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view from a raised platform at a state park near st joseph missouriThe Missouri State Park System was launched all the way back in 1917. Today it encompasses over 150,000 acres and incorporates more than 90 state and historic sites.

Boasting a huge network of scenic trails which meander past jagged cliffs, bosky forests, rampaging rivers and picturesque meadows, this system is often ranked in the top four state parks systems in the whole of the USA.

To support its breathtaking terrain, these state parks also proudly convey notable sites and landmarks of massive cultural relevance, as well as some very fine examples of historic architecture.

Every year, millions of visitors from the USA, and tourists from all over the world, head to these stunning public recreational areas to partake in a range of recreational outdoor pursuits. This includes hiking, swimming, fishing, canoeing, kayaking, horseback riding and biking in the summer months. As well as snowmobiling and cross-country skiing in the winter.

For those who live in St Joseph, within the county seat of Buchanan County, these nature preserves and conservation areas provide wonderful opportunities to explore the great outdoors.

Should this be something you would like to do, below is a selection of 5 state parks near St Joseph that are well worth heading to.

Map of State Parks Near St Joseph, MO

Here is a map of the state parks in Missouri covered by this post:

List of State Parks Near St Joseph

All five of the state parks near St Joseph highlighted below are just a couple of hours drive from the city, which means they are perfect destinations for a day trip.

That said, should you want to spend a few days or more at any of them, they all provide various forms of camping facilities for guests to use as well.

1. Weston Bend State Park

Location: 16600 MO-45, Weston, MO 64098

Situated just 35 mins south of St Joseph the Weston Bend State Park enjoys a picturesque location nestled on the east bank of the Missouri River.

Covering 1,133 acres this stunning public recreation space boasts comely river views, as well as plenty of paved and unpaved scenic trails that are great both hiking and biking.

A terrific base to visit Kansas City, which is also just a 30 minute drive away, this state park provides a nice playground for kids to enjoy, as well as several secluded picnic sites. While the river is a good spot for fishing, canoeing and kayaking.

Overall, the park offers 37 campsites that are a mix of basic and electric sites. Booking is essential as they tend to fill up fast.

2. Long Branch State Park

Location: 28615 Visitor Center Rd, Macon, MO 63552

Over in Macon, a 2 hour drive east of St Joseph resides the splendid Long Branch State Park.

If you love water sports then this is a great place for you to come, as its 1,828 acres are located right next to the Long Branch Reservoir.

Offering three boat ramps, this is a wonderful place to fish. Whilst activities like canoeing, kayaking, jet-skiing and paddle boarding are popular too.

Long Branch also has a charming swimming beach, in addition to several areas that are perfect for family or romantic picnics.

For those who enjoy hiking, a number of trails will guide you through the enchanting Chariton River Hills Natural Area, along to prairies which are full of the most beautiful wildflowers you could ever wish to see when in bloom.

Overnight accommodation here takes the form of basic and electric campsites. In addition, there is also a special-use camping area, as well as several basic walk-in campsites.

3. Harry S. Truman State Park

Location: 28761 State park Road West, Warsaw, MO 65355

If you make the one hour drive south from St Josephs to the Harry S. Truman State Park, you will be rewarded with a tremendous landscape of imposing bluffs, sparkling crystal waters and stunning foliage.

Set within 1,440-acres, this wonderful park resides on a peninsula around Truman Lake. Taking the form of an impoundment of the Osage River, this state park features a fantastic marina which renders it a prime spot for fishing and boating.

Many people swim here too, while those who enjoy hiking like to tackle some of the many trails which guide them along picturesque, woodland areas, that highlight an eye catching range of flora and fauna.

This state park offers plenty of accommodation. With no less than six campgrounds providing a full gamut of overnight camping options.

4. Wallace State Park

Location: 10621 MO-121, Cameron, MO 64429

Just 45 minutes east of St Joseph’s lies the 502 acre Wallace State Park.

Known for being an island of serenity, this park has a 6-acre lake that is an excellent spot for fishing, swimming and boating. It also has four scenic trails which provide benches to sit and relax on along the way. Several scenic picnic spots are also scattered around the area, while there is also a playground for children to enjoy.

The campground here is family oriented and provides both basic and electric campsites for visitors. Should you want a bit more in the way of seclusion, however, walk-in campsites are available. While there is also a special-use camping area that is specifically designated for group camping.

In terms of facilities, all camping areas here come with a fire ring, vault toilet, pedestal grill, picnic tables and water spigot.

5. Knob Noster State Park

Location: 873 SE 10 Rd, Knob Noster, MO 65336

About a 2 hour drive south east of St Joseph’s you’ll find the Knob Noster State Park.

Encompassing 3,394 acres, the park is renowned for its gorgeous landscape of verdant prairie and stunning oak tree forest, which lay on either side of the picturesque Clearfork Creek.

A popular spot for fishing, hiking, photography, mountain biking, horseback riding and wildlife spotting, the area is characterised by an oxbow slough, and has been identified as a Pin Oak Slough Natural Area.

The campground here provides plenty of accommodation options, which range from electric and basic sites to family campsites. In addition, there are also two organised group camps, and two backpack camps onsite too.