Rating: ⭐⭐⭐ Location: Peculiar, MO. Site Quality / Amenities: Asphalt roads and gravel sites. Some sites have trees for shade but most do not. Restrooms and showers, self-service laundry, activity room for card playing, puzzles, or darts. This is an old KOA park but it has been updated and is nicer than most KOAs. Type: Commercial Park Access: Easy access 27 miles south of downtown Kansas City along Interstate 49. Staff: Friendly family owned park. Cellular/Wi-Fi: Good AT&T and Verizon service. There was high speed WiFi per the park but we didn’t use it. Restaurants: We ate at Merle’s American Tavern in Peculiar at the recommendation of the park staff but only found the food to be so-so. We’d probably look elsewhere if we stay in the area again. Nearby parks: We didn’t look at any other parks in the area. What we liked: Clean, well run park. What we didn’t like: Sites are somewhat close together and are gravel. Some of the interior roads are a bit narrow but were doable even with a large rig. Our truck alarm went off several times although I don’t believe anyone was actually doing anything to it. This is only the second time something like that has happened. Verdict: This is a nice park for a one or two night stopover when travelling through the area and we’d stay here again.
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐ Site Quality: Gravel roads and pads. Our site was long for our rig and truck but just barely. We were at the end of the row so we could park behind our rig without blocking anyone else or we could park in front if we hooked up. Any other site might be a problem. Sites are close together with a picnic table for each. Type: Commercial Park Access: Just off Interstate 49 south of Carthage, MO. Access is not difficult, but it’s not straightforward either. It takes a bit of planning prior to arrival. Staff: Staff interaction was good but minimal. We came in on a Sunday and the office was only open from 10AM until noon. They allowed us to arrive before noon so we could check in while the office was open. If closed, they have standard after hours procedures we could have followed. Amenities: Dump station, laundry, restrooms with showers, playground, horseshoes, common fire pit, rally barn. Free cable TV. Propane on site. Cellular/WiFi: Verizon service was 3 bars on our phones and our data rate exceeded 50 Mbps. AT&T was about 6.75 Mbps. They had WiFi but we did not use it. What we liked: Decent price with Good Sams – ~$32/night. Close to Walmart, gas stations and restaurants. Carthage looked like it would be a good place to explore for a week but we only had one night. No road or train noise. What we didn’t like: Sites are all pull-thru and are close together. Verdict: This was a decent park and we wouldn’t have any problem staying here again but we would probably try one of the other parks in the area next time to see of we could get a longer site and/or a bit more space between sites.
Johnson’s Shut-Ins State Park is nestled in the St. Francois Mountains of eastern Missouri and nearby to the Taum Sauk Mountain which is the highest point in Missouri – a whopping 1,772 feet above sea level! The Shut-Ins is a type of rock formation found in streams where they carve through a mountain range, creating rivulets, rapids and plunge pools. These rock formations resist erosion and are confined to a narrow valley or canyon, with the river valley widening out both above and below. The Johnson’s Shut-In has clear, cool water, deep pools throughout with many waterfalls as the water works its way thru the rocks and a large deep pool area at the end. The river is unnavigable, even by canoe, due to the rapids and narrow channels. It was another rainy day as we walked the trail around the shut-in and watched brave people jumping into the deep pools of water from the high rocks surrounding the river. Even though the water was so clear they were a lot braver than us! The Ozarks are simply beautiful and we were anxious to see more. The trail continued straight up the side of the mountain but because of the very slippery mud we turned around and decided to play it safe stay on the lower trail along the river.
We stayed here for two weeks in June of 2019 while visiting Anna’s uncle John. This is a good alternative to the KOA where we have stayed before as it is lower cost and much closer to John’s house. The park has been here since the 1940’s and is primarily designed for mobile homes but they have included sites for short term stays in RV’s and for longer term stays (over a month) you would be placed on a mobile home site. Mobile homes in the park range from very well kept to some being in need of some TLC but overall the park has aged well unlike most mobile home parks.
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Location: Branson, Missouri Site Quality: Asphalt roads throughout the park with gravel pull thru and back in spots. Type: Commercial Access: From highway 65, take the highway 76 Country Blvd exit (center lane to turn then get into the left lane as soon as possible) then go 1.2 miles West to Fall Creek Rd (Yellow route south). Go left (south) 1.6 miles then take a slight left onto River Valley Rd. Follow the signs to the campground. Even though this goes into Branson on highway 76 it’s not too bad even with a big rig. The road is hilly and busy but you turn off before the main area of Branson attractions. Staff: Friendly and helpful but at times a bit odd. The did look out for us and move us to higher ground before potential flooding rains which was great but sometimes seemed to have a bit of a negative disposition. Overall, more positive than negative. Amenities: Cable TV, pool (2 but only one was open), store, laundry facilities along with showers and restrooms, horseshoes, basketball court, tornado shelter. Marina on site with fishing and boat rental opportunities. There are also cabins for rent and a playground for kids. Cellular/WiFi: AT&T and Verizon 1 bar (phones) with decent speeds (6 Mbps Verizon / 5 Mbps AT&T) when using the booster. WiFi was available but we did not use it. What we liked: Felt safe and secure. Our sites (#84 and #8) had lots of shade from large trees. What we didn’t like: Satellite did not work but only because of the shade trees. Free CATV is included so that was an alternative. Speed limit is 5 MPH but many people were going through the park at least at 20 MPH.