Highway 21 in Southeast Missouri has many parks and attractions to visit in a relatively short distance.
Just south of Desoto is Washington State Park with trails, campgrounds, a swimming pool, and the Big River to swim or canoe in.
Going south from there is Potosi, where just down the road to the right on Highway 8 is the Mark Twain National Forest with the Berryman Trail and Campground, the Brazil Creek Campground, and the Hazel Creek Campground all on the Ozark Trail.
South of Potosi on 21 is Bootleg Conservation Area with hunting, camping, and hiking.
Still going south and turning east onto Highway M is Hughes Mountain Natural Area with a trail that takes you to the top of the mountain to a place that looks like you are on the moon.
Continuing south on Highway 21 is the town of Caledonia with antique shops and an old time general store that is worth the stop.