By Trent Jonas
One of the best ways to enjoy all the natural beauty that Minnesota has to offer is in the comfort of your RV. Not only do you get to commune with nature, you get to do it with a bed and a refrigerator. Who can argue with that? These are some our favorite places to park the RV and explore the North Star State.
If you want your RV camping experience to be more like a resort experience, Bluff Valley is the campground for you. Tucked along a meander in the Zumbro River, the campground has 275 good-sized sites. Standard sites are up to 2,000 square-feet, and premium sites are 4,200 square-feet or bigger. Bluff Valley has a regular schedule of activities that include all-you-can-eat pancake breakfasts, weekly karaoke, live music, and other events. A driving range, climbing wall, disc golf course, and tubing on the Zumbