From expansive parks to serene rivers, St. Louis offers a variety of ways to enjoy the great outdoors. Here are the top spots to explore the natural beauty of this amazing city.

1. Forest Park

Forest Park is a gem of St. Louis, covering 1,300 acres and offering a plethora of outdoor activities. It’s not only one of the largest urban parks in the U.S. but also home to several major attractions. You can enjoy miles of walking and biking trails, paddle boating on the lake, and even golf at one of the park’s courses. During the summer, the Muny amphitheater hosts free outdoor musicals, making it a perfect spot for evening entertainment.

2. Missouri Botanical Garden

The Missouri Botanical Garden is a stunning oasis in the heart of the city. Founded in 1859, it is one of the oldest botanical gardens in the country. The garden features beautifully landscaped grounds, a Japanese garden, and the Climatron, a geodesic dome conservatory with a tropical rainforest inside. Special events like the Garden Glow during the holidays transform the garden into a wonderland of lights, making it a magical place to visit year-round.

3. Castlewood State Park

Located just outside St. Louis, Castlewood State Park is a haven for hikers and mountain bikers. The park offers miles of trails with varying difficulty levels, many of which provide stunning views of the Meramec River. The River Scene Trail is particularly popular, with its scenic overlooks and opportunities to spot wildlife. After a day of hiking, enjoy a picnic at one of the park’s many picnic areas.

4. Laumeier Sculpture Park

Laumeier Sculpture Park combines art and nature, creating a unique outdoor experience. Spanning 105 acres, the park features over 60 large-scale sculptures placed throughout its grounds. Visitors can walk the trails and discover art in a beautiful natural setting. The park also hosts events and exhibitions, making it a dynamic space that’s perfect for both art lovers and outdoor enthusiasts.

5. Katy Trail State Park

The Katy Trail is a 240-mile-long trail that stretches across Missouri, following the path of the old Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad. In St. Louis, you can access the trail at various points and enjoy a day of biking or hiking along the scenic Missouri River. The trail is well-maintained and offers plenty of spots to stop for a rest or a picnic. It’s a great way to experience the natural beauty of Missouri while getting some exercise.

6. Meramec Caverns

Just a short drive from St. Louis, Meramec Caverns offers an underground adventure. These stunning limestone caves are filled with breathtaking formations and rich history. Guided tours take you through the caverns, highlighting the unique geology and the stories of the outlaws who once used the caves as a hideout. After exploring the caverns, you can enjoy zip-lining, riverboat rides, and more outdoor activities in the surrounding area.

7. Lone Elk Park

Lone Elk Park is a wildlife management area where you can see elk, bison, and other wildlife up close. The park offers a drive-through experience, allowing you to observe these majestic animals in their natural habitat. There are also hiking trails and picnic areas, making it a great spot for a family outing. Bird watchers will enjoy the variety of bird species that can be seen throughout the park.

8. Creve Coeur Lake Memorial Park

Creve Coeur Lake Memorial Park is a large park featuring the biggest natural lake in Missouri. The park offers a variety of recreational activities, including kayaking, canoeing, and paddleboarding on the lake. There are also miles of trails for walking, running, and biking. The park is a popular spot for picnics and has numerous shelters and pavilions available for rent.

9. Shaw Nature Reserve

Shaw Nature Reserve, located just outside St. Louis, is a beautiful area dedicated to the conservation and study of native plants and wildlife. The reserve offers several trails that wind through prairies, wetlands, and woodlands, providing a peaceful escape from the city. Educational programs and events are held regularly, making it a great place to learn about local ecology while enjoying the outdoors.

10. Jefferson Barracks Park

Jefferson Barracks Park is a historic park with a mix of outdoor activities and historical sites. The park features walking trails, picnic areas, and sports fields, as well as museums and monuments dedicated to the military history of the area. It’s a great place to explore both the natural beauty and the rich history of St. Louis.

St. Louis offers a wealth of outdoor activities that cater to all interests and ages. Whether you’re hiking the trails of Castlewood State Park, exploring the botanical wonders at the Missouri Botanical Garden, or enjoying a leisurely day at Forest Park, there’s no shortage of ways to connect with nature. Make the most of your outdoor adventures by staying in one of our comfortable vacation rentals in St. Louis. Our properties provide the perfect base for exploring the city’s natural beauty. Book your St. Louis vacation rental today and get ready to immerse yourself in the great outdoors!