The state of Missouri is a beautiful state in the Midwest filled with stunning state parks. There are 87 official state parks and historic sites in the state of Missouri that offer great natural Midwest landscapes and picturesque views with great hiking and walking trails, swimming, fishing and more. Here are some of the best state parks to visit in Missouri.

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Best State Parks in Missouri

1. Ha Ha Tonka State Park

Ha Ha Tonka State Park is located on the Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri and is easily one of Missouri's most visited spots. Its most prominent feature is the stone ruins of a castle that was built at the turn of the 20th century built by a Kansas City businessman on one of the bluffs overlooking the Lake of the Ozarks and there’s plenty more that Ha Ha Tonka offers. Visitors enjoy taking hikes through the various nature trails that snake along the hilltops where you can see a natural rock bridge, caves, and sinkholes and get down by the lake. There are plenty of natural wonders and sights to be seen in Ha Ha Tonka making it a fun experience for all visitors.


2. Taum Sauk Mountain State Park

The Taum Sauk Mountain State Park stretches over 7,500 acres where you can climb to the literal top of Missouri where the highest point in the entire state is in the St. Francois Mountains. Visitors are guided to the top of the peak that sits at 1,772 feet and you can take in stunning views of the landscape. Visitors can take hikes through the park that take them to Mina Sauk Falls where you can see Missouri’s tallest waterfall. Take in the picturesque views of the countryside at Taum Sauk Mountain State Park and explore all the nature it has to offer and it’s surely a trip you won’t forget.


3. Johnson Shut-Ins State Park

Johnson Shut-Ins State Park holds 1.4 billion years of geological history. The explosion of volcanoes nearly 1.5 billion years ago created this wondrous landscape of rhyolite rock formations and swimming areas. Visitors can explore the park's many swimming areas and mountainous trails. Offering fun for the whole family with swimming, walking, hiking and biking activities, Johnson Shut-Ins State Park is a natural playground worth visiting!


4. Katy Trail State Park

The Katy Trail State Park is home to the nation’s longest rails-to-trails bike path that starts in St. Charles, Mo and stretches 225 miles through Missouri countryside along the Missouri River to Kansas City, Mo. Visitors on the trail can enjoy beautiful Midwest nature scenes with forestry, open fields and bluffs along the river whether they’re interested in just taking a nature walk or if they want to take a five-day bike trip across the state.


5. Meramec State Park

Meramec State Park boasts incredible natural beauty. This popular park is home to the Meramec River, which is a very popular canoeing hot spot near the Mark Twain National Forest. There are stunning bluffs along the river and wooded areas and 13 miles of hiking trails throughout the state park. Fisher Cave is a must-visit when in Meramec State Park where you can take a tour through this amazing natural wonder with handheld flashlights. Visitors can enjoy walking, hiking, canoeing, fishing, swimming and rafting in this unique, picturesque state park.


This article was written by Cameron Lafontaine.