Go Camping in Kansas City: KC's Top Spots

KC Camping
KC Camping

These Camping Destinations Will Ensure Your Next Trip is a Success

My husband and I love camping. It’s not uncommon for one of us to text the other on a Friday afternoon with the message, “Camp tonight?” and within minutes we’ll decide to make it happen. We’ve become super efficient at packing up my truck and grabbing some Local Pig, beer and firewood on the way out of town.

It wasn't always this way though. We haphazardly made our way through our first few (OK dozen) camping trips. While I've shared some of my favorite camping tips and have a Pinterest board featuring a slew of amazing camping tips, this post is dedicated to camping around Kansas City. KC is perfect for camping -- you can be in the heart of the city at 5 and in the middle of nowhere by 6. Join our camping revolution and plan a trip today. But, first here are some of our top spots:

Go Outside Near KC There are so many camping options near Kansas City. These are ideal for a one-night stay.

  • MO State Parks: Not to toot our own horn, but Missouri has an excellent state parks website. Check it out for all things camping in the Show-Me state.
  • Smithville Lake: This is my jam. It's just north of KC with tons of camping available and an awesome lake. Great for a group of friends looking to soak in the sun and drink some beers. Try Camp Branch in the summer!
  • Watkins Mill State Park: Another fan favorite. Watkins Mill is more secluded and smaller than Smithville. Ideal for hiking and observing nature, this park is also located next to the Watkins Woolen Mill State Historic Site, a National Historic Landmark.
  • Hillsdale State Park: For my Kansas peeps! Hillsdale is a good place for camping beginners - it's close to civilization, so you're not in trouble if you forget something.
  • Weston Bend State Park: Make a weekend of it and spend time visiting the lovely downtown Weston.

Glamp Around KC Cabins are perfect during inclement weather, if you’re new to camping or if you just want modern luxuries like a roof and electricity.

  • Clinton State Park: Located in Lawrence, Kansas, Clinton Lake is the beach for KU students. Their cabins are close to the woods and water.
  • Perry State Park: Located farther in Ozawkie, Kansas, Perry State Lake features horse trails, lots of catfish fishing and scenic rolling hills.
  • Basswood Resort: Hidden gem alert! This place is darling and located near KCI. With a rich history, including hosting the likes of Harry Truman, Bing Crosby and Matthew McConaughey (random, I know), it's a fun weekend getaway.

Go A Little Farther If you have time to make a long weekend out of it, there are lots of campsites across Missouri, Kansas and our surrounding states. Here are a few more goodies:

  • Missouri State Parks Yurts: A yurt is a circular tent structure featuring a wood frame covered in a durable fabric. These yurts are climate controlled and feature electricity.
  • Hawn State Park: Hawn State Park is about 5 hours away and known as one of the best state parks in Missouri. It features clear streams, magnificent views and lots of trails.
  • Oklahoma: Oklahoma has hundreds of state parks, many surrounding lakes. Go in the spring or fall when the weather is mild. Check out this article to find 8 great places to camp.
  • Arkansas: I need to make a quick plug for Arkansas. It’s so close and it’s SO beautiful! Check out this overview to learn more and then go visit ASAP!