Planning a weekend or extended getaway all begins with a destination. Here, we’ve rounded up some of the best in Missouri camping (and woodland retreats so in nature that they feel like camping). First, though, let’s make sure you’re packing what you’ll need.
What to bring
- Hammock: It’s easy to set up and allows you to get off the ground in areas of uneven earth, rocks, or sticks. “I use an obnoxious blue-colored hammock,” says Buck. Such loud colors are useful “so that I can signal for help and easily be seen from the sky in a survival situation.”
- Sleeping Bag: “The most important thing you can do while doing strenuous activity outside is get a good night’s sleep to recharge,” says Buck, who packs a down-filled Marmot sleeping bag, along with a bug-off liner and a Sea to Summit waterproof bag.
- Waterproof Hiking Boots: To avoid painful blisters, Buck prefers a cloth-based, waterproof boot with no hard material except the tread. He also wears Merino wool socks, which disperse moisture faster than cotton socks do. “This setup will get your feet dry,” he says, “keeping your focus on camping and not sore feet.”
- Survival Kit: Buy a first-aid kit, take out any nonessentials, and add survival essentials. For instance, Buck packs two items to start a fire (a lighter and magnesium rod) and paracord (with many strands of cordage in the sheath), among other items.
- Fixed-Blade Knife: A good knife is essential: You can trim fishing line, make bushcraft items, or cut a stick for roasting marshmallows. Buck prefers a fixed blade because knives that fold are only as good as the pin that holds blade to handle.
- Fly Rod: Buck often fishes for bass, bluegill, and trout. He enjoys letting the weight of the line—a 4, 5, or 6—guide his cast, rather than the bait on a traditional pole. “Either way of fishing is great,” he adds, “so get out there and get a fish fry going.”
- Sleeps five, from $112 per night
Dubbed the “Happy Camper,” this renovated RV guarantees a groovy ’70s-inspired glamping experience. Even campfire cooking is ratcheted up, with an outdoor kitchen lifted straight from a homestead dream. Enjoy coffee and flapjacks, read, play checkers, or daydream. Then meander along a serene stretch of a nearby creek to commune with nature.
- Sleeps two, from $229 per night
Pamper yourself in the outdoors at the new 64-unit campground just south of Branson. Tent accommodations, or “Glamping Units,” are upscale lakeside tents large enough to enclose a king canopy bed and a chandelier. Or opt for “Shepherd’s Huts,” perfect for small families who prefer accommodations with doors and windows but still want a rustic vibe.
- Sleeps six, from $150 per night
This space includes metal walls and farm-chic décor. The wide-open loft has a private upper level. The bedroom’s ideal for grown-ups to get a good night’s rest and the youngsters can fit in four beds in the living space. The private deck overlooking downtown Hermann is a stunner. It’s the perfect place to enjoy a few bottles of the area’s finest vintages.
- Sleeps 10, from $117 per night
This airy A-frame houses a mix of bedrooms inside an open loft space. A sand beach, paddle boats, kayaks, and a pontoon boat are located a short walk away. Kids will enjoy spending the afternoon playing with the toys and games on site. Wrap up the day around a waterside fire pit.
- sleeps four, from $150 per night
Home to Elephant Rocks State Park and Johnson’s Shut-Ins, Arcadia Valley is a scenic spot in which to escape the city. Rhesa and Evan Funk offer a small slice of paradise at Cabin on the Creek. The quaint cabin is just 300 square feet, with cozy bunk beds, giant windows, and a porch overlooking a burbling creek.
If you’re looking for a woodland retreat, Missouri has plenty of options with rustic or modern taste. These inviting, under-the-radar cabins are perfect for a secluded staycation during any season, with many featuring cozy stone fireplaces and picture-perfect lakeside views. (And beyond these nine noteworthy rentals, don’t forget Big Cedar Lodge, with some of the most breathtaking views in the state.)
1. This A-frame cabin in Innsbrook is located right on the water, has its own dock, and can house up to six guests. Key features include a kitchen with beautifully contrasting cabinets and countertops and a living area with floor-to-ceiling windows. Whether you choose to spend the day inside or out on the lake, be sure to end your evenings with a bonfire under the stars.
2. Surrounded by peaceful woods and located only a half-hour from Kansas City, this treehouse cabin in Excelsior is the best of both worlds. The cabin can host up to two guests, making it a magical couple’s retreat. The charming interior boasts an abundance of natural light and a rustic, wood-burning stove.
3. This cabin in Innsbrook, with a treehouse addition, can accommodate up to 10 guests and offers many inviting sitting spaces. Outside, there’s a barbecue grill and an outdoor deck. For those who long to spend days by the water, there are two kayaks stored by the cabin, and Lake Kitzbuhl is a short drive away.
4. Located in Innsbrook, this modern cabin can house up to four guests. The dark stained ceiling beams, grand fireplace, and master suite’s jetted bathtub contribute to the cabin’s luxurious elegance. Guests also have access to a clubhouse restaurant.
5. This classic Greenfield cabin can accommodate up to eight guests and is located less than a mile from Stockton Lake, a hunting and fishing destination. When you step inside, the floor-to-ceiling wood-paneled interior welcomes you with its open concept layout. Sitting on a private acre of land, this inviting cabin also includes a screened-in porch and fire pit.
6. With a gorgeous lake view, this cabin near Table Rock Lake is located only minutes from Branson. The interior was designed with rustic luxury in mind, boasting brand-new furnishings. The kitchen is stocked with a wide range of appliances, including a blender, slow cooker, waffle maker, and ice cream maker. A covered deck offers a stunning lake view. The resort hosts plenty of outdoor activities, including trails at Indian Point, kayaks, paddleboards, and an outdoor pool.
7. This classic, cozy cabin may spark memories of playing with Lincoln Logs as a child. Inside, you’ll find the homey décor and stone fireplace make it a perfect place to make memories with your friends or family. This genuine log cabin can sleep four guests and is only minutes from Branson and Silver Dollar City.
8. This Swiss-inspired cabin in Osage Beach is the perfect getaway for nature lovers. The light wood and white color scheme make it stand out. The property sleeps up to four guests and offers one-of-a-kind views of the nearby lake. The private swimming dock and covered deck allow guests to enjoy secluded outdoor activities.
9. This cedar log cabin in Pacific, Missouri, comes straight out of a fairy tale. The house can sleep up to five guests, making it ideal for a small family retreat. The living area features a wood-burning stone fireplace and provides an ideal place to stay in and read a book, watch a movie, or play board games.