Travel Challenge: Visiting Every State and National Park in Missouri

2020 meant a serious readjustment of all of our travel plans. I had set on visiting Peru and Europe that year, but instead I stayed close to home. Through road tripping Missouri, I discovered some lovely state and national parks I wouldn’t have trekked to otherwise.

I was born in Missouri and yet my list of popular state site visits was shamefully low. As I started traipsing through various state and national parks, I decided to see just how many my home state had to offer and visit them all.

Visiting Every State and National Park in Missouri

How Many National Parks Does Missouri Have?

Based on this website, Missouri has seven national parks. So far, I’ve explored four; Gateway Arch, George Washington Carver National Monument, Ozark Scenic Riverways and Ste. Genevieve Historic Site.

What remains are the homes of two former U.S. Presidents, Harry S Truman and Ulysses S. Grant, and Wilson Creek National Battlefield.

I was feeling prett good after reading this. I only had three national parks to visit, so surely my list of state parks in Missouri would go just as well.

Visiting Blue Spring State Park in the Fall
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How Many State Parks Does Missouri Have?

Missouri has 92 state and historic sites, according to Wikipedia. So… I was way off.

For simplicity’s sake, I’m sticking to the 58 state parks the state has. My number here is a lowly seven that I’ve visited. I’m sure there are several I hit up when I was a kid, but I’m not going to count vague memories here. Criteria for this is ideally within the last ten years. And in the last decade, it appears I’ve only seen seven of Missouri’s state parks.

Visiting Big Spring National Park in the Fall
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The 19 Largest Springs in Missouri

This bonus category was created during a recent visit to Roaring River State Park. Roaring River has Roaring Spring, which is tied for the 19th spot on Missouri’s list of largest springs.

Scrolling through the list, I realized I had already visited several major springs, including the #1, Big Spring.

My total exploration count for the 20 (remember two springs are tied for 19) largest springs in Missouri sits at eight currently. This is oddly the category I’m most excited to complete. Most of my favorite adventures in the state involve a trip to a spring. So it only makes sense that the best is yet to come.

30 Photos to Inspire You to Visit Missouri's State Parks
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What's My Timeline?

Great question! I don’t really have one. If the pandemic has taught me one thing, it’s that travel plans can change at a moment’s notice. So I’m in no rush to check these places off of my list. 

I’ve also found that I can appreciate a place more when I’m not trying to speed through it. Taking in the pretty scenery of Missouri will take time. I’m willing to take as long as it takes.

Plus, with road trips looking like the best and safest form of travel for the time being, I’ll have quite a few opportunities to do a bit of exploring. I’m excited to start planning some routes and seeing what I can find.

What About Your State?

If you’re itching to do some traveling, see what your own state has to offer. I’d love to hear where you’re inspired to visit in the comments below!

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Pin visiting every state and national park in Missouri

Safe travels!

-Maggie

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Eugene Stanton

the magic of visiting missouri springs has not worn off on 50+ years,thanks for the reminder of their incredible beauty

Pam

What fun! I love State Parks and as I’m visiting all the counties in my state I’m trying to check off the State Parks too – they are always a wonderful day.

Natalie

Such a great idea! I’ve thought about doing the same for Iowa! I’ve spent my whole life here and have explored hardly any!

Natalie

I love this challenge! I’m from Illinois and I think I’ve visited almost all the parks worth visiting here. But I’d love to explore the ones of nearby states this summer, especially Michigan!

Kristin

I think this is a great idea. Now that I have kids, I’m realizing more and more what a gem national and state parks are. We try to visit them wherever we go. Now we’re in a brand-new state for us (South Carolina) and can’t wait to get out and start exploring.

Janelle

I had no idea Missouri had so many beautiful state parks, now it’s definitely on my bucket list to visit!

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