Situated in the southern section of Missouri near the state’s border with Illinois lies Trail of Tears State Park. The state park was named after the horrific Trail of Tears incident during the early 1800s that forced thousands of Native Americans from their land. Today, it serves as a memorial to those who suffered through it.
The park spans over 3,415 acres and is a short distance away from the Mississippi River. It also features a few archaeological treasures that are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Trail of Tears State Park is about an hour away from St. Louis.
You’ll find plenty of outdoor activities to do while at Trail of Tears State Park. One to try is fishing. Thanks to the park’s location next to the Mississippi River, fishers will find an impressive amount of species to catch while here, like walleye, bass, bluegill, catfish, and perch. Another place to go fishing while here is Lake Boutin. Covering 20 acres, the lake is packed with catfish and bass. Fishers do need to have a Missouri fishing license in order to fish in these waterways.
Visitors could also go hiking. Some trails you’ll find at Trail of Tears State Park include Sheppard Point Trail, Peewah Trail, and Lake Boutin Trail. These pathways wrap around forests and meadows and will take you by various interpretive areas where you’ll be able to learn more about the Trail of Tears. A few also feature overlooks that give stunning panoramic views of the region.
Another thing to do is birdwatching. Many birds, especially waterfowl, enjoy nesting in this state park and can be seen happily flying around. Some species birdwatchers might be able to see, are warblers, flycatchers, thrushes, owls, and woodpeckers. During the winter, eagles can also be seen hunting for fish in the Mississippi River.
Camping at Trail of Tears State Park
For those who would like to book an RV in Cape Girardeau County, you’ll discover numerous places you can do so at. A short drive away from the park is The Landing RV Park. This travel trailer campground is open year-round and offers amenities such as electric, fire rings, WiFi, restrooms, and laundry room access. There’s also a recreational hall and playground.
Another RV campground is Cape Camping & RV Park. This motorhome campground is one of the largest of its kind in the area and features large shaded camper sites. Some amenities you’ll find here include 20, 30, 50 amp, water, sewer, WiFi, and cable. There are also bathhouses, walking trails, an RV store, a dumping station, and a playground on the grounds.
Exploring the Area
When you’d like to explore the surrounding area with your camper, you’ll find a few nearby places that might be of interest. In St. Louis, visitors could stop by the National Blues Museum. This museum is designed to teach guests about the history of the blues and the impact it has had not only on the music industry but the world. Visitors will find numerous exhibits inside they can view that describe more about the instruments used to produce blues music as well as biographies of some of the most famous blues musicians in history. The museum also hosts traveling exhibits, with one of the most recent being a display of vintage matchbox guitars. When you’re done exploring the collections, you could stop by its gift shop to buy souvenirs.
While in St. Louis, take a quick trip over to the Missouri History Museum. This museum is dedicated to telling the story of Missouri’s history. Visitors will find over 175,000 artifacts to view, such as photographs, paintings, and vehicles. When you’re done touring the museum, grab a bite to eat at its cafe, which overlooks Forest Park.
Only a few minutes away in Cape Girardeau is the Glenn House. Created in 1833, this historic structure features stunning Victorian architecture and a large veranda. Tours can be taken of its interior, where you’ll be able to learn more about its former inhabitants. You’ll also be able to view antiques and old plumbing systems. During the holiday season, the home is adorned in festive decor and features local musicians playing period music inside.
In Chesterfield, there’s the National Museum of Transportation. Showcasing over 190 exhibits, this museum is designed to teach museum-goers more about the importance of transportation and the various vehicles and vessels used to help humans easily get around. Besides vintage cars, a few other models you’ll be able to see include airplanes, trains, and boats. Guided tours are available, and reservations are not required for them.