When people think of camping, especially free camping, Missouri might not be the first state that comes to mind.
Missouri doesn’t disappoint, though. There are plenty of places to boondock and enjoy the great outdoors. Keep reading for some of our favorites.
Let’s jump in!
What Is There To See In Missouri?
There are plenty of adventures to be found in Missouri. Some of the top tourist destinations include the Gateway Arch, Missouri Botanical Garden, National WWI Museum, Lake of the Ozarks, and anything in St. Louis or Kansas City.
Whether you’re looking for outdoor adventure or city sightseeing, you can find it in Missouri. Free camping in Missouri will get you close to the action while being able to escape from the crowds and relax when you want to.
Pro Tip: Before trying out free-camping, we recommend researching a cell booster. It’ll help you stay connected off-grid.
The 6 Best Free Camping Spots In Missouri
Here are the best places for free camping in Missouri. You surely can’t go wrong with any of these fantastic choices.
#1 – Agency Conservation Area
One great location for free camping in Missouri is the Agency Conservation Area.
Address: 13320 State Rte. Mm SE Agency, MO.
GPS Coordinates: 39.6200282, -94.735514
About Agency Conservation Area: There are 94 acres of wilderness to explore in the Agency Conservation Area. A parking lot and camping area are located just off Rock Creek Road SE on the east side of the conservation area.
The location is perfect for fishing and birdwatching. The Agency Conservation Area also allows hunting and trapping with a permit. In addition, if you feel like exploring Kansas City, you can reach it in about 45 minutes. There are tons of fantastic things to do in Kansas City, making this free campground an ideal hub as a result.
The conservation area doesn’t offer many amenities, but there’s a gravel parking lot that’s nice for RVers. If you want to get away and enjoy some dispersed camping, it certainly seems like a peaceful place.
Missouri Free Camping Vibes: 6/10. It’s great for outdoor recreation. However, amenities and options for parking appear limited. It’s also a great place to stay if you want to pop into Kansas City without paying an arm and a leg for a hotel.
#2 – Big Creek Conservation Area
Another place for free camping in Missouri is the Big Creek Conservation Area.
Address: Rainbow Basin Trail, Kirksville, MO.
GPS Coordinates: 40.1617° N, 92.6239° W
About Big Creek Conservation Area: This massive area that spans over 1000 acres is home to forests, savannahs, and woodlands. Moreover, there are three different designated camping areas spread throughout Big Creek.
Hiking and biking trails allow you to explore miles of the wilderness. You can also hunt, birdwatch, and fish. There are designated trash receptacles but no other amenities, so come prepared.
Missouri Free Camping Vibes: 8/10. All the hiking and biking trails available are a big plus in our book.
#3 – Ben Branch Conservation Area
Next up for free camping, Missouri edition, is the Ben Branch Conservation Area.
Address: Chamois, MO.
GPS Coordinates: 38.5685° N, 91.7904° W
About Ben Branch Conservation Area: This conservation area spans over 500 acres and is home to the human-made Ben Branch Lake. You can certainly enjoy a variety of activities in this area. Choices include hunting, trapping, fishing, and birdwatching, for example.
There are also multiple designated camping areas. And, you can even drive right to the lake’s boat ramp to get out on the water. The campground has more amenities than most free camping sites. It additionally includes a boat launch, bathrooms, and a picnic area.
Missouri Free Camping Vibes: 8.5/10. We love how many places there are to camp, and easy lake access is a tremendous bonus to enjoy in the summer.
#4 – The Mark Twain National Forest
Next up, you can enjoy the great outdoors for free at Mark Twain National Forest.
Address: 401 Fairgrounds Rd. Rolla, MO.
GPS Coordinates: 37.6876° N, 91.0828° W
About The Mark Twain National Forest: Mark Twain National Forest is enormous and has dozens of places to camp for free. In fact, this park is 1.5 million acres and spans 29 different counties. Missouri certainly isn’t messing around with free camping at the Mark Twain National Forest.
There are plenty of places and ways to explore here. You can hike, bike, ride horses, or explore on an off-highway vehicle. There are also plenty of places to paddle, boat, or relax on the beach. For recreation, this national forest is surely one of the best places to go.
Missouri Free Camping Vibes: 10/10. There are plenty of camping spots to choose from, in addition to tons of recreation.
#5 – Beaver Lake Recreation Area
This area is part of the Mark Twain National Forest, but it stands out from the crowd.
Address: Forest Road 3899, near Poplar Bluff, MO.
GPS Coordinates: 36.799301, -90.62238859
About Beaver Lake Recreation Area: Tucked into the forest, this spot is perfect for a weekend getaway. They stock the 15-acre lake with various kinds of fish and additionally allow small boats with electric motors. You can also launch your boat from the gravel boat ramp.
There are no facilities nearby, but there’s plenty of nature. Start off enjoying the lake, then take a hike or search for wildflowers. You’ll love the chance to escape out here.
Missouri Free Camping Vibes: 7/10. It’s serene and peaceful with fewer people and no amenities.
#6 – Poague Conservation Area
Just over 879 acres await you at this conservation area.
Address: Highway 7, about 4 miles west of Clinton, MO.
GPS Coordinates: 38.412938, -93.854442
About Poague Conservation Area: There are several designated camping areas and multiple parking lots in this area. There aren’t any amenities nearby, but some camping spots have gravel areas where you can build a fire.
Poague Conservation Area offers camping, hiking, fishing, and hunting. The area is home to several kinds of wildlife. If you’re lucky, you might even spot some bald eagles.
Missouri Free Camping Vibes: 7/10. Not a ton to do, but a pleasant area to escape the hustle and bustle.
Explore Free Camping in Missouri
As you can see, free camping, Missouri style, has a lot to offer! There are plenty of places to enjoy a relaxing hike, paddle, or campfire in this great state. If you want to make a jaunt into town, some of these campgrounds serve as a perfect home base, especially the Agency Conservation Area.
Wherever you camp, get out there and enjoy the beauty of Missouri.
Discover the Best Free Camping Across the USA
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