Just an hour and a half outside of St. Louis, Madison County, MO, is mainly filled with beautiful national forests and offers many places where you can enjoy the great outdoors. There’s fishing, hiking, camping, and even a beautiful golf course to spend your weekends or plan a special event.
Millstream Gardens Conservation Area
This is a 916-acre conservation area halfway between Fredericktown and Arcadia. Although it is a conservation area, you are allowed to hunt and fish in Millstream Gardens. You, of course, need all the permits and stay within statewide regulations. There are restrooms around the parking areas and a few trails that can be a lovely day hike. You could also practice your archery at their archer field shooting range. Near the river is a boating ramp where you can bring your boat and spend the day on the water or go fishing.
Silver Mines Recreation Area
Silver Mines is precisely as it sounds, an old mine where they harvested silver, tungsten, and lead in the early 1807s. At the recreation area, there are three camping loops with 66 individual sites and nine double sites. Eleven of those have electricity, but the rest are primitive, but every site has a table, fire ring, lantern post, and parking spur. Drinking water and vault toilets are centrally located on the campground for campers to share. Kayakers can easily bring kayaks and enjoy the St. Francois River.
There is a group campsite which can be reserved and will accommodate 100 people. This could be an excellent place for family reunions or a celebration camping weekend.
Marble Creek Recreation Area Campground
Marble creek runs 20 miles through St. Francis Mountains and makes an ideal location for a stunning campground. At the Marble Creek Recreation Area Campground, you can see and explore the remains of a gristmill dam operated in 1935 and used the pink granite that is so abundant in the area. All the campsites have a table, fire ring, and lantern post for campers to use and make their stay more enjoyable. Vault toilets are available, and always remember to pack out your trash. You can fish and swim in Marble Creek, and some of the campsites are close enough to the water where you don’t even have to walk far.
There is also a section of the Ozark Trail nearby where you can hike and enjoy the beautiful landscape around you.
Castor River Shut-Ins
Shut-ins are narrow cuts that water makes through hard rock. The Castor River carved these shut-ins out, and now visitors can enjoy the beautiful pink granite while also going for a swim. The walking trail down to the shut-ins is about a 1/4 mile and easy enough for almost anyone to walk down and enjoy the scene. Once there, you can enjoy the view or get in the water and go for a swim. There is some shallow pools ideal for smaller children as well. The Castor River has a few small waterfalls you can enjoy but if you’re there for a picnic, know that there are no picnic tables, trash can, bathrooms, or drinking water. So you will have to bring all your stuff and have a lovely picnic on the ground and don’t forget to pack out your trash.
Beaver Valley Golf Club
If hiking and swimming and fishing aren’t you’re idea of fun, you might enjoy the Beaver Valley Golf Club nestled in the Ozark Mountains. They have multiple membership options where you can enjoy 9 hole or 18 hole golf games. They also have a full kitchen with serving windows where you can enjoy lunch or dinner before or after your golf game. Beaver Valley also hosts tournaments that you can enter, and you can improve your equipment bag at the golf shop at the clubhouse.
Their banquet hall is available for rent for wedding receptions, parties, or business meetings. It has beautiful views that can’t be beaten and just might inspire you to host your next big event there.
Within just a short drive from St. Louis, you can be in beautiful Madison County, MO, where there is a lovely national forest to enjoy, fishing to be done, and golf to be played.