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7 Remarkable National Parks in Missouri

A large metal arch (Gateway Arch) curves over the St. Louis courthouse building to frame it perfectly. There's also a pond in the foreground with fountains lining the sides of a statue of a man.

Pixabay Photo

In total, there are seven national parks in Missouri. You probably already know about Gateway Arch National Park (previously known as Jefferson National Expansion Memorial). But did know there are six more, including the homes of two U.S. presidents? Missouri has a wealth of national parks worth exploring. Here’s the complete list of Missouri national parks, including the newest national park.

This post was updated on May 23, 2021. This page may contain affiliate links.

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Map of National Parks in Missouri

A map of Missouri shows the state outlined in blue with Missouri's national parks in green

National Parks in Missouri Road Trip Itinerary

A map of Missouri with the surrounded states shaded shows a route to visit all six of Missouri's national parks

Fly in/out: St. Louis or Kansas City

Depending on where you begin, you may need to follow this itinerary in reverse.

Day 1: Start by exploring Gateway Arch in St. Louis before moving on to the home of President Ulysses S. Grant (30-minute drive)

Day 2: Drive through the scenic Mark Twain National Forest on your way to Ozark National Scenic Riverways (2.5-hour drive)

Day 3: Spend some time Ozark by kayaking, canoeing, or hiking.

Day 4: Make your way to Springfield with a stop at Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield (2.5-hour drive)

Day 5: On your way to Kansas City, stop by George Washington Carver National Monument (1-hour drive). If you have time, consider an additional stop at Fort Scott National Historic Site just over the border in Kansas. Kansas City is a 2.5-hour drive from George Washington Carver NM. It’s a 3-hour drive with a stop at Fort Scott.

Day 6: In Kansas City, visit the house where Harry S. Truman grew up. If you choose to drive back to St. Louis from here, it is a 4-hour drive.

Did you know that if you visit all six national parks in Missouri, you get a prize? Visit this webpage to learn more.

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Gateway Arch National Park

A large metal arch (Gateway Arch) curves over the St. Louis courthouse building to frame it perfectly

Photo by Brittney Butler on Unsplash

Easily the most famous of all the national parks in Missouri, Gateway Arch National Park, previously known as Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, is best-known for its new namesake: the arch that symbolizes the venture West. While riding the tram to the top (tickets here) and peering out its tiny windows is a must-do in St. Louis, the park has other gems.

The Old Courthouse building directly across the street houses a fascinating museum. The Courthouse has seen history in the making with historic trials such as the Dred Scott decision. Inside the museum, you’ll find two Dred Scott exhibits. Furthermore, there’s a brand new museum at the Gateway Arch complex that focuses on Westward Expansion and the construction of the arch.

How to Get There: The Gateway Arch is located in downtown St. Louis along the Mississippi River. For more detailed instructions, click here.

Map: download here

Things to Do: Guided tours, films, museum, tram ride

Park Entrance Fee: $3 per person (this does not include a fee to ride the tram)

Where to Stay: Drury Plaza, Hotel Indigo, Hampton

Official Website: click here

Speak to a Park Ranger: Call (314) 655-1600

George Washington Carver National Monument

A bust of George Washington Carver    A small, white, old house sits on a grassy field - NPS Photo

Affectionately known as “The Plant Doctor”, George Washington Carver was an agricultural scientist and inventor. The national monument dedicated to him is located in Diamond, Missouri where he was born and spent the first nine years of his life (approximately). There’s a one-mile trail that showcases many statues as well as the Moses Carver house (pictured above; NPS photo).

Furthermore, two family graves are located along the trail (George Washington Carver is buried at the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama). Every day, a park ranger leads a tour of the trail at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Lastly, the visitor center houses an extremely interesting museum dedicated to Mr. Carver.

How to Get There: You can use the address 5646 Carver Road, Diamond, MO 64840 to find Carver’s childhood home. Detailed directions are available here.

Map: download here

Things to Do: Art programs, hiking, ranger programs

Park Entrance Fee: None

Where to Stay: TownePlace, Candlewood, Boonslick Lodge

Official Website: click here

Speak to a Park Ranger: Call (417) 325-4151

Harry S. Truman National Historic Site

An historic white house

This is one of my favorite national parks in Missouri. Harry Truman became America’s 33rd president upon the death of Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1945. Some of his most famous accomplishments include the Marshall Plan, the Truman Doctrine, and the establishment of NATO. He grew up in this house in Independence, Missouri outside of Kansas City.

The National Historic Site also includes the Wallace Homes, the Noland House (where he courted Bess Wallace, his future wife and friend of his cousins who lived across the street from Truman), and a family farmhouse in Grandview. Guided ranger tours are available on a first-come, first-served basis and do fill up. Arrive at the visitor center early to obtain tickets (you cannot reserve in advance).

How to Get There: The main visitor center is located at 223 North Main Street with the Truman Home at 219 N. Delaware Street in Independence, MO 64050. For detailed directions, click here.

Map: download here

Things to Do: Guided tours, museums, walking

Park Entrance Fee: None; tickets to tour the home with a park ranger are also free.

Where to Stay: Holiday Inn Express, Higher Ground, Woodstock Inn B&B

Official Website: click here

Speak to a Park Ranger: Call (816) 254-2720

Ozark National Scenic Riverways

The sky and clouds reflected in still water with trees on the shores

Photo by Deborah Raney on Unsplash

Did you know that Ozark National Scenic Riverways was the first National Park Service site dedicated to protecting a river system? The park encompasses the Jacks Fork and Current Rivers. They’re known for being calm and cold, making them quite clear as well. They’re best for paddling, swimming, and fishing. Additionally, the park also protects various caves, freshwater springs, hiking trails, and historic sites.

How to Get There: The park protects a wide area. For detailed directions on how to reach your desired spot, click here. GPS systems may be unreliable in the area, but you can try to use 404 Watercress Drive, Van Buren, MO 63965 as a physical address.

Map: download here

Things to Do: Biking, birdwatching, camping, canoeing, fishing, guided tours, hiking, horseback riding, hunting, stargazing

Park Entrance Fee: None; there are fees associated with campgrounds and backcountry camping

Where to Stay: Cedar Stone Lodge, Honeysuckle Inn, Bullwinkles, Echo Bluff State Park, Hampton

Official Website: click here

Speak to a Park Ranger: Call (573) 323-4236

Ste. Genevieve National Historical Park

An old house with a thatched roof looking out of place on a neighborhood street

Photo by Wikimedia Commons

The nation’s newest national park is the seventh national park in Missouri. It’s a historic district known for its historically French architecture. Construction was completed in the 18th century when Ste. Genevieve was only a few miles from the French Louisiana capital. In addition to its unique architecture, Ste. Genevieve is also known for its history.

How to Get There: Take I-55 South from St. Louis to exit 154. It is about a 1-hour drive. For directions, click here.

Where to Stay: Hotel Audubon, Sagebrush Hotel, Riata Inn

Official Website: click here

Phone Number: Call (573) 883-7097

Ulysses S. Grant National Historic Site

An historic green house

The home known as White Haven once belonged to the 18th President of the United States, Ulysses S. Grant. It was the family home of his wife, Julia Dent, and the two met on-site. They lived here together from 1854 to 1859 along with their families and an enslaved African-American workforce. Today, you can visit the visitor center and museum to learn about the family’s lives and attend a free ranger-guided tour of the home, offered daily.

How to Get There: While you can use the address 7400 Grant Road, St. Louis, MO 63123, you may be misdirected to Grant Farm which is not part of the NPS site. It’s best to follow the directions written here.

Map: download here

Things to Do: Film, guided tour, museum, walking

Park Entrance Fee: None; house tours are also free

Where to Stay: Hilltop, The Chesire, Hotel Avyan, America’s Best Value Inn

Official Website: click here

Speak to a Park Ranger: Call (314) 842-1867

Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield

The sun begins to set over a wide open field

One of the more unique national parks in Missouri, Wilson’s Creek was one of the earliest battles in the American Civil War, and one of the few fought west of the Mississippi River. The first Union general killed in action, Nathaniel Lyon, died here. This led to a victory for the Southern troops. The two forces were fighting for control of Missouri during the first year of the War. Despite the Confederate victory, the Union still held control of Missouri in the end.

How to Get There: The nearest city is Springfield, a lovely town I enjoyed visiting. For directions to the battlefield, click here. For a physical address, use 6424 W. Farm Road 182, Republic, MO 65738.

Map: download here

Things to Do: Cell phone tour, driving tour, hiking, historic home, living history

Park Entrance Fee: $20 per vehicle or $10 per person, valid for 7 days

Where to Stay: AmericInn, Hotel Vandivort, Walnut Street Inn, The Mansion at Elfindale

Official Website: click here

Speak to a Park Ranger: Call (417) 732-2662 x227

Pin National Parks in Missouri

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