15 Best Things to Do in Farmington, MO

Farmington, MO
fetrinka / shutterstock.com

Located 75 miles southwest of St. Louis is the small city of Farmington, the county seat of St. Francois County.

Farmington sits in the Lead Belt region of Southeastern Missouri, also known as the Southeast Missouri Lead District, a lead mining area that produces over 70% of the US lead supply, as well as significant amounts of zinc and other ore minerals.

The area was first called Murphy’s Settlement after William Murphy, a Kentucky native, arrived in the land to find a settlement area for his family.

In 1825, it was renamed Farmington, taking the name from its rich farmlands.

Farmington is surrounded by Missouri's finest state parks and is situated on the edge of the magnificent Ozark Mountains.

It boasts a park system that includes over 15 parks, golf courses, vineyards, community recreational activities, and hiking trails in and beyond the city limits.

Interested to know more about this place?

Here is a list of things to do in Farmington, Missouri:

Hike the Elephant Rocks State Park

Daytime view of Elephant Rocks State Park
Scott Sanders / Shutterstock.com

About a 28-minute drive from Farmington is the Elephant Rocks State Park, a park but with no actual elephants in the area.

So how did they come up with its name?

Established in 1967 in Belleview, the Elephant Rocks State Park is famous for its elephant-shaped granite boulders about a billion years old, which stand like a train of elephants in a circus.

Closer details of the rock formation at Elephant Rocks State Park
Sandra Sapp / Shutterstock.com

The rock formations are unique, sparking interest in geologists and those interested in past mining and quarrying.

Guests can enjoy rock climbing, trail exploration, and picnics under the scattered trees with views of the magnificent rocks.

What’s interesting is the Braille Trail, an easy trail for the physically handicapped, winding through the main rock formations allowing them to enjoy the park at their own pace.

Details of Elephant Rocks State Park's rock formation
Sandra Sapp / Shutterstock.com

Catch Fish at Giessing Lake

Located inside Engler Park is Giessing Lake, where fishing is permitted all year round during normal park hours.

This is an easy fishing spot good for children and families.

Here, you can catch black bass, catfish, sunfish, crappie, and trout with daily limits posted on a signage near the lake.

Catch and release for trout is during the colder months of November to January, with restrictions such as keeping trout, with which a permit is required.

Pole and line fishing are only allowed, and boats or motors are prohibited.

Taste Delicious Wine at the Twin Oaks Vineyard and Winery

If you love wine, then you’ve come to the right place.

Located at Highway F, the premier Twin Oaks Vineyard and Winery, owned by the Hutson family, was founded in 2000.

After years of cultivating their 180-acre farm with 25 acres of grapevines, it was in 2006 when the Hutson brothers, Andrew and Brian, crafted their first commercial wine.

Their wines are sold in more than 75 restaurants and shops.

Come taste their award-winning wines from their tasting room, patio, or Glass House, with spectacular views of their lake and vines.

Pick Berries at the Liberty Blueberry Farms

A fun activity the entire family can enjoy is fruit picking!

At Liberty Blueberry Farms, you can pick your own blueberries and blackberries.

The farm, located at Highway OO, has been in business for many years and has served thousands of visitors.

It is currently owned by couple Tom and Vickie Maxwell, who purchased the farm in 2021.

Picking days are limited and depend on seasonal availability.

The farm offers stunning sunsets, too, so plan your summer and make way for a fun-filled day at the Liberty Blueberry Farms with the entire family.

Splash Waters at the Farmington Water Park

Cool down during the summer season at the Farmington Water Park, a recreational water park located at Black Night Drive.

Slide down two of the giant slides, float on the 500-foot lazy river, play at the kids’ playground, or lounge around to get a tan under the sun.

This is a great venue for birthdays, anniversaries, and other special events.

The water park is open from Memorial Day to Labor Day.

Whatever floats your boat, Farmington Water Park’s amenities will bring out the inner child in you.

Work Out at the Farmington Community Civic Center

The Farmington Community Civic Center at Black Night Drive is your one-stop shop for fitness needs.

The center has two indoor pools, including a 6-lane lap pool and a leisure pool.

It has a gymnasium as huge as three full-sized basketball courts for games of basketball, tennis, and volleyball, an indoor track, an aerobics room, and a modern fitness center to suit any fitness level.

It also houses the Centene Center, an auditorium accommodating 800 seats for events such as concerts and plays.

The Farmington Community Civic Center is open throughout the year for residents and visitors of all ages.

Skate at the Farmington Skatepark

The Farmington Skatepark is the largest concrete skate park in Southeastern Missouri.

Located at Ste. Genevieve Avenue, Farmington Skatepark is open for all, free of charge.

This 30,000 square-foot outdoor park offers challenging features for beginners and advanced skaters.

It includes bowls, rails, spines, pyramids, a box mountain, and many more.

The park is unsupervised, so skate at your own risk if ever you decide to give this park a visit.

Play Golf at the Crown Pointe Golf Club

Those who love golf will love Crown Pointe Golf Club.

Located about an hour from St. Louis, this 208-acre golf course in Hunt Road was the old Eagle Lake Golf Club, which opened in 1993.

Thanks to Farmington’s scenic farmlands, rolling hills, and terrains, Crown Pointe Golf Club is considered one of Missouri’s most stunning golf courses.

This four-star golf course features an 18-hole, par-72, and 7,093 yard-length course.

If you want to stay longer, you can book a stay at the Crown Pointe Lodge located inside the premises with access to tennis courts and an indoor pool.

Walk around Engler Park

Engler Park has a bit of everything you need to keep yourself active.

Located along Vargo Road, this vast park has six soccer fields, six tennis courts, a baseball field, two playgrounds, an 18-hole disc golf course, hiking trails, two lakes, and a sanctuary.

It also has four pavilions and a venue for wedding ceremonies.

Engel Park is a perfect hangout place for sports, bonding over food, and a great location for couples, families, and friends who want to capture beautiful pictures together.

Walk around the park’s wide-open space and enjoy its greenery, fresh air, and its relaxing atmosphere.

Bike the Stanley M. Overall Bikeway Trail

Grab your bike and tour the beautiful city of Farmington through the Stanley M. Overall Bikeway Trail System.

Established in 2002, the bike trail was previously known as the Farmington Bikeway Trail System but was renamed in 2003 in honor of cyclist Stanley M. Overall Jr.

The main route is 7.75 miles, with several loops of varying distances.

The trail starts from the Farmington Community Civic Center with rest stops across different parks in the city, such as Hager Park, Engler Park, Jaycee Park, and Long Park.

There are other bike trails to choose from, allowing cyclists to enjoy the beautiful sceneries in and outside Farmington.

Bring Your Dog to the Farmington Dog Park

The City of Farmington has been thoughtful enough to include a park for furry animals among its park system.

The Farmington Dog Park, located along Vargo Road, includes plenty of room for small and large dogs to play around.

The area for small dogs is 12,500 square feet, while the area for large dogs is 25,000 square feet.

Safety rules and precautions are observed to ensure cleanliness as well as safety for all, dogs and owners included.

A “no man’s land” space is in between the small and large dog areas to prevent dogs from being aggressive at the boundary line.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Ride an Off-Road Vehicle at St. Joe State Park

People riding ATVs at St. Joe State Park
Kbh3rd, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Right outside of Farmington in the Old Lead Belt region of Park Hills is St. Joe State Park, one among two off-road vehicle parks in Missouri.

Located at Pimville Road, St Joe State Park is about a 10-minute drive from Farmington.

ATVs at St. Joe State Park
Kbh3rd, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Established in 1976, the park features camping sites, picnic areas, four lakes, and trails for hiking, biking, equestrian, and off-roading.

ORV (off-road vehicle) enthusiasts can enjoy the 2,000-acre trail through the sand flats and forested areas of the park.

So mount your bikes or vehicles, and zoom across the beautiful outdoors of St. Joe State Park.

A person riding an ATV at St. Joe State Park
Kbh3rd, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Tour the Majestic Bonne Terre Mine

Dubbed as USA Today’s 2016 Best Underwater Attraction and National Geographic’s One of America’s Top 10 Greatest Adventures, Bonne Terre Mine will exceed your expectations and awe you with its magical wonders.

Bonne Terre Mine is located in the city of Bonne Terre, about 20 minutes drive northwest of Farmington.

The mine, founded in 1860, was one of the earliest deep-earth lead mines in history, producing the largest lead ore in the world until it closed down in 1962.

The Bonne Terre Mine is one of the largest artificial caverns in the world, featuring the largest freshwater venue for scuba diving.

The mine consists of five levels, with the upper two lighted for one-hour walking tours, while the lower three form the lake and are illuminated by over 500,000 watts of lighting above the waters.

Boat tours and scuba diving are available, offering visibility down to 100 feet, where divers can see scaffoldings, pipes, pillars, and staircases of the historic mine.

Diving in the waters requires reservations and is done in groups of nine people with two guides.

The tour of the mine will give the impression of traveling back in time with its quiet, stillness, and eerie ambiance, but it’s a rare sight one should not miss when visiting Farmington.

Explore Space at the Space Museum and Grissom Center

The Space Museum and Grissom Center in Bonne Terre, located 18 minutes away from Farmington, will leave visitors in fascination with the space exploration world.

The museum is housed in a 5,000 square foot facility as a tribute to Gus Grissom, a Mercury 7 Astronaut.

The Space Museum opened in 2006, while the Grissom Center opened in 2019, an expansion of the museum due to its outgrowing collection.

The Space Museum and Grissom Center offers interactive displays, making it unique among other space museums.

It displays a comprehensive collection of world-class NASA artifacts showcasing the history of space exploration up to what it is today, also drawing inspiration for the future.

Some features include space suits, rocket engines, space programs such as the Artemis and Commercial Crew, the V-2 rocket invention, and many more.

Advance contact and reservation are required for school and group tours.

Visit the Crown Ridge Tiger Sanctuary

Come watch big cats play at the Crown Ridge Tiger Sanctuary located at Ste. Genevieve, about a 25 -minute drive from Farmington.

The sanctuary, founded in 2004, is a non-profit rescue and educational facility for big cats, certified by the Global Federation of Animal Welfare (GFAS).

A part of their mission is to rescue abused and neglected wild cats and provide them with the physical and mental care they need.

They also educate the public to end the wildlife crisis, such as private ownerships, entertainment purposes, and captive breeding.

The Crown Ridge Tiger Sanctuary accepts financial donations and has an Adopt-A-Cat Program where donations go to veterinary care, food, and other areas to keep the sanctuary in good living condition for the animals.

This is a great place for families, especially children, to learn about wildlife and how animals deserve to be treated with care and respect.

Final Thoughts

Farmington has its way of promoting an active lifestyle, and it’s made obvious through its park system, community center, and recreational activities centering on sports and fitness.

But Farmington isn’t only for those who like to work out a good sweat.

Its rich lands, history, and culture make it a great destination for any traveler.

Enjoy the beauty of Southeastern Missouri through Farmington’s scenery and suburban atmosphere, a tourist destination perfect for families and friends seeking a good balance of relaxation and adventure.