Skip to main content

Tour of Missouri: Bennett Spring State Park

It does seem as if we make an annual trip to Bennett Spring State Park. We love the camping there and the fishing! This year we also planned a float trip down the Niangua River as we also try to take at least one float trip per year. 

Bennett Spring State Park is only a few hours from our home; making this a really reasonable drive. There are six total campgrounds and we prefer campground Number 2. The bathrooms/shower facilities are a little dated but the space the park gives you per camp-sight is worth it!

As we drove in we encountered a female deer and two fawns. I was happy to find that we encountered them several times during our stay. They even made an appearance during dinner on our first night. 

I wonder...does anyone else have to take American Girls along on their camping trips?

The Niangua River is a spring fed river so it is might chilly. It is rocky. And it is traditionally known as a party river because it is so close and accessible. While law enforcement officials have a strong presence on the river on the weekend, we decided that we still did not want to take a chance since we were canoeing with the young ones. We opted to float on a weekday. 

Bennett Spring State Park does rent canoe's but we opted to rent from Sands Spring Resort instead. They are conveniently located next to the park and they allow those over 21 to bring adult beverages along. Their staff were super friendly and even shared some fishing tips with The Husband on the drive home. 

We had been on the river less than five minutes and trouble hit. We ran the canoe into a rock, which The Husband and I were able to maneuver but it did let in some water. Moments later as we bumped into another rock and took in some more water, The Short Chic started freaking out because we had a "lobster" in the canoe.  Of course there was no lobster but instead a tiny crawfish but that did not stop The Short Chic from upsetting the balance of the canoe and tipping us over. The canoe hit my head, I hit the rocks, and my flip flops floated down stream. Man, we must have been one crazy sight!

Next year, she will get her own floating devise!  As much fear as she has over crawfish, she has no fear in other areas. The half way point to our float was this mud bank. The water below is super deep and allows for some safe cliff jumping. As soon as she saw the others jumping, The Short Chic wanted to jump too. We bargained with her to do the mudslide instead.  


(sorry about the sideways video. For the life of me I could not figure out how to rotate it on youtube!)

The rest of the float trip was uneventful. The Short Chic's friend showed her how to "body surf" down the rapids using their flotation devises. We encountered lots of wild life on the river; fish, crawfish, snakes, turtles, birds, and even a fawn.

After our fun day of foating, the men folk started fly fishing. We actually had seven fishermen in our group and they all managed to catch a few fish (even the newbie)! Our hope is that they catch enough to feed us one night and I think they all felt the pressure to preform. 

While the men folk fished on Saturday, we girls went for a hike. As we have found in other state parks, a lot of the trails are connected so we started on one path and found ourselves ending on another. I believe we tried to hike The Bridge Trail, switched over to the Bluff Trail, might have wondered onto the Whistle Trail and ended up taking the Spring Trail to the end. 

All-in-all, we hiked for nearly four miles, climbed one huge hill, and got ourselves completely eaten by chiggers!  One of the coolest parts was after climbing the really tall hill, we were able to spy our men folk fishing in the river below. 

Another cool site we saw was the actual spring. I love how the water changes colors and you know right were the spring is located. Spying this was practice for The Short Chic for bigger trips to come!

By the time we made it to the gauge house they were pretty exhausted of walking. Thankfully they thought the gauge house looked like Rapunzel's tower and were inspired enough to stop complaining for a few minutes. 

The park is full of rock spillways and dams and bridges. It is a very scenic park to be in. Everywhere you turn, you will find fishermen trying to catch a trout.

The water is crystal clear and while the fish may not bite your hook, it is a source of great frustration to the fisherman that they can see the fish they are so badly wanting to catch but at last are not biting!

Bennett Spring State Park also has a fish hatchery. They raise baby trout and release them every day. The girls love feeding the fish on our visits.

After three full days of fishing, the end of the weekend is near.  It comes time to rest and relax. Maybe the writing was on the asphalt all along!

The party sign caught a lot of attention at the state park campground! Even the camp host and park rangers stopped by to check on us. ( I should also say they came back later to praise our fish cooking skills!)

The party is really about frying up the mess of fish the group caught collectively.  It is also about telling fishing stories. Talking about how hard it is to catch that first fish after you start. Or what bait the fish responded to the best.  Mostly it is about having a good time on a Saturday night before you have to pack up and head home in the morning!

