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Adventurers to the northern reaches of Missouri can search out Thousand Hills State Park and make the RV campgrounds their temporary home. With full-scale camping allowed from April 1st to October 31st, Thousands Hills is a great warm-weather retreat. There are, however, somewhat primitive camping options available in the colder months.
At Thousand Hills State Park, campsites have electrical hook-ups to help power your RV rental. There is also drinking water readily available, and there's a playground too. In addition to these perks, there are maintained restroom and shower houses at the campgrounds to help you stay fresh as you explore the Show-Me State.
It's easy to stay stocked when you're camping at Thousand Hills Campground. There's a camping store on site that has your basic necessities. The store also sells local firewood so you can create the perfect camping atmosphere. And when you’re ready to continue on your travels with your RV rental, you can swing by the RV dump station before hitting the road again.
When you’re on your Missouri adventure, you can explore your home away from home at Thousand Hills State Park in Kirksville, Missouri. The centerpiece of this beautiful landscape is the idyllic Forest Lake. Here, you can test your angling skills and try to catch some bluegill or catfish. Or instead, you can rent a canoe, kayak, or pontoon boat and enjoy the forest from the water. If you’d rather stay on dry land, you can head out onto the 14.5 miles of trails that wind through the state park. You’ll explore forests, savannas, and be treated to beautiful lake views. If you want to see something unique, head to the observation area where you can see petroglyphs believed to be roughly 1,500 years old. You’ll learn more about the indigenous people who once lived here and make some unique memories.
Those who are truly adventurous can head to the nearby Rebel’s Cove Conservation Area near Lancaster, Missouri. At just over 4,000 acres, this parcel of land contains woodlands, grasslands, and wetlands. With about five miles of the meandering Chariton River cutting through the forest, you can see almost the entire conservation area from the comfort of a canoe. Over the years and years of flow, erosion, and sediment deposits, these meandering rivers have created unique features called oxbow lakes. These lakes are the old river bends that have since been cut off from the rest of the river. Due to Chariton’s meandering nature, there are many oxbow lakes within Rebel’s Cove, which has helped turn the area into a wildlife breeding ground and hotspot. You’ll see woodland critters, waterfowl, and amphibians galore as you explore this unique little world.
A great day trip from the RV campground is Pershing State Park in Meadville, Missouri. At over 5,000 acres, Pershing State Park is primarily made up of wet prairie, grasslands, and even savanna. You can explore the drier parts of the park thanks to the almost ten miles of trail, or you can instead explore the unique wet prairie by taking a stroll on the maintained boardwalk that stretches over the landscape. If you’d rather explore this watery locale another way, you can secure a canoe and travel throughout the park. With four small lakes also strewn about the Pershing, you can test your angler luck and try to catch local bass, bluegill, and catfish.
Those interested in learning a little history can head to the Novinger Log Homestead. Built in 1848 by Isaac and Samuel Novinger, the homestead has been preserved so that curious minds can learn about the day-to-day life of early pioneers and coal miners from the region. The homestead is furnished with period-appropriate furniture to help paint the picture.
If you’re still itching to learn some more, the Coal Miners Museum (conveniently located just south of the Novinger Log Homestead), highlights the coal mining industry in this region of Missouri. With its simulated coal mine and blacksmith shop, you can see how these common practices were carried out. The museum also displays antique farm tools to showcase another element of Missouri history.
For those with interest in the domestic, a trip to the Downing House Museum is in order. The home was built in 1858 and contains 14 rooms, each filled with history. The most unique part of history at the Downing House Museum comes from the Civil War. The Union soldiers used the home as a command center and prisoner camp for several years and even housed some of their horses on the first floor. To learn more about Missouri’s history, you can explore the various “Memorial Rooms” that showcase multiple topics.
When you book an RV in Adair County, you may need to restock and refuel your rig. Luckily enough, there are plenty of options around Thousand Hills where you can do some grocery shopping and top up on fuel.
After a long day of boating, hiking, and learning, reward yourself with a local classic: Gooey Butter Cake. The story goes that a local baker once accidentally added too much butter to cake recipe, but instead of a giant mess, created a gooey and delicious treat that has been savored for generations.