This past week, Jun 30th – July 5th, we went camping at Sam A. Baker State Park in Piedmont Missouri.
Like most of our camping trips in the past, the trip was filled with far too many s’mores, endless hours of swimming, a couple of sunburns, and a whole lot of fun! Read on for more pictures + my thoughts on the park and our trip!
I didn’t do a prep post for this trip like I did with Rustic Acres, but I did put together a Free 6 Day Camping Meal Plan for this trip that you can get a copy of here, or just fill in the form below.
Sam A. Baker State Park is one of the most highly rated parks in Missouri, and since it is located about an hour and a half from our home in St. Louis, Missouri, and as such required quite a bit of prep work in the form of packing, meal planning, and even thinking through outdoor and rainy day activities for the kids.
I am happy to report the the campsites were incredibly spacious, clean, comfortable, and well-maintained. Each site has a double-wide drive that served as parking for the camper as well as very nice picnic table and electric hookup. The sites were so large that we were actually able to park our camper, truck, and another family’s truck on our site with room to spare both on the concrete and off.
The shower houses were exactly as you would expect. Clean and spacious, but still camping bathrooms (read: not my favorite). The water pressure was good, the water was hot, and some of the showers even had detachable hand-held shower heads that made cleaning Jessica a whole lot easier.
And the crowd was a surprise to us. We are used to more “party” campgrounds with loud, boisterous crowds, lots of drinking, and fireworks. But this campground, although it was full, was very calm and peaceful. There were plenty of families (and also a fair number of retirees) but all were focused on family and nature, rather than drinking and partying. I have to say, it was a really nice change!
However, we did notice a couple of negatives.
We were doing great on cell service and data until about 10 minutes from the park, when all service dropped off the face of the earth, never to be seen again!
Not really, but be prepared for absolutely no service at Sam A Baker. Everyone I talked to, and our hotspot had absolutely no service. The park does have a bit of wireless internet, so it’s spotty at best.
Also, many RV campsites have water/sewer/electric hookups, but these only had electric. It wasn’t a big deal to use, because we don’t hook the water up to our camper, but others had to fill the water tanks on their RV’s to use sinks/toilets/showers. So be aware, if you’re planning a trip.
I did end up buying some reusable plates and bowls for camping, so it did make washing them a bit more difficult, but overall nothing to write home about.
Our favorite activities while there, hands down, were swimming and floating on Big Creek and the St. Francis River.
When I first heard river, I immediately thought “yuck” since I don’t do mucky water in any way, shape or form. But everyone said I would like this river, and they were totally right.
In most places the water was only about 3 feet deep (with some deeper pools) and flowed really gently. It was also extremely clear, because instead of mud, this river only had rocks and sand, which sink to the bottom. It did, however, necessity the purchase of River Shoes to keep our feet from getting cut, but luckily Sam A Baker has a really cool and well-stocked store where you can get everything from coffee mugs and grocery items, to swimming supplies and even jewelry and t-shirts. For how small the store is, it has almost everything you would need, and while prices are more than you would pay at, say, Walmart, the markups were not bad at all.
In addition to swimming, we bought inner-tubes and floated down the river since it flowed really gently. Personally, I only did this once, but our group floated 4 times in total, I think. I had never floated a river before, and I have say it was fun, and actually a pretty good workout.
The tubes were a big hit with the kids, especially when they weren’t floating on water:
Overall, we had a great time, and I would highly recommend Sam A. Baker if you’re traveling to Missouri! The rates were comparable to other sites (running about $23/night) and for that price we were very, very happy!
You can check out Sam A. Baker at their website: Missouri State Parks/Sam A Baker State Park.
Have you ever camped at Sam A Baker? Was your experience positive or negative?
Til Next Time,
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