Southeast Missouri State’s Cape Girardeau campus is one of the most beautiful in the state. Unfortunately, cabin fever can get to us all at some point, and you may find yourself looking for an escape to nature between all your classes and study sessions.

Thankfully, there are plenty of places around Cape Girardeau where you can hike, relax, stroll or play in the great outdoors to break up the day-to-day monotony. Here are the best outdoorsy spots in Cape Girardeau:

Cape LaCroix Recreation Trail


This paved trail measures 5.67 miles end-to-end and is perfect for walking, running or cycling. The trail passes through the Osage Center park and the Cape Woods Conservation Area, where you’ll likely see deer, birds and other wildlife. The trail also stretches through town, giving you access to shopping and restaurants. Choose to go the distance and trek the entire trail (and maybe ask a friend to come pick you up) or stick with your favorite section.

Cape Girardeau Conservation Nature Center


The Missouri Department of Conservation’s Nature Center in Cape Girardeau has great exhibits inside worth checking out, but the wooded trails behind the center are where you probably want to visit if you’re feeling particularly outdoorsy. Explore 2 miles of nature trails that wind through rolling river hills with sinkholes, ravines and deep hollows. Enjoy wildlife viewing areas and see how native plants provide habitat for various wildlife species. Don’t forget to wear your best hiking shoes and bring some water!

Cape County Park


Cape County Park is the place for anyone looking to slow down a bit. Walk on the winding, paved trails throughout the park, play disc golf, picnic, or fish in the stocked ponds (don’t forget your fishing license). Take a few minutes, an hour or a whole day to relax and enjoy the fresh air. There’s nothing quite as stress-relieving as basking in the sun on a nice day.

Cape Rock Park


Cape Girardeau is FULL of interesting history and Cape Rock is kind of what started it all. Hop in the car and head out to the big hill at Cape Rock Park to look over the Mississippi River and learn about French soldier and tradesman, Jean D. Girardot, Cape Girardeau’s namesake and the people who traveled through Cape Girardeau over 200 years ago.

Riverfront Park Walkway


This spot is a paved walkway right in downtown Cape Girardeau! You can walk or run the 1.25 mile trail along the Mississippi River, sit on the cobblestone to watch tugboats float by or cross the flood wall to see the murals and learn about the history of Cape Girardeau. While you’re there, treat yourself to lunch or ice cream at a downtown restaurant!