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Missouri State Parks Join #OptOutside Movement

Missouri State Parks offer 91 parks and historic sites for visitors, and some are planning holiday events. (Ajay Suresh/Flickr)
Missouri State Parks offer 91 parks and historic sites for visitors, and some are planning holiday events. (Ajay Suresh/Flickr)
November 29, 2019

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Black Friday marks the start of the holiday shopping season – however, some Missourians are choosing to skip the deals and discounts in favor of time spent in the great outdoors.

The #OptOutside campaign, now in its third year, encourages Americans to take advantage of their day off work to enjoy Mother Nature with their loved ones.

And David Kelly, deputy director of Missouri State Parks, encourages folks to take advantage of the landscapes, trails and historic sites that the park system offers.

"A lot of folks do like to go Black Friday shopping,” he states. “That's great, but it's a good opportunity, if you're done, to get outside and explore some of our great state parks."

Missouri State Parks has a #ShopCampTour event Friday with free tours at historic sites, as well as a coupon for a future visit for anyone who camps out Friday night at a state park.

Missouri is one of only eight states in the nation without an entrance fee for its state parks.

There are 91 state parks and historic sites throughout the state. They include gristmills, covered bridges and battlefields.

Kelly says there's something for everyone, even in colder temperatures.

"So, if they're camping, they can still find flush toilets, hot showers,” he points out. "A lot of our days parks, like Rock Bridge and Ha Ha Tonka, are very popular for hiking this time of year. And some of our state historic sites are decorated this time of year for the holiday season, so it's always a great experience to go out to some of our holiday events."

The state parks provide an estimated $1 billion annually to Missouri's tourism industry. More than 12,000 people visited a state park facility in 2017.

Mary Schuermann Kuhlman, Public News Service - MO