Missouri’s 91 state parks have had a spike in visitor traffic during the coronavirus era. David Kelly, Deputy Director of Missouri State Parks, says workers and volunteers are keeping busy.

A scenic overlook at Ha Ha Tonka State Park near Camdenton, MO at the Lake of the Ozarks.

“What I’ve heard from some staff is like almost every weekend is like a holiday weekend,” he says. “So we’re seeing a lot more people. So far, the staff are holding up real well. We’ve got lots of good volunteers – our campground hosts. We couldn’t do it without our campground hosts and other volunteers.”

Ha Ha Tonka State Park in mid-Missouri’s Camdenton is a heavily-visited place, along with Meramec State Park near eastern Missouri’s Sullivan and the Current River State Park near southern Missouri’s Salem.

Kelly says camping reservations are also climbing as residents stay closer to home. Beginning July 1, all state campgrounds will be fully reopened. During the height of the coronavirus, the state restricted camping use and also closed four state parks.

Kelly says Missouri’s beaches are experiencing high-than-normal traffic.

“There are other swimming pools and other water activities in cities that are not open,” he says. “And so we’re seeing increased traffic at our beaches.”

Popular beaches include Stockton Lake in southwest Missouri, Lake of the Ozarks in mid-Missouri and Mark Twain Lake in northeast Missouri.

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