In 2016, Missouri Parks issued a Missouri State Parks Centennial Passport book (similar to the National Park Passport book) to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Missouri's state parks in 2017. I purchased a book in 2016 and began a 15 month quest to visit all the parks. The journey began with one-day and a few two-day trips to visit the parks nearest Joplin and ended with two four-day excursions to visit parks in northern Missouri and eastern Missouri.
Did you know that Missouri has four covered bridges, and they are in the state park system? The Katy Trail stretching across most of Missouri is also in the park system. Also, cemeteries where past governors are buried, five parks where Civil War battles took place, parks recognizing Native American tribes that lived in the state, and Route 66 that crossed our state. There are parks that commemorate the mining industry and mills (that ground grain and wove cloth) that served our communities.
Explorers like Lewis and Clark and Daniel Boone's descendants are also honored. Also, famous Missourians such as Mark Twain, President Truman, and General Pershing. My journey took me from large cities (Thomas Hart Benton's home in Kansas City and the Scott Joplin home in St. Louis) to the boonies (Indian mounds near the boot heel to a Civil War battle near the Missouri-Iowa border).
The historic town of Arrow Rock and German settlement of Hermann are included. Of course, there are plenty of recreational parks that include hiking and camping---some with rivers, lakes and bluffs and even some with caves and natural bridges. At times it was challenging to locate some of the out-of-the-way places. Sometimes I asked directions at convenience stores, motels, from a policeman and even from a man blowing leaves in his yard. The Department of Natural Resources' personnel were also very helpful--- sometimes even printing off directions to the next park.
Even after finding a park, it could be like a scavenger hunt trying to find where to get the stamp for the passport book. Missouri is a beautiful state with prairies, forests, rolling hills, mountains (Taum Sauk is Missouri's highest point), rivers, lakes and bluffs. There is plenty of farm land also---from corn fields in northern Missouri to cotton fields in southern Missouri. It was a fun experience visiting the 88 parks, historical sites, etc. and I would recommend exploring the beautiful state of Missouri.