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Set in the foothills of the Ozark Mountains, Big Sugar Creek State Park protects a wonderland of oak and pine woodlands. It occupies more than 2,000 acres in the picturesque Elk Hills region of Southwest Missouri and offers a bevy of outdoor activities, from camping and hiking to fishing and birdwatching. Nature enthusiasts will love the diversity, with the chance to spot rare Ozark Chinquapin oaks, armadillos, and other unique flora and fauna.
Craving a dose of fresh air and mountain scenery? Book an RV in McDonald County and you can explore Big Sugar Creek State Park at your own pace. You'll find RV rentals for every occasion, budget, and style. With a home on wheels, you'll have the freedom to venture deep into the Ozarks, visiting gems like the Buffalo National River and Table Rock Lake along the way. You're also within striking distance of iconic Midwest parks such as Sleeping Bear Dunes, Voyageurs, and Apostle Islands.
The three-mile Ozark Chinquapin Trail winds through the park and showcases the unique geology of the Elk River watershed and Arkansas River basin. Along the way, you'll skirt creekside bluffs and pass through sun-dappled glades, woodlands, and savannas. The trail is dog-friendly, so why not bring along Fido? With a pet-friendly motorhome rental, you'll never have to worry about leaving your four-legged friend at home.
Hitting the water in a canoe or kayak is one of the best ways to explore the Big Sugar Creek State Park. If you don't have your own watercraft, local outfitters make it easy to enjoy a paddle with rentals and shuttle services. The crystal-clear waters of Big Sugar Creek provide a habitat for smallmouth, largemouth, and rock bass. Cast a line and you could reel in your very own catch of the day.
For wildlife enthusiasts, Big Sugar Creek State Park offers a chance to spot unique plants and animals like the armadillo, scarlet tanager, and graybellied salamander. Botanists will jump at the chance to identify towering Ozark Chinquapin oak trees, prickly pear cactus, and colorful wildflowers.
While there's no campground here, you'll find plenty of places to camp near Big Sugar Creek State Park within the Elk Hills region. In Noel, Shady Beach Campground features spacious RV sites set on the banks of the Elk River. You'll enjoy water and electric hookups, as well as access to modern bathroom blocks with hot showers and flush toilets. Canoe, kayak, and raft rentals make Shady Beach a top pick for families. There's also a 40-foot-high zipline that sends you soaring across the Elk River. For more choice, consider one of the privately-run RV parks strung along Indian Creek.
Roaring River State Park is a one-hour drive east and is a good base for exploring the region. It's set in the Ozark hills and maintains three campgrounds with a total of more than 150 sites, making it a great place to camp in a motorhome near Big Sugar Creek State Park. Enjoy creature comforts at a full-hookup site or settle for a back-to-basics RV camping experience. The largest sites can accommodate RVs of up to 68 feet in length. Eureka Springs KOA in Arkansas is the closest luxury campground, with 50-amp hookups, cable TV, Wi-Fi, and an enormous 90,000-gallon pool that will keep the kids entertained for hours on end. It's a great option for big rigs, with pull-through sites that can accommodate RVs of up to 85 feet.
For a taste of the Mother Road, head one hour north to Joplin. The city straddles iconic Route 66 and features a lively Main Street lined with cafes, galleries, and mom-and-pop stores. Don't leave without snapping a photo in front of the colorful Route 66 mural across the street from City Hall. You can also visit the Joplin Museum Complex to learn about notorious bank robbers Bonnie and Clyde, who hid in the city in the 1930s.
A short drive south, Grand Falls cascades 12 feet into a crystalline pool. In summer, you'll see locals cooling off in the water and enjoying picnics on the grassy foreshore. Gas, groceries, and other motorhome camping essentials can be found in the town of Anderson, a 25-minute drive from the park. Springfield is a two-hour drive northeast and is a great place to kickstart a Midwest road trip. As well as attractions like Dickerson Park Zoo and the subterranean Fantastic Caverns, Springfield offers a good selection of camper rentals near Big Sugar Creek State Park.