7 Incredible National Parks in Missouri

Last updated on July 31st, 2023 at 05:44 am.

Whether you’re a seasoned adventurer or just looking for a weekend getaway, National Parks in Missouri provide the perfect backdrop for your next outdoor excursion.

From lush forests and rolling hills to glittering lakes and winding rivers, Missouri’s state parks offer a paradise of adventure and natural beauty. Whether you are looking for a great hike, fish excursion, or want to plan a camping trip, Missouri National Parks are the perfect escape to recharge and connect with nature.

So grab your hiking boots, pack your picnic basket, and join us on a journey through some of the most breathtaking parks in the Show-Me State!

National Parks in Missouri You Must Visit

Exploring Missouri’s Natural Wonders: 7 Must-Visit National Parks

The National Parks located in Missouri include the Gateway Arch National Park (formerly Jefferson National Expansion Memorial), Ozark National Scenic Riverway, George Washington Carver National Monument, Harry S. Truman National Historic Site, Ulysses S. Grant National Historic Site, Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield, and Ste. Genevieve National Historic Park. 

Map of Missouri National Parks

National Parks in Missouri Map

7 Incredible National Parks in Missouri

With each national park offering a different experience, visitors can enjoy everything from exploring historic sites to discovering hidden waterfalls and hiking through rugged terrain.

With so many things to do in Missouri’s national parks, visitors can enjoy a variety of outdoor activities including hiking, fishing, boating, camping, and wildlife watching.

The Gateway Arch National Park 

Gateway Arch
Photo Credit: National Park Service

Park location: Fourth Street between Market and Chestnut streets, St. Louis, MO 63102 

The Gateway Arch National Park is a 91-acre park that was originally established as Jefferson National Expansion Memorial in 1935 but underwent a name change in February of 2018.

Included in the park are the Gateway Arch, the Arch Museum, and St. Louis’ Old Courthouse. Historically, this Missouri National Park commemorates the Louisana Purchas, the first civil government west of the Mississippi, and the Slavery debate.

The Old Courthouse was the site of the first two trials of the Dred Scott case and is listed in the National Park Service’s National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom. As of February 2022 though, the Old Courthouse is temporarily closed for renovations. 

The Gateway Arch, known as the Gateway to the West, sits on the west bank of the Mississippi River in St. Louis, Missouri and a one-of-a-kind tram system takes visitors to the top of the 630-foot structure. Between the two legs of the Arch, you will find

The Museum at the Gateway Arch

The museum contains six galleries:

  • Colonial St. Louis, where you can explore the indigenous and Creole culture of St. Louis before the Lousiana Purchase and how St. Louis became an affluent cultural hub.
  • Jefferson’s Vision, where you can learn more of what Thomas Jefferson envisioned for the West and how the Lewis and Clark Expedition was an integral part of his vision for the country.
  • Manifest Destiny, where you can learn the motivations behind the United States’ expansion westward.
  • The Riverfront Era, where you will explore the ways the steamboats changed St. Louis forever.
  • New Frontiers, where you can find why St. Louis was ranked as a top city of manufacturing in the late 1800s.
  • Building the Arch, where you can see how American freight shifted from the river to the railroad and the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial Association sponsored a competition to bring more life back to the riverfront.

When you visit the Gateway Arch National Park, plan to spend around $15 for entrance into the National Park and the tram ride to the top of the arch. When you visit the museum in the Visitor Center, you can also check out the Monument to the Dream film, the Arch store, and the Arch cafe.

For more information on the park and the arch visit: www.nps.gov/ and www.gatewayarch.com/ 

Harry S. Truman National Historic Site 

Truman’s Home in Independence at 219 North Delaware Street

Location: 219 North Delaware Street (Truman Home), Independence, MO 64050

The Harry S. Truman National Historic Site is part of the Harry S. Truman Historic District located in Independence, Missouri

This site preserves the memory of the 33rd president of the United States and includes Truman’s Home, the Wallace Home, and the Noland House. The Truman Farm Home in Grandview, Missouri is also part of the National Historic Site.

You can stop in at the Truman Home visitor center, from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, and get a ticket for a guided tour of the Truman home that take place between 9:00 a.m. and 4:45 p.m. Tickets are free but limited.

The Truman home is closed on Mondays between Labor Day and Memorial Day.

The Noland Home, located on 216 North Delaware Street is open Wednesdays-Sundays from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

The Truman Farm Home (12301 Blue Ridge Blvd, Grandview, MO 64030) is open for tours on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday between Memorial Day and Labor Day. The farm grounds are open daily for free ranger led tours.

For more information, visit the park’s website www.nps.gov/hstr or call (816) 254-2720 to speak with a park ranger. 

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Ozark National Scenic Riverways 

Ozark Scenic Byway
Photo Credit: National Park Service

Park location: Ozark National Scenic Riverways, 404 Watercress Drive PO Box 490, Van Buren, MO 

The Ozark Nation Scenic Riverways was established in 1964 and protects 134 miles of the Current and Jacks Forks Rivers. It is the first national park to protect a river system. You can float the rivers and visit historic sites including Alley Mill, Big Spring, and Round Spring.

Jon boating, canoeing, swimming, tubing, fishing, hiking, and even hunting are popular recreational activities to take part in while spending time near these freshwater springs.

Inside the park, there are 318 miles of roads, 14 miles of horse trails, and 48 miles of foot trails. The park also includes a 8.5-mile section of the Ozark Trail.

Ozark National Scenic Riverways Camping

For those who enjoy camping, the most expensive campsites will range from $19 for electric sites and as little as $5 for more primitive sites.

For camping families and groups, Alley, Big Spring, Round Spring, and Two rivers cost $100 per night for group tent areas, and Chubb Hollow and Akers Group Site cost $50.

Cities surrounding the park may also offer private campgrounds and more information can be found on their Chamber of Commerce pages. Anyone interested in reserving campsites can visit www.recreation.gov or call 1-877-444-6777. 

The Ozark National Scenic Riverways is open year-round and since there is no true visitor center, Alley Mill is open in the summer and the park headquarters in Van Buren is open year-round. If you would like more information about the Ozark National Scenic Riverways, you can visit www.nps.gov/

George Washington Carver National Monument 

George Washington Carver National Monument
Photo Credit: National Park Service

Park location: 5646 Carver Road, Diamond, MO 64840 

The George Washington Carver National Monument was commissioned by President Franklin Roosevelt and established in 1943.

It was one of the first monuments in the history of the country that was dedicated to a black American. The 200+ acres hold George Washington Carver’s boyhood home, as well as that of the Moses Carver house and Carver cemetery. The park serves as a memorial to George Washington Carver’s accomplishments as an agronomist, educator, and humanitarian.

You will find nature trails, a museum, and interactive exhibits.

Guided tours are offered daily between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. The park is open from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. daily but is closed on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day.

The park has an information desk as well as a park store, museum, restrooms, theater and discovery area.

There is no lodging offered on the grounds of this National Park but Diamond and Joplin, Missouri are not far away.

For more information, visit the park’s website at https://www.nps.gov/gwca or call (417) 325-4151 to speak to a park ranger. 

Ulysses S. Grant National Historic Site 

White haven at the Ulysses S Grant National Historic Site
Photo Credit: National Park Service

Park Location: 7400 Grant Road, St. Louis, MO 63123 

Established in 1979, the Ulysses S. Grant National Historic Site is located on 10 acres southwest of St. Louis, Missouri. The site memorializes Ulysses S. Grant, the Civil War general credited with saving the Union. He also served as the 18th President of the United States.

There are five historic structures on the site, called White Haven, including his two-story residence, a horse stable, ice house, chicken house, and stone building known as the summer kitchen.

The park is open year-round from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., except for Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Years Day. Visits to the main house are offered every half hour starting at 9:30 a.m.

Inside the visitor center, you can view an informational film, explore the museum, and visit the store. There are no lodging accommodations on the site but nearby Grantwood Village provides lodging options.

For more information, visit the park’s website www.nps.gov/ulsg or call (314) 842-1867 to speak to a park ranger. 

Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield 

Wilsons Creek NationalBattlefield
Photo Credit: National Park Service

Park location: 5242 S. State Hwy ZZ, Republic, MO 65738 

Established in 1960, Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield is located on 1,750 acres about 10 miles southwest of Springfield, Missouri. The park was established in remembrance of the first major Civil War battle fought west of the Mississippi. The park includes hiking trails, horseback riding trails, and a five-mile driving tour loop.

While visiting, you can check out the 1852 Ray House and “Bloody Hill” where the major battle took place. The visitor center hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., seven days a week.

The museum is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week except during the colder months of November, December, January, February, and March. The Library can be visited from 9:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. and 1:00 p.m.-4:00 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday.

Entrance to the park ranges from $10 to $20 for anyone over the age of 16. Children 15 years of age and younger may enter for free. The receipt for entry is good for 7 days, however, an annual park pass can be purchased for $35. 

The park does not provide any accommodations but nearby Republic and Springfield, Missouri have plenty of lodging options.

For more information, visit the park’s website www.nps.gov/wicr or call (417) 732-2662 to speak to a ranger. 

Ste. Genevieve National Historic Park 

Ste Genevieve National Historic Park
Photo Credit: National Park Service

Park location: 66 South Main Street, Ste. Genevieve, MO 63670 

The Ste. Genevieve National Historic Park is the 422 National Park Site to be established and it is one of the newest in the park system, added in October 2020. The site preserves the story of the early French settlement in North America.

The park is a historic district in Ste. Genevieve, Missouri, the town that served as the capitol of Spanish and French Louisiana during the colonial period. The historic buildings on the site include Beauvais-Amoureux House and the Jean Baptiste Vallé House. 

The park is open from 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. daily except for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day. Since the park is still being developed, guided tours of the Amoureux House are being offered Friday through Sunday from May to September.

For more information on this developing National Park, visit the park’s website www.nps.gov/stge or call (573) 880-7189.

Taking in the National Parks that Missouri has to offer will undoubtedly whet the appetite of the outdoor enthusiast and history buff alike. Many are free or budget friendly and some offer tours, trails, and even camping.

Planning ahead as much as possible will avoid ticket headaches and missed tours.

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