Are you looking for a change of pace? Visit one of the local state parks near Kansas City, Missouri, for an adventure close to home.
When the weather is warm, you can lay out in the sun and explore nature or wildlife. Some of these state parks even provide horseback riding trails for you and your horse.
Missouri makes all of its parks free to enter to encourage visitors to take time to relax whenever they need. However, camping at the parks does require a fee to use the abundant amenities available.
Take some time to learn about this great state’s history and the beauty available to travelers. Here are the top state parks near Kansas City ready to help make your next vacation memorable.
Map of State Parks Near Kansas City MO
Here is a map of the Missouri state parks covered in this post:
List of State Parks Near Kansas City
Here are each of those state parks with distance from Kansas City and what is special about each.
1. Watkins Mill State Park
Location: 26600 Park Road North, Lawson, MO 64062
About thirty miles away from Kansas City, visit Watkins Mill State Park for camping, hiking, picnicking, fishing, and swimming. On a hot, sunny day, the sandy swimming beach is a popular destination, and a changing house are closeby.
The park is home to a diverse range of wildlife and vegetation such as white-tailed deer, wild turkeys, and a diverse range of bird species only found in northern Missouri.
The park is home to the Watkins Woolen Mill State Historic Site, a three-story woolen mill that is North America’s sole 19th-century textile mill with its original machinery still in place.
When you finish viewing the mill, head out to the fishing dock and a boat-launching located on a 100-acre lake. The azure waterways are teeming with bass, catfish, crappie, and sunfish.
Explore the gorgeous park on land by boat, foot, or horse for time out in the wilderness.
There are 96 campsites at Watkins Mill, with 74 having electric hookups. Try one of the park’s family campsites if you need a bit more space.
Campers with disabilities have access to five sites and a special-use camping area for youth groups. The advantage of this campground is the ability to reserve a spot a year in advance along with the impressive landscapes.
2. Weston Bend State Park
Location: 16600 MO-45, Weston, MO 64098
About thirty miles northwest from the city, you will find the Weston Bend State Park ready to get you out of daily life and into a relaxed mode.
This park has several picnic areas, picnic shelters, and camping areas perfect for solitude for one, two, or an entire family. The woodland park is traversed by hiking trails, paved hiking, and bicycle trails so you can connect with nature.
The most expansive views of the Missouri River in the state can be found at a scenic overlook. The park’s location along a forested river corridor makes it ideal for bird watching, particularly during spring and fall migration.
A playground, an open shelter, an enclosed shelter, and a campground with modern facilities and hot showers are all available. Some of the trails are marked with smart information, all are tree-lined and many a view of the water.
Find plenty of camping options at Weston Bend, including tents, tent cabins, and RV Sites. Bathrooms with showers and water are nearby all of the campsites in a loop walkable to the day-use area.
Interpretive programs on weekends provide a fun activity for children if they are done hiking the many trails or playing at the playground.
3. Lewis and Clark State Park
Location: 801 Lakecrest Blvd, Rushville, MO 64484
With a name like Lewis and Clark State Park, you know this state park offers plenty of history ready to improve your understanding of the world. In fact, in 1904, William Clark characterized the area around the lake as “overrun with geese and goslings,” making it a memorable location for a holiday about 50 northwest of Kansas City.
With over a mile of pathways and the lake, you can enjoy the quiet solitude of the landscape.
The park offers more animals than just geese, as it’s home to a wide range of other wild animals, including white-tailed deer, foxes, coyotes, and hundreds of bird and waterfowl species. Lewis and Clark State Park has everything, whether you’re looking for RV camping, boating, hiking, picnicking, or fishing.
In addition, throughout the summer months, interpretative activities are held at the visitor center at the lake.
Take your RV or tent along to enjoy the park properly. With well-kept and paved roads and campsites with driveways, this park tops the charts and allows you to reserve a year out.
Near the camping area, you will find plenty of grills and picnic tables surrounded by stately trees adding to the ambiance. After visiting this park, follow the Lewis and Clark Trail through sixteen states and almost 5,000 miles.
4. Wallace State Park
Location: 10621 MO-121, Cameron, MO 64429
Wallace State Park, located less than an hour northeast of Kansas City, provides a tranquil haven for outdoor enthusiasts.
Visitors can fish in the park’s 6-acre lake or relax on one of the park’s four picturesque walks, including benches. You can swim, boat, or fish on the six-acre Lake Allaman, hike on one of the five different trails, or simply relax and listen to the wildlife from your RV or tent.
Visitors will spend their days out on the dirt trails hiking in one of the park’s four gorgeous paths for fitness. Enjoy the quiet on the benches along the trails and take in the sights, sounds, and slower pace of nature.
Picnic areas are scattered around the park, providing a tranquil setting for lunch. Larger groups can reserve an open picnic shelter with a view of the lake or an enclosed shelter with a range, refrigerator, and hot water.
Camp for a few nights at one of over eighty family-friendly campsites available, perfect for seasoned campers or first-timers. Wallace State Park includes some essential conveniences, such as flush toilets, hot showers, and some campsites even have electricity.
In addition, tree-shaded picnic areas around the campground improve the environment as well as contemporary facilities, playgrounds, and hot showers for the whole family.
5. Knob Noster State Park
Location: 873 SE 10 Rd, Knob Noster, MO 65336
While a little farther away at seventy miles, Knob Noster State Park offers a peaceful place for city dwellers to relax. With over 3,000 acres on both sides of a meandering creek, the park has an intriguing combination of prairie, savannah, and forest.
A number of tiny lakes in the park cater to anglers and non-motorized boaters. Picnic areas dot the lakeside, and three open picnic shelters provide a calm environment for group gatherings.
Several paths, including an equestrian and an all-terrain bicycle trail, coil through the park for adventurous visitors. Hiking out to one of the savanna restoration zones and looking for the park’s many bird species will appeal to budding naturalists.
The natural beauty of Pin Oak Slough Natural Area along Clearfork Creek provides unparalleled beauty to make a relaxing holiday.
For guests who want to spend more than a few hours here, camping is provided with options for basic or electric campsites, many of which are family-friendly. In addition, a woodland campground with modern restrooms, hot showers, laundry facilities, and a dumping station is available.
Sleeping cabins, a dining hall and kitchen, modern restrooms, and showers make the park even more enjoyable, as well as a swimming pool and other outdoor recreation amenities for groups or any visitor.