After dinner comes the adult time. Don't let the photo below fool you. The Boy maybe serving as bartender to the adults but that is where it stops. The Boy mixed up our "paint can" drink, which we women loved! We had a great time sipping on the paint can and playing Catch Phrase.

That night we had a bright full moon. On the way from the party camp-sight to our camp-sight the moon really caught my attention. I went in and grabbed my camera to take some photos of it. I am not sure this was the "super moon" we are expecting to see this year but it was worth visiting. 

As I was taking photos of the moon, The Boy was making a trip to the camper. He must have thought his mom had lost her mind for sitting in the road taking photos of the moon because he went back to the party camp-sight and told everyone still awake. 

The next thing I knew, The Husband had come over to drag me out of the camper because he had something to show me. These yahoo's heard I was snapping photos of the moon and they wanted me to see another type of moon....

They ya have it! May the moon shine brightly for you tonight too!

Missouri Miles Completed: 146
State Parks visited this year: 7 (our 4th one to spend the night in)
Number of Super Moons witnessed this summer: 6 :-)


  1. I may have accidentally commented twice--my apologies if so! I found your blog while looking for other people's posts about Bennett Spring. I'm reviewing the campground on the Campground of the Week podcast and was seeing what other people had to say about it since we have only stayed in campground #4. I loved seeing another Missourian's experiences at one of our local favorites! We are from the Springfield area. I also noticed that you mentioned Yellowstone. We are heading there soon, as well. Did you blog about it? I love seeing what other people's posts and getting a feel for what to do.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

My Weekend Project: A PVC Camping Lamp Post and Flag Holder

I have seen a few of these around campsites and I knew I would like to have one. The only problem that I had is The Husband.

He already thinks we drag too much stuff with us when we go camping and if I had told him my desire to have a PVC Camping Light Pole he would have shut it down quickly!

So, that leaves a girl with only one choice: Figure out how to do it by herself.

I did some internet searching and found a few road maps on RV forums. They seemed easy enough!

I visited the local hardware store for the supplies:

An exterior post lantern light2 inch PVC pipe (I used 5 feet but had to purchase a 10 foot piece)A 3 inch toilet flangeA 3 inch to 2 inch ReducerPVC GlueA 12 foot electric cord kit2 - 3/4 inch PVC Caps I also used a few supplies we already had on hand:

White Spray Paint

3 1/2 foot - 3/4 inch PVC PipeDrill Bits (1 inch and 1/2 inch)Tent Stakes

The first step was preparing the lantern light. I could only find black in the store and I knew I wanted all white. I covered the gla…

Liver Cheese: A Family Tradition

Today is an anniversary date. One of those dates you wish you did not have to remember but there is no way you can forget. 
Fifteen years ago today,two days after his birthday, my father died of lung cancer. He was a lifelong smoker and his cancer was aggressive. His battle was short. He fought for six short months after his diagnosis. He knew the chemo was not working and that his time was limited. When he came to this realization he became the best dad in the world. 
In the days before my father's passing, my family shared some memorable moments. One of those moments centers around the deli meat: Liver Cheese.I would not be surprised if you have never heard of it, or even never tasted it. But I was raised on it as it was one of my Dad's favorite things. 
What is it? Well, it is a German food that is actually called Leberkase. It is bacon, corned beef, pork, and onion that is ground together and baked. It comes with a lard ring around the meat {which kinda grosses me out, so …

Camping Activity: Wood Chip Necklaces

My worry in taking a wide range of kids camping is that the younger kids would be happy just playing together but the older ones, the one's in that awkward pre-teen/teen age, would think everything was so uncool they would just sit around and mope. So I designed a few activities that would hopefully get them up, participating, and moving.

 I came home from work a few weeks before the Family Camp-out and found my neighbors had trimmed their tree limbs and piled the mess in my yard. I refrained from getting angry. Over a nice dinner, I asked The Husband to help me with a little project.

He looked at me in disgust. I was pulling him away from ESPN to help with an unnecessary camping craft.

 I admit I did some begging. In the end, The Husband borrowed his father's chainsaw and decided to help me cut medallions out of a limb.  His mood started changing, quickly.{I then begged him to let me try my hand at the chainsaw, but he would not let budge on that one. I had to settle for hol…