The Ultimate Guide to RV Camping in Missouri

Travel Inspiration

Missouri is a wonderful state that is definitely worth checking out. And our favorite way to see the state? By RV camping in Missouri, of course! This gives you the freedom to stay absolutely anywhere in comfort, and makes it easy to hop from one awesome place to another so you can see more of the state. 

Of course, you will need to do a bit of planning before RV camping in Missouri, and you might need a bit of help doing so. This is where our state guide comes into play. Read on to learn everything you need to know to plan an excellent Missouri RV trip. 

Preparing for RV Camping

Before you do anything else, you will want to make sure you have everything you need to enjoy RV camping in Missouri. This includes an RV, of course, but also all the things you need to put into the RV. 

Choosing the Right RV for Your Needs

If you will be choosing from one of our Missouri RV rentals, you may be wondering how to go about choosing the right rig for your needs. There are a few questions you can ask yourself to make the process an easier one.

These include:

  • Do I want to drive an RV, or would I rather have it delivered? 
  • If driving, do I want to tow a trailer or drive a motorhome?
  • If towing, can my vehicle handle a trailer big enough for my family?
  • How many people does the RV need to sleep?
  • What size campsite does the RV need to fit into?
  • What amenities do I need to have, and which can I live without?
  • What items would I like included with my RV rental? 

Once you know these things, you should be able to pick an RV fairly easily, so you can continue on to the next step of preparing. 

Packing Essentials for a Successful Trip

What is the next step? Packing, of course! Some RVs will include some essential camping items, but others won’t include anything at all. Make sure you know what your rental includes so you can determine which things on this list are things you need to pack:

  • Clothes
  • Toiletries
  • Medications
  • First aid kit
  • Bug spray and sunscreen 
  • Tools
  • Entertainment (books, games, movies, toys for kids)
  • Outdoor recreation gear
  • Electronics and chargers
  • Pots, pans, and dishes
  • Paper towels
  • Groceries
  • Flashlights
  • Folding chairs
  • Bed sheets
  • Pillows
  • Blankets
  • Pet gear
  • RV leveling blocks
  • Sewer hose and adapter
  • Freshwater hose
  • RV surge protector

While this list includes all of the most important items, it definitely doesn’t include everything you could possibly want. For more suggestions of things to pack, check out this RV packing list.

Road you might drive while RV camping in Missouri

Considerations for Camping in Missouri

Before you cross state lines, it’s important to know the state laws surrounding RVing. Fortunately, these are pretty basic in Missouri, but since it never hurts to be informed, we’ve outlined the key points below. 

In Missouri, no rig (tow vehicle and all) should ever be more than 65 feet long. This is true even if you are triple towing, which is allowed in the state. Trailers shouldn’t exceed 45 feet in length and motorhome limits are the same. Additionally, no RV should be more than 8.5 feet wide and 13.5 feet tall. 

Overnight parking is allowed in Missouri state rest areas, meaning it’s pretty easy to find a place for a quick overnight stop. 

Finding Campgrounds

Of course, you don’t want to spend your entire trip hopping from one rest area to the next. You will need to find a campground to stay in. The good news? Missouri has options. Whether you prefer luxury camping or rustic camping, camping in the middle of nowhere or urban camping, you will find something that you love. 

Exploring Public Campgrounds in Missouri

Let’s start by talking about the many public campgrounds in the state. In Missouri these include state park campgrounds, campgrounds run by the National Park Service, and national forest campsites. 

National Park Camping

Missouri is home to several national park sites including the famous Gateway Arch National Park (which is a must-see). That said, the only NPS site that allows RV camping is Ozark National Scenic Riverways

The campgrounds in Ozark National Scenic Riverways are:

  • Big Spring Campground
  • Pulltite Campground
  • Round Spring Campground
  • Alley Spring Campground
  • Two Rivers Campground

Some of these offer electrical hookups, dump stations, and/or potable water, but not all do. Be sure to do your research before you head out!

National Forest Camping

There’s also the option of camping in Missouri’s Mark Twain National Forest. This is an excellent way to really escape into nature and surround yourself with natural beauty. 

A favorite national forest campground for RVers is Cobb Ridge Campgrounds. This place is used by a lot of off-roaders, but anyone is welcome to join the fun. Some sites are primitive, others have some hookups, but all are clean and well maintained.

State Park Camping

Want to check out Missouri’s state parks? You won’t be disappointed. The state parks here are absolutely stunning and the recreation opportunities are endless. 

One of the best state parks for camping is Mark Twain State Park in Florida, MO. This gorgeous park is located on Mark Twain Lake, making it perfect for fishing, boating, and swimming. There are hiking trails through the trees, and of course, plenty of campsites, many with electric hookups. 

Exploring Private Campgrounds and RV Parks

Private RV parks are also an option and are sometimes the best choice. From glamping resorts to simple campgrounds with little more than hookups and dump stations, you’re sure to find a private park that suits your needs and budget. 

One of our favorite private RV parks in Missouri is Blue Springs Ranch. This beautiful resort is about an hour outside of St. Louis, so day trips to the city are easy peasy. The campground itself features easy access to the Meramec River, an onsite waterpark, a playground, and more. 

Boondocking in Missouri

Of course, you could also skip the campgrounds entirely and choose boondocking in Missouri instead. There are a few wonderful places to do this and it will definitely save you money. 

Some of the best boondocking sites in the state are the two campgrounds in the Montrose Wildlife Management Area. These sites are located near a creek and within an excellent place to go birdwatching. Of course, the price is pretty fantastic as well! 

Researching Campground Options and Making Reservations

The campgrounds we’ve mentioned so far are great, but they are definitely not the only great options. If you want more choices, we recommend looking at Hipcamp, RoverPass, The Dyrt, BookOutdoors, and Campspot for more ideas. For unique stays, consider Harvest Hosts!

St. Louis, MO

Planning Your Itinerary

Now it’s time to decide what you want to do while RV camping in Missouri. From the excitement of Kansas City and St. Louis to the relaxing beauty found out in the state’s rural areas, there really is something for everyone in this state. Which ways will you explore? 

Features and Attractions in Missouri

We love to drive scenic byways, and the gorgeous scenic byways in Missouri are no exception. Try a drive along Crowley’s Ridge Scenic Byway or Ozark Mountain Parkway for lovely views and good times. 

Obviously, you’ll also want to see some of Missouri’s landmarks. The Gateway Arch in St. Louis is an obvious one, but we also recommend adding The Mark Twain Boyhood Home and/or Graham Cave.

Of course, you should also have some national park sites on your list of things to do in Missouri. The two we’ve mentioned so far are awesome, but so are George Washington Carver National Monument and Harry S. Truman National Historic Site. 

Festivals, Fairs, and Events in Missouri

The best way to make your vacation extra memorable? Add an event to your itinerary! There are lots of wonderful events that happen on an annual basis in Missouri, so finding one to add to your trip plan should be simple. 

Some of the best annual events the state has to offer include the Fair Saint Louis in Gateway Arch National Park during July, the Annual Missouri Day Festival in North Central Missouri Fairgrounds during October, and the Ozark Empire Fair in Springfield during July and August. 

Exploring Outdoor Activities

Obviously, spending some time outdoors while RV camping in Missouri is a must. From fabulous hiking trails to some of the best fishing spots in the country, finding ways to enjoy the great outdoors is a cinch when in this state. 

Hiking, Biking and Nature Trails

The maze of trails that winds its way through Missouri is an impressive one. Be sure to don your boots or grab your bike and then take advantage of those trails while RV camping in Missouri. 

For hikers, some of the best trails include the following:

Prefer to bike? Try the trails listed below:

If none of these trails seems quite right for you, don’t fret. Just head over to AllTrails, input your criteria, and see what gems the site pulls up for you. 

Fishing, Boating, and Water Activities

Want to enjoy some of Missouri’s bodies of water? There are several good ones, and whether you enjoy fishing, boating, swimming, or chasing waterfalls, you’re sure to find one you love. 

For the anglers out there, there are many amazing fishing spots in Missouri. These include places like Table Rock Lake—which is often touted as one of the best bass fishing spots in the country—and Roark Creek near Branson for excellent fly fishing. 

The swimmers in your group will appreciate that Missouri also has its fair share of great beaches. The sandy beach in Long Branch State Park is one of our top picks. We love the soft, golden sands and the warm shallow waters that are ideal for families with kids. 

Prefer to chase waterfalls? Fortunately, Missouri is home to some pretty good falls. We recommend heading to Meramec State Park and checking out Meramec Falls for a truly spectacular sight. 

Wildlife Viewing and Photography

Many people like to check out the local fauna while RV camping in Missouri. Honestly, if you spend enough time in the state parks and national forest, you’re likely to see a number of animals. That said, those who are serious about finding critters should head to Loess Bluffs National Wildlife Refuge, Pickle Springs Natural Area, or Big Muddy National Fish and Wildlife Refuge. 

Family-Friendly Activities and Attractions

Missouri is a wonderful state for a family vacation, and many of the attractions mentioned above would be excellent for people of all areas. That said, there are some activities that are particularly family-friendly that we feel we should mention in this section. 

Historical Sites and Museums

We will always recommend sneaking a little education into your family vacations. In Missouri this is very easy to do, thanks to the many historic sites and museums the state has to offer. 

One of our favorite roadschooling history lessons in the state is found at the Ulysses S. Grant National Historic Site. Meanwhile, we love the many learning opportunities found in the museums listed below:

  • City Museum in St. Louis
  • Missouri History Museum in St. Louis
  • Saint Louis Art Museum in St. Louis
  • St. Louis Science Center in St. Louis
  • The Magic House in St. Louis
  • National WWI Museum and Memorial in Kansas City
  • Arabia Steamboat Museum in Kansas City
  • TITANIC Museum Attraction in Branson

Amusement Parks, Zoos, and Wildlife Refuges

Looking for a day of non-stop fun for the whole family? Why not head to one of Missouri’s amusement parks? The state has a few excellent ones to choose from, including Silver Dollar City in Branson, Six Flags St. Louis in St. Louis, and Worlds of Fun in Kansas City. 

Of course, zoos are also an awesome pick for families with kids. The St. Louis Zoo is one of the best in the country and is totally free to enter. We also love the Kansas City Zoo and Aquarium. 

Tornado in Missouri

Safety and Preparedness when RV Camping in Missouri

You will definitely want to head into your trip safely. Packing a first aid kit and driving carefully are two great ways to go about this. It can also be a good idea to go in knowing what kinds of natural disasters might strike and what kinds of wild animals you might run into.

Weather Conditions and Natural Disaster Preparedness

The most common natural disasters in Missouri are earthquakes and tornadoes. 

Unfortunately, there isn’t a whole lot you can do to prepare for earthquakes. That said, RVs are actually made to shift and absorb energy while being driven down the road, meaning they are actually pretty good at withstanding earthquakes to a certain point. If you’re in your rig when an earthquake strikes, simply stay indoors and away from heavy light fixtures and windows. 

When it comes to tornadoes, you will want to prepare by downloading a weather app with push notifications so you are notified if a tornado watch or warning is issued. Pack a “bug out” bag with a flashlight, first aid kit, hand-crank radio, and water bottles, and always know where the nearest tornado shelter is. If a tornado warning is issued for your area, head immediately to the shelter. 

Wildlife Encounters and Precautions

Copperhead snakes and black widow spiders are the animals that are most likely to hurt you during your time in Missouri. Avoid these critters by watching your step and looking before you put your hand in small spaces. 

The state is also home to black bears and coyotes, and while these animals are unlikely to bother you, it doesn’t hurt to make plenty of noise while hiking to scare them off. If you do happen across a bear or a coyote, back away slowly, using bear spray for defense only if the animal chases or charges you. 

More Inspiration for Your Missouri Travels

Yep, RV camping in Missouri is a fantastic way to vacation, and we’ve given you a number of excellent choices in terms of attractions. That said, these are far from the only things to do in the state. For even more of our top picks, be sure to check out the links below: