park.
Cutting across the central region of the “Show Me State” on a 225-mile east to west progression is the innovative Katy Trail State Park. There are many Missouri campgrounds and Missouri RV camping resorts in this region, but booking ahead is always wise. Following the former path of the Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad, or “Katy,” the trail originates in St. Charles and links the towns of Marthasville, Jefferson City and Boonville before concluding at Clinton. Designed for use by hikers and bikers of all ages and abilities, much of the trail follows the scenic path of the Missouri River. A limited portion of the Katy is open for equestrians. Trail users find everything from forests to prairies, valleys to river bluffs, wetlands and pastures. And Katy’s position on the Missouri Flyway ensures an interesting array of birds, from everyday species like robins and chickadees to endangered bald eagles and migrating great blue herons. As might be expected, there’s no shortage of honors bestowed on this extraordinary state park affiliate. Katy Trail’s St. Charles-to-Boonville section has been named part of the famed Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail. Furthermore, the entire pathway is also a designated Millennium Legacy Trail and an official portion of the American Discovery Trail.
Located in southeastern Missouri near Van Buren, the Ozark National Scenic Riverways were established by the National Park Service in an effort to preserve 134 highland miles of the Jack Fork and Current Rivers. The preserve is located in a region where hardwood and pine forests overlap, resulting in an interesting mix of flora and fauna, including bunches of wildflowers. There are numerous springs that feed both rivers, as well as mysterious sinkholes and hundreds of caverns. The primary water-based activities at Ozark National Scenic Riverways are fishing, canoeing, tubing, boating and swimming. The surrounding woodlands are ideal for land-based hiking, hunting, wildlife viewing and horseback riding.
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Article Courtesy of Woodall’s Campground Directory, where you can find Missouri campgrounds and Missouri RV camping resorts at your fingertips. Browse Missouri Campgrounds
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