A 4 day road trip is the perfect amount of time to see Missouri’s state parks! Missouri has 91 state parks total, so we’re going to cover the best of the best in this 4 day itinerary.
This guide begins and ends in Kansas City, but can easily be modified to suit wherever you may be coming from.
Missouri State Parks 4 Day Road Trip
Missouri State Parks Road Trip Map
Day 1: Kansas City, Ha Ha Tonka, Echo Bluff
It’s a bit of a drive to get to Echo Bluff, so a stop in the middle at Ha Ha Tonka State Park will be a welcome stretch for your legs.
Ha Ha Tonka is just outside of Camdenton, which has a few options if you’re planning on stopping for a meal. My proposed guide is to leave in the morning, grab lunch in Camdenton, hike in Ha Ha Tonka for a couple of hours, and continue to Echo Bluff. You’ll likely arrive in time for dinner.
We stayed at the Echo Bluff Lodge in one of the top floor cabins. If you’re curious as to what your stay will look like, I did a tour of our cabin you can check out below…
Day 2: Echo Bluff, Round Spring, Current River and Montauk
Day 2 may seem a bit packed, but these parks are small and easy to explore.
Start the morning off by watching the sunrise over Echo Bluff. The view is stunning. Then hop in the car and drive to your first location, Round Spring. The trail is short and simple, and arriving early may mean you’ll have the place to yourself.
After you’ve soaked in the park, drive down to Current River. This park is where everything leads back to, and it’s really something to see up close.
If you find more time, I highly recommend taking a float trip through the river. There’s lots to see and it can easily take up to two days to do it all.
Next, journey to Montauk State Park for lunch and a bit of exploring. You don’t have to be a fisher to have fun, although it certainly does help.
Once you’ve had your fill, journey back to Echo Bluff to catch the sunset.
Day 3: Echo Bluff, Blue Spring, Big Spring, Mark Twain National Forest and Alley Mill and Spring
Much like day two, day three will seem packed, but it’s quite manageable.
From Echo Bluff, start the morning with a trip to Blue Spring. It’s a short trail, similar to Round Spring, but very pretty.
From there, we’ll head to Big Spring. This is a park that could easily take an hour plus to explore. The trail is much longer, with several viewpoints. There’s a reason we started small.
The Mark Twain National Forest looks awfully far away, but we’re just looking for the scenic drive. Keep your eyes peeled for highway signs, or just ask a local.
Afterward, it’s time to head to nearby Eminence for lunch. I highly recommend the Dairy Shack.
Now that you’re fueled up, our final stop of the day is Alley Spring and Mill. This park is stunning, so move slowly to take it all in. There’s a loop trail option that will take you through the prettiest parts of the park.
Afterward, back to Echo Bluff. It might be worth walking a trail or two if you have the energy,
Day 3: Echo Bluff, Laura Ingalls Wilder Home, Osceola, Kansas City
Today, it’s time to say goodbye to the Echo Bluff Lodge, and start the journey back to Kansas City. If you loved Ha Ha Tonka, you could go back the way you came. But if you’d like to squeeze a bit more into the trip, we’ll take a different route.
About an hour in, you’ll arrive in Mansfield to visit the Laura Ingalls Wilder Home and Museum. It’s a stop worth spending some time in. I suggest leaving Echo Bluff in the morning to allow for visiting time and a lunch break.
Once you’re back on the road, our final stop to break up the trip will be in Osceola. More specifically, the Osceola Cheese Co. They have hundreds of cheese options, and as silly as it is, it’s a fun stop.
There you have it, folks! A fun, Missouri state parks four day road trip. You’ll see the best of the best, in addition to a few fun (and admittedly, ridiculous) stops along the way.
Did this post inspire you to take a Missouri state parks road trip? Let me know in the comments!
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