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A stone picnic shelter at Lewis and Clark State Park next to the lakeMost Missouri state parks, and many of the state historic sites, have picnic tables and barbecue grills for outdoor outings.

But you don’t always need a table to have a picnic.

At Hawn State Park, there is a large picnic area in a grove of tall pines next to sparkling Pickle Creek.

On the western side of the state, Prairie State Park offers a shady refuge for a picnic amid the sunny sea of wildflowers and grasses. A half dozen picnic tables are situated in a grove of pin oaks next to Fleck Creek, a rare prairie headwater stream.

One of the prettiest settings in the state is the picnic tables that look out onto the pond at Dillard Mill State Historic Site. The barn-red mill and waterfall on Huzzah Creek are reflected in the still water.

Don’t be surprised if an artist strolls up and sets up an easel; the scene is picture perfect.

Kids playing on playground equipmentMany of the parks have open and enclosed picnic shelters, some of which can be reserved for large parties. Some of the shelters boast the handsome stonework of the Civilian Conservation Corps, which worked in 15 state parks in the 1930s.

No matter where you decide to lay out the picnic spread, the rules are the same. Leave no trace! Do not set up structures, dig trenches or build fires where not permitted. Pick up every speck of litter and discard it in the proper place or take it back out with you. Leave the spot more pristine than you found it.

Take only photographs and memories. Every plant, rock and animal in a state park is protected. That includes those gorgeous wildflowers. Leave them untouched for the next visitor to admire.


Over 50 parks and historic sites offer open and/or enclosed facilities for rental purposes. Open shelters may be reserved in advance by the public or used on a first-come, first-served basis when unreserved. Enclosed shelters, venues and meeting rooms must be reserved in advance by the public. Shelters and structures designated for reservations may be reserved online or by calling the applicable facility.

Check the table below to find out what types of shelters can be rented at each park or site. Click on the park or site name for more information about shelters at that facility.

State Park/State Historic Site Shelter Type
Arrow Rock State Historic Site, Arrow Rock --Open Shelter - Electric/Water
Dr. Edmund A. Babler Memorial State Park, Wildwood --Open Shelter
--Large Open Shelter
--Enclosed Shelter - Electric/Water
--Meeting Room
Sam A. Baker State Park, Patterson --Open Shelter - Electric/Water
Battle of Athens State Historic Site, Revere --Enclosed Shelter - Electric/Water
Battle of Island Mound State Historic Site, Butler --Open Shelter - Electric
Battle of Pilot Knob State Historic Site, Pilot Knob --Open Shelter - Electric
--Open Shelter - Electric/Water
Bennett Spring State Park, Lebanon --Open Shelter
--Open Shelter - Electric
Big Lake State Park, Craig --Open Shelter
Big Oak Tree State Park, East Prairie --Open Shelter - Electric
Nathan and Olive Boone Homestead State Historic Site, Ash Grove --Open Shelter - Electric
Bothwell Lodge State Historic Site, Sedalia --Open Shelter
Castlewood State Park, Ballwin --Open Shelter
Confederate Memorial State Historic Site, Higginsville --Chapel
Crowder State Park, Trenton --Enclosed Shelter - Electric/Water
--Open Shelter
Cuivre River State Park, Troy --Open Shelter - Electric
--Open Shelter - Electric/Water
--Open Shelter
--Enclosed Shelter - Electric/Water
Dillard Mill State Historic Site, Davisville --Open Shelter
Finger Lakes State Park, Columbia --Enclosed Shelter - Electric/Water
Graham Cave State Park, Danville --Open Shelter
Ha Ha Tonka State Park, Camdenton --Open Shelter - Electric
--Open Shelter - Electric/Water
Hawn State Park, Ste. Genevieve --Open Shelter - Water
Scott Joplin House State Historic Site, St. Louis --Room
Knob Noster State Park, Knob Noster --Open Shelter
--Open Shelter - Water
Lake of the Ozarks State Park, Kaiser --Open Shelter
--Open Shelter - Electric
Lake Wappapello State Park, Williamsville --Open Shelter - Electric/Water
--Open Shelter - Water
Lewis and Clark State Park, Rushville --Open Shelter - Electric/Water
Long Branch State Park, Macon --Open Shelter - Electric
Mastodon State Historic Site, Imperial --Open Shelter
Meramec State Park, Sullivan --Open Shelter - Electric
Montauk State Park, Salem --Open Shelter
Onondaga Cave State Park, Leasburg --Open Shelter - Electric
Pershing State Park, Laclede --Enclosed Shelter - Electric/Water
--Open Shelter - Electric
Pomme de Terre State Park, Pittsburg --Open Shelter - Electric/Water
Roaring River State Park, Cassville --Open Shelter - Electric
--Enclosed Shelter - Electric
Robertsville State Park, Robertsville --Open Shelter - Electric
Don Robinson State Park, Cedar Hill --Open Shelter
Rock Bridge Memorial State Park, Columbia --Open Shelter - Electric
--Open Shelter
Route 66 State Park, Eureka --Open Shelter -  Electric/Water
St. Francois State Park, Bonne Terre --Open Shelter
St. Joe State Park, Park Hills --Open Shelter
Stockton State Park, Dadeville --Open Shelter
--Open Shelter - Electric
Table Rock State Park, Branson --Open Shelter - Electric
Trail of Tears State Park, Jackson --Open Shelter - Electric
--Open Shelter
Harry S Truman State Park, Warsaw --Open Shelter - Electric
Mark Twain State Park, Florida --Enclosed Shelter - Electric/Water
--Open Shelter - Electric/Water
Annie and Abel Van Meter State Park, Miami --Open Shelter - Electric
Wakonda State Park, La Grange --Open Shelter - Electric
Wallace State Park, Cameron --Open Shelter - Electric
Washington State Park, De Soto --Open Shelter
Watkins Mill State Park, Lawson --Chapel
--Open Shelter - Electric
Weston Bend State Park, Weston --Open Shelter - Electric

Operations: Many parks and historic sites contain rules and policies that are specific to the individual site and its resources. Call the individual park to inquire about specific rules.

Enjoy this activity at the following parks