Every state is unique and has different characteristics, from the giant peaks of Colorado to the beautiful forests of Washington. Wherever you are in the United States, you are probably just a short distance from one of the thousands of state parks.

According to America’s State Parks, “State parks are important for many reasons including economic value to the communities, health benefits to improve the quality of life, environmental protection and preservation of some of America’s most beautiful areas.” If you’ve never been to a state park or want to explore more of them, here are a few close to Springfield.

Pomme De Terre State Park

Just north of Springfield, Pomme De Terre Lake is a secluded lakergoer’s paradise. The large marina and various boat ramps make it easy to boat, tube, and fish for bass, walleye, catfish and muskie. Two public swimming beaches offer groups the perfect opportunity to take a dip or lounge by the water. The Cedar Bluff and Indian Point Trails will satisfy a lakegoer’s appetite for adventure. If you love camping, the park has around 240 campsites in the Pittsburg and Hermitage areas that can be reserved up to a year in advance.

1 hour from Springfield

Address: Hwy. 64B, Pittsburg, MO

Bennett Spring State Park


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If you’re looking for a refreshing retreat or a great fishing spot, Bennett Spring State Park is an anglers’ paradise. More than 100 million gallons of clear, cool water flow from Bennett Spring each day, regularly stocked with rainbow trout waiting for lucky fishers.

While fishing is the main attraction, the park also offers private cabins, campgrounds, hiking trails and a dining lodge, making it a great weekend retreat. 

1 hour from Springfield

Address: 26250 MO-64A, Lebanon, MO

Related Post: Take A Hike On These Ozarks Trails

Ha Ha Tonka State Park

With its fascinating history and outstanding geologic and architectural features, Ha Ha Tonka State Park is a must-see while you’re in the Ozarks. The park is a pathfinder’s wonderland featuring caves, a natural bridge, high cliffs, and a beautiful blue spring, the 12th largest in Missouri. The most striking part of this state park is the ruins of a turn-of-the-century castle that offer impressive views of the Lake of the Ozarks.

Visitors can explore the series of trails and boardwalks, and picnic sites beckon visitors for a relaxing lunch in a scenic setting.

1 hour and 20 minutes from Springfield

Address: 1491 Missouri D, Camdenton, MO

Roaring River State Park

Covering 4,294 acres eight miles south of Cassville in Barry County, Missouri, Roaring River State Park is a public recreation area perfect for fishing, hiking, camping and picnicking. Roaring River Spring originates in a deep canyon-like gorge beneath a high cliff. The water flows from the bluff into a beautiful deep blue pool below—an average of 20 million gallons of water gush from the spring daily. The state park offers trout fishing on the Roaring River, hiking on seven different trails, and learning opportunities at the Ozark Chinquapin Nature Center open seasonally.

1 hour and 20 minutes from Springfield

Address: 12716 Farm Rd. 2239, Cassville, MO

Prairie State Park

According to the National Parks Service, the tallgrass prairies of North America are one of the world’s most endangered and rare ecosystems. Today, less than 1% of tallgrass prairies remain, much of it preserved at Prairie State Park

Take in panoramic vistas of swaying grass and vibrant wildflowers dotting the 4,000 acres of this underrated state park. If visitors look hard enough, they may spot the park’s resident bison herd roaming the grounds while exploring half a dozen trails. The on-site nature center offers exhibits and interpretive programs designed to inform visitors about the park. If you stay long enough, you can enjoy a gorgeous unobstructed sunset view.

1 ½ hours from Springfield

Address: 128 NW 150th Ln., Mindenmines, MO

Related Post: Six Scenic Ozark Hikes

Montauk State Park

Known for being a phenomenal fishing spot, Montauk State Park preserves a shady green retreat for fishing, camping, hiking, picnicking or just relaxing rest stop.

The park’s springs combine with tiny Pigeon Creek to supply more than 40 million gallons of water to the river each day. The cool spring is perfect for rainbow trout, making the park popular with anglers. Picnic areas and two picnic shelters provide the perfect place for a quiet lunch. Three trails offer hikers and cyclists an easy way to explore the park. Tours of the historic gristmill, built in 1896, give visitors a taste of the past and help them learn about the history of the Ozarks region. 

For visitors wanting to spend the night, the park offers a variety of accommodations, including a modern campground, rental cabins and motel rooms. The dining lodge near the park is open year-round for hungry guests.

2 hours from Springfield

Address: 345 County Rd. 6670, Salem, MO

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