Adventure On A Budget Columbia, MO - Parks - The Turning Gear

Columbia, Missouri Adventure On A Budget
Part 1 – Parks

DARREN HAYS 08.20.2018

Columbia Missouri is a growing college town with tons of cheap or free things to do if you know where to look. The town offers a wealth of fun activities for all age groups. No matter what your interests are Columbia probably has something for you! In this series I will provide information on some amazing places to visit in Columbia without breaking the bank.

Columbia, MO has over 70 parks and recreational areas spanning over 3000 acres! Parks provide an escape into the beauty of nature as well as a space for sports and exercise. Below is a list of a few of my favorites in the area.

  • Rock Bridge Memorial State Park
    • 5901 South Hwy 163, Columbia, MO 65203
    • Rock Bridge is hands down my favorite park in the city. Nestled on the outskirts of the south side of Columbia, this sprawling 2000+ acre state park is jam packed with trails, playgrounds, campsites, creeks, scenic overlooks, caves, and picnic areas making it the perfect getaway for a few hours or a few days!
  • Stephens Lake Park
    • 2001 E Broadway, Columbia, MO 65201
    • Conveniently located just blocks away from downtown, Stephens Lake Park is another of my personal favorites. Stephens offers two paved paths for running or walking, a swimming area, beach, spray park, three playgrounds, an amphitheater, and plenty of beautiful scenery. Stephens is also the venue for many great local events including the Roots and Blues BBQ and Art in the park.
  • Peace Park
    • 401 S 9th St, Columbia, MO 65201
    • Located in downtown Columbia right in the middle of MU campus. Great place to take a stroll or catch up on some reading.
  • Columbia Cosmopolitan Recreation Area
    • 1615 W Business Loop 70, Columbia, MO 65202
    • Cosmo is the largest park within city limits with tons of things to do. The park contains a 28,000 square foot concrete skate park, a golf course, football fields, horseshoe pits, soccer fields, tennis courts, volleyball courts, a roller hockey rink, a handful of hiking trails, and an RC car track!
  • Shelter Gardens
    • 1817 West Broadway, Columbia, MO 65203
    • Very relaxing spot with amazing scenery. Excellent place to enjoy a peaceful walk or meditate among the many gardens and ponds.
  • Eagle Bluffs Conservation Area
    • 6700 W Rte K, Columbia, MO 65203
    • Beautiful winter destination to view bald eagles.
  • Finger Lakes State Park
    • 1505 E Peabody Road, Columbia, MO 65202
    • ATV park with motocross tracks, hiking trails, and swimming area.
  • Capen Park
    • 1600 Capen Park Dr, Columbia, MO 65201
    • 32 acre park with hiking trails, rock climbing bluffs, scenic views, and more. The park also contains the City of Columbia mulch site to drop off yard waste or pick up free mulch!

These are a few of my favorite parks in the Columbia area. Perfect places to spend some time away from the hustle and bustle and enjoy the great outdoors.

Make sure to check back in a few weeks for the next article in the series where I will list some of the best places in Columbia to go for live music and entertainment.



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