This Missouri Cave Tour Might Be The Best In The Entire US

Picture a place where giant rock spikes reach up from the ground and water drips from pointy rocks on the ceiling. 

That’s what you see at Onondaga Cave State Park in Missouri. 

Credit: Instagram: @gdavis0217

This park isn’t just about the cool caves below the ground – there are a ton of fun things to do above ground too!

What To Do In Onondaga Cave State Park

Explore the Caves: Onondaga Cave Tours

Credit: Instagram: @gdavis0217

The main attractions of the park are the Onondaga Cave tours.

The park offers tours of Onondaga Cave and Cathedral Cave, where visitors can see amazing rock formations and learn about the cave’s history, which goes back to when Native Americans were the only people in the area.

The Sights You’ll See

One of the most exciting parts of the tour is the Lily Pad Room, found inside Onondaga Cave. 

Credit: Instagram: @fjellengel

This room is famous for its water-filled basin that has stone “lily pads” — flat rocks that look like the leaves of a lily floating on the water. 

The reflections and the natural beauty of this room make it a magical spot that feels like another world.

During the tour, you can expect to see stunning stalactites and stalagmites, which are pointy rocks that hang from the ceiling and grow from the floor. 

The caves are also home to cool, clear streams and pools that add to the underground scenery.

You’ll also see amazing rock formations with fun names like the King’s Canopy and the Twins. 

Credit: Instagram: @selfishhoneysuckle

These tours are perfect for cooling off on a hot day, as the cave stays cool at 57 degrees all the time. 

The path is smooth and easy to walk on, and it’s bright inside, so it’s great for families or anyone who wants to try something new and exciting.

Booking A Tour

Booking a tour at Onondaga State Park is easy. You can reserve a spot online or at the park’s visitor center. 

The tours are available from spring through fall, and the cost varies depending on the length and type of tour. 

Standard tours are affordable, and there are discounts for kids, making it a family-friendly activity.

Get Moving: Hiking Trails

If you like being outside, you’ll love the hiking trails here. 

There’s a trail for everyone, from easy walks to more challenging hikes. 

Credit: Shirley Henderson / AT

The Deer Run Trail has some uphill parts and lets you look out over the river from high up. 

If you’re with little ones or just want a relaxed walk, the Blue Heron Trail is perfect. 

It’s flat and easy, and you can see a pretty spring and some old ruins along the way.

Play in the Water: Fishing and Canoeing

Credit: Steve Kovacs

The Meramec River flows right through the park, making it a great spot for fishing or canoeing. 

You have to bring your own boat or canoe, but it’s worth it for the peace and quiet and the chance to catch some fish. 

Credit: Instagram: @actualoutdoors

Even if you just want to sit by the river and relax, it’s a beautiful place to be.

Sleep Under the Stars: Camping Options

Want to stay overnight? The park has lots of camping spots. You can choose a simple spot or one with electric hook-ups if you’re bringing an RV. 

There’s plenty to do right in the camping areas, too, like playgrounds for the kids and special programs about nature that everyone can enjoy.

Learn and Shop: Visitor’s Center

Start your visit at the Visitor’s Center. You can learn about the cave and the park’s history, buy tickets for the cave tour, and even shop for souvenirs. 

Kids will love the “pay dirt” bags that let them hunt for gems and fossils right there at the center.

Picnic Time: Enjoy a Meal Outdoors

All around the park, you’ll find places to have a picnic. 

Some spots are right by the river, and others are tucked away in quiet parts of the park. 

You can bring a big group and use one of the large shelters with BBQ grills and electricity, or find a smaller, quiet spot if you’re just with a few people.

Before You Go

Here are a few tips to make your visit awesome:

  • Check the weather: Some activities are best enjoyed in good weather.
  • Book your cave tour in advance: The tours can fill up, especially in the summer, so it’s a good idea to get your tickets early.
  • Wear comfy shoes: Whether you’re exploring the cave or hitting the trails, good shoes will make your day more enjoyable.
  • Bring a jacket: The cave is cool, so a light jacket will keep you comfortable.
  • Pack a lunch: There are lots of great spots to eat outdoors, so bring some food and enjoy a picnic.

Final Note

Onondaga Cave State Park is packed with cool stuff to do, from cave tours to river fun. 

It’s a great place to make memories, whether you’re with family, friends, or on your own. Don’t miss out on this awesome adventure spot in Missouri!