Blake Walsh

15 Best Things to Do in Bonne Terre, MO

  • Published 2022/08/15

When you think about Missouri, you’ll immediately think of St. Louis and Kansas City.

It’s pretty natural to think about big-name cities when you think about a state.

However, there’s so much more to Missouri than just its two biggest cities.

The Show-Me state is also filled with small towns and cities, each with its unique charm and attractions.

Bonne Terre is one of them, and it’s worth a visit.

This place is a quaint city in St. Francois County, known for its lead and zinc mining heritage.

However, there’s much more to this town than just its mining history.

Bonne Terre is home to several attractions, from outdoor activities to historical sites and places you can explore.

Here are the best things to do in Bonne Terre, Missouri:

Explore Nature at St. Francois State Park

A stream flowing at St. Francois State Park

Hannah Barger /

Bonne Terre is well-known for its outdoor attractions and activities.

One of the best places to start is at St. Francois State Park.

This park is the perfect place to spend a day and experience nature at its finest.

Located five miles north of downtown Bonne Terre, the Saint Francois State Park is a vibrant state park with thick forests, active streams, and long, winding hiking trails.

A young man hiking at St. Francois State Park

Adam McCleary /

St. Francois State Park is the ultimate outdoor destination.

It offers outdoor activities like trail hiking, camping, horseback riding, fishing, picnicking, swimming, RV camping, boating, and more.

You can also find several historical sites inside the park, including an old lead mining site, now a National Historic Landmark.

If you’re looking for the ultimate outdoor experience, you can find everything you need at St. Francois State Park.

A brown frog merged with the dry leaves at St. Francois State Park

Danita Delimont /

Explore Space at the Space Museum

The Space Museum in downtown Bonne Terre is one of the unique attractions in Missouri.

It’s a great place to learn about space science and space exploration’s history (and future).

The Space Museum opened in 2003, featuring a collection of items and artifacts from Museum President Earl Mullins.

He has collected space memorabilia for over 50 years.

Today, he shares his collection with the public through the Space Museum.

The museum is home to several exhibits, including an Apollo space suit, a moon rock, and a replica of the Apollo 11 command module.

The Space Museum also offers space-themed programs and events, such as stargazing nights and rocket-building workshops.

Whether you’re a space enthusiast or want to learn more about space science, the Space Museum is worth a visit.

Check Out the Grissom Center

The Grissom Center is the latest Space Museum extension, adding new features.

This new center gets its name from astronaut Virgil “Gus” Grissom, born in nearby Mitchell, Indiana.

Grissom was a member of the Mercury Seven, a group of military test pilots who were the first American astronauts.

He later became the second American to reach space and the first to reach space twice.

Established in 2019, the Grissom Center features several new exhibits, including a mock-up of Grissom’s Liberty Bell 7 capsule and a replica of his Gemini 3 spacecraft.

It also has several interactive displays, such as a moon rock you can touch and a Mars rover you can drive.

The Grissom Center is an excellent addition to the Space Museum, another must-visit facility for any space science or history buff.

If you’re planning to visit the Space Museum, add the Grissom Center to your itinerary.

Go on a Camping Trip at Cherokee Landing

The Cherokee Landing is a great place to go camping, fishing, or hiking.

It’s along the banks of the Big River and offers several different camping sites.

From standard campgrounds to RV sites and cabins, there’s something for everyone at Cherokee Landing.

It is a great place to relax and enjoy the outdoors while also enjoying proximity to Bonne Terre’s amenities.

There are also several different hiking trails, which range from easy to challenging.

You can also explore the river by canoe, kayak, or float trip.

The nearby Big River has several great fishing spots, and you can also buy supplies at an on-site store.

Cherokee Landing is a great place to escape the stressful city life.

Enjoy some time in nature without even going too far from downtown Bonne Terre.

Watch a Baseball Game at the Dairy Field

The Dairy Field is Bonne Terre’s local baseball stadium, under the Bonne Terre Baseball Association.

It’s on Church Street, the home of the Raiders, North County High School’s baseball team.

The stadium can accommodate up to 1,000 people and is a great place to watch a game.

There’s also a concession stand selling a variety of snacks and drinks.

If you’re a baseball fan, check out a game at the Dairy Field in Bonne Terre.

Local tournaments open throughout the year, drawing visiting teams from other parts of Missouri.

Go on an Adventure at the Bonne Terre Mine

Mining equipments kept outside the Bonne Terre Mine

Serge Melki from Indianapolis, USA, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Bonne Terre Mine is a National Historic Landmark and the most iconic tourist attraction in Bonne Terre.

In addition, it currently holds the title of the largest freshwater dive resort in the world.

Founed in 1860, the Bonne Terre Mine was a lead and zinc mining operation.

It was the largest lead ore producer until it closed in 1962.

They later converted it into a dive resort in the 1970s.

It’s a popular destination for scuba divers and non-divers alike.

Interior of Bonne Terre Mine

robertstinnett from Boonville, MO, USA, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Bonne Terre Mine is a beautiful and unique place due to its history and stunning underwater scenery.

It’s perfect for those who love adventure since you can do several different activities, such as cave boating, scuba diving, and snorkeling.

There are also several different tours you can take offering an insight into the history of the Bonne Terre Mine as a lead mining operation.

Shop for Gifts at the Fancy Crow

Located in downtown Bonne Terre, the Fancy Crow is the city’s premier gift shop.

It’s a great place to find unique gifts for your friends, family, or yourself.

The Fancy Crow offers different items, home decor, clothes, jewelry, and more.

They also have a great selection of Missouri-themed gifts, such as T-shirts, coffee mugs, keychains, and more.

Moreover, this boutique is unique because local artists and crafters make the items they sell.

Not only do they sell high-quality items, but they also showcase the skills and talents of the craftspeople and artisans in Bonne Terre.

If you’re looking for a unique and memorable gift, check out the Fancy Crow.

Go for a Swim at the Bonne Terre City Pool

Bonne Terre can get hot, especially during the summer.

If you’re looking for a place to cool off, head to the Bonne Terre City Pool.

The pool is open to the public, a great place to take a dip, relax, and enjoy the summer weather.

You can also enjoy several pool toys and floats, so your kids can have fun in the water even if they don’t know how to swim.

If you want a more private swimming session, the Bonne Terre City Pool also offers private pool parties.

You can also make reservations for functions and other types of gatherings.

Regardless of your purpose, the Bonne Terre City Pool is a great place to spend a hot day.

Make your time there memorable by bringing your friends and family with you.

Go People Watching at the Bonne Terre City Park

With a population barely reaching over 7,000, Bonne Terre has a small community composed of locals who have lived here for generations and newcomers.

You can meet the people of Bonne Terre by spending some time at the Bonne Terre City Park.

Located beside the Bonne Terre City Pool, the city park is a popular gathering place for locals.

It’s also a great place to watch people.

You can also bring a picnic lunch and enjoy the scenic view of the park.

If you feel more adventurous, there are also several short hiking trails that you can explore.

The Bonne Terre City Park also has many other amenities, including playgrounds, tennis courts, basketball courts, and picnic tables.

You can also go on an ADA swing, disc golf, barbecue pits, and more.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Go on a Hiking Adventure at the Swimming Deer Trailhead

The Swimming Deer Trailhead is the ultimate hiking trail in Desloges, Missouri, 12 minutes from Bonne Terre.

It’s a long trail loop that passes by the Big River, the nearby hillside, and returns to its original starting point.

The trail gets its name from a deer known to swim across the river to get to the other side.

Authorities advise hikers to take the loop in a clockwise direction to experience the entire trail.

The Swimming Deer Trailhead is a great place to hike, especially during the fall season when the leaves change colors, as it offers a more scenic view.

You can also go fishing at the Big River or take a dip in the river to cool off during the summer months.

No matter when you visit, the Swimming Deer Trailhead is a great place to explore Bonne Terre’s natural beauty.

Explore Mooners Hollow

Mooners Hollow is a historical landmark in Deslodge, nine minutes from Bonne Terre.

It features a natural stream that flows through the hollow.

People say the stream has healing properties.

Mooners Hollow was once a popular destination for tourists who came to experience its therapeutic steam.

Nowadays, it’s a great place to take a relaxing stroll and enjoy the peacefulness of nature.

The trails and walkways are perfect for hiking and biking.

You can also sit on the benches available when you want to take a break and enjoy the scenic view.

Visit the Missouri Mines State Historic Site

Rusted architecture of Missouri Mines State Historic Site

Logan Bush /

Park Hills, Missouri, is a city just eight miles south of Bonne Terre and home to the Missouri Mines State Historic Site.

Likewise, the area is 15 minutes from Bonne Terre.

The site used to be an old lead mining town, now a museum and a popular tourist destination because of its rich history.

Missouri Mines State Historic Site in Park Hills

Logan Bush /

The Missouri Mines State Historic Site features exhibits that showcase the lead mining industry and the lives of the miners who used to live and work in Park Hills.

There’s also a collection of artifacts from the town’s mining days.

The Missouri Mines State Historic Site contains several artifacts about the area’s mining history, from old tools to equipment.

You can take a guided or unguided tour throughout the museum and can even ask the friendly staff any questions you may have about the place.

Water tank at Missouri Mines State Historic Site

Logan Bush /

Go on a Day Trip to the Critter Lane Petting Zoo

Nearby Valles Mines has something for families and animal lovers.

The Critter Lane Petting Zoo is a great place to visit if you want to get up close and personal with some cute and cuddly animals.

Likewise, this zoo is home to various animals, including llamas, potbelly pigs, peacocks, rabbits, and sloths.

You can find the Critter Lane Petting Zoo in Valles Mines, Missouri, 15 minutes from Bonne Terre.

Visitors can feed the animals, so bring some carrots or apples with you!

You can also take pictures with the animals or the scenic background of the petting zoo.

You and your kids will love this place!

After all, you don’t see or feed exotic animals every day.

Breath the Fresh Air at the Hughes Mountain Natural Area

Picturesque view of Hughes Mountain Natural Area

Homeschoolmomshop /

The Hughes Mountain Natural Area is a great place to escape the noise and pollution of city life and appreciate nature’s beauty in its glorious form.

The area is in Irondale, Missouri, 28 minutes from Bonne Terre.

Likewise, it sits on a scenic mountain top.

This nature preserve is home to forests, meadows, and streams.

Rock formations at Hughes Mountain Natural Area

Homeschoolmomshop /

It’s also a great place to go hiking as plenty of trails are open for exploration.

There’s an on-site vineyard and winery, which only adds to the overall experience.

The Hughes Mountain Natural Area is a great place to unwind, relax, and appreciate the simple things in life.

Landscape of Hughes Mountain Natural Area

Homeschoolmomshop /

Play Golf at the Crown Pointe Golf Club

Nearby Farmington, Missouri, has an active golf scene.

The Crown Pointe Golf Club is one of the city’s best places to play golf.

You can find it 13 minutes from Bonne Terre.

The course is on a stunning field with beautiful views of the surrounding landscape.

It’s also a great place to play if you’re a beginner, as it offers plenty of challenges but is also forgiving enough to push you to keep trying.

It’s also a prime destination for seasoned pros who want to work on their game or those who want to play in a more relaxed setting.

The Crown Pointe Golf Club is one of the best places to play golf in Bonne Terre.

If you’re joining a tournament, stay at the Crown Pointe Lodge, the on-site lodging facility.

Final Thoughts

Bonne Terre is a great place to visit if you want a unique and memorable experience.

There’s plenty to do in the city, from visiting museums and historical sites to watching a baseball game or enjoying the great outdoors.

The nearby areas aren’t too shabby either, as there are plenty of things to do in Park Hills, Farmington, and Irondale.

What are you waiting for?

Book your trip today and discover the best things to do in Bonne Terre!

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