Missouri has plenty of natural beauty to enjoy. If you live near Farmington, Missouri, there are a plethora of state parks in the area for you to visit and explore. These parks are great for outdoor activities, from equestrian riding to hiking to swimming. You can even go spelunking. With so many options, you'll be able to find something for everyone to enjoy. Here are 11 unique parks to visit near Farmington.
St. Joe State Park
Image via Unsplash by Mikhail Tyrsyna
Located just four miles from Farmington, St. Joe State Park offers multiple outdoor activities for visitors. With a choice between equestrian trails, hiking, mountain biking, picnicking, and swimming in one of the park's four lakes, you'll never be short of things to do. You can reserve a campsite at St. Joe's to extend the fun. This park is a great option for families with lots of unique, adventurous interests.
Pickle Springs Natural Area
This trail is about eight miles from Farmington, in the town of Ste. Genevieve. The natural area includes a loop trail that passes by a waterfall and canyons. You can enjoy its beautiful views year-round. If you plan to hike this trail in the winter, consider bringing extra gear, like hiking poles, to help you stay upright throughout the hike.
Hawn State Park
Hawn State Park is an easily accessible park about 20 minutes away from Farmington. Known for its rushing river and impressive forest of pine and oak trees, this park has a lot to offer. For those with more niche interests, such as geology and bird watching, Hawn State Park is a great choice. You can examine exposed rock types and observe plenty of bird species throughout its 4,956 acres of land. You can also camp, hike, and picnic at the park. This vast expanse has something for everyone.
Washington State Park
Washington State Park is just a 40-minute drive from Farmington. This park has views of the Ozarks that are accessible from three different hiking trails. Washington State Park runs along the river, so it's a perfect place to go swimming and fishing. Petroglyphs, which are images carved into rocks, are also visible on a number of long-standing rocks in the park. These add to the sense of wonder you might feel by visiting Washington State Park.
St. Francois State Park
The St. Francois State Park has three hiking trails visitors can choose from. One of these trails is accessible to riders on horseback, so your steed can enjoy the forest, too. Canoeing and floating are other popular activities for people who visit St. Francois. If you want an elevated camping experience, St. Francois is a great option, since it features modern restrooms, hot showers, and facilities for you to do laundry.
Missouri Mines State Historic Site
The Missouri Mines State Historic Site captures the history of the lead business in the eastern Ozarks. This park offers an opportunity to explore a piece of Missouri's history with a museum that displays real machinery and mineral collections. Consider visiting the Missouri Mines Historic Site if you, your family, or friends have an interest in history.
Elephant Rocks State Park
Elephant Rocks State Park is a 30-minute drive west of Farmington. The park got its name from the elephant-shaped rocks and boulders around the park. These rocks, made of granite, resemble circus elephants standing in a row. You can witness this natural phenomenon from one of the park's trails. Elephant Rocks State Park is a playground for adventurous people who enjoy bouldering and mountaineering. If you prefer a more relaxing visit, you can also picnic or fish at this memorable park.
Taum Sauk Mountain State Park
Taum Sauk Mountain State Park boasts incredible views which are accessible from the highest point in Missouri — the top of Taum Sauk Mountain. This park is excellent for those who love to hike, as a portion of the famous Ozark Trail runs through it. The park also includes several other trails to explore. If you want to enjoy multiple trails during your stay, consider booking a campsite to extend your visit.
Felix Vallé House State Historic Site
The Felix Vallé House State Historic Site preserves an American Federal-style house built around 1818. The house is currently furnished as it would have been in the 1830s. This historic site captures the essence of the American influence on the French community that lived in a part of Missouri. There are several unique historical artifacts to observe at the site, and if you want to immerse yourself in history fully, you can participate in cultural events where participants dress and act as if it was the 1800s all over again.
Illinois Caverns State Natural Area
Located just over an hour outside Farmington, the Illinois Caverns State Natural Area is home to a wild cave that's three miles long. Visitors can access this cave if they have strong boots, a hard hat, and a minimum of three light sources per person. Spelunking in the Illinois Caverns may be best suited for those bravest among your group, but it's open to people of all ages. The cavern is the second-largest cave in Illinois, so it's definitely a sight to behold for those interested in caves.
Deutschheim State Historic Site
Another important historic site in Missouri, the Deutschheim State Historic Site, is a state park that preserves an early Missouri settlement. It focuses on the German-American heritage of the area, and it's a bit further from Farmington than the other parks on our list. However, the two-hour drive is worth it for those who love learning about local history. There are two historic houses on the property, and you can take guided tours through them to get the full experience.
Regardless of which park you choose to visit, any of them on this list can make for a great outdoor activity for you, your friends, and your family. Did we forget to include one of your favorite parks near Farmington? If we did, let us know by getting in touch so we can add it to our list.