Originally, the National Park Service (NPS) planned five organized group camps at Knob Noster State Park; however, over the course of the park's planning and development period, the NPS and Works Progress Administration (WPA) workers created two camps: Camp Bobwhite and Camp Redbird, which was later renamed, Camp Shawnee.
No known records show why the NPS and the WPA decided on two camps. Based on an operational and funding standpoint, two camps offered the the most effective use of the park's land. Five organized camps would have strained the park's resources too thin over the following decades. With two organized camps, park staff and volunteers were able to maximize their ability to maintain the facilities.
Camp Bobwhite has been used by groups every year since its inception in 1946. The only noteworthy exception was during 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic closed both camps to ensure the safety of park visitors. When the camps reopened in 2021, additional safety and health precautions were taken to ensure visitor safety.
Camp Bobwhite was originally constructed with structures similar to Camp Shawnee. The cabins had been constructed into smaller units that were spread out throughout the entire camp. In the late 1970s, Missouri State Park staff decided to remove many of the original cabins and replace them with the current barracks-style cabins. There are now six 24-person cabins and one 10-person infirmary. This change allowed Camp Bobwhite's structures to become more localized for large groups as compared to Camp Shawnee.
The camp remains a popular destination for a variety of nonprofit youth groups, family reunions, weddings and other approved organizations. Reservations must be made in advance by contacting the park's office or by making an online reservation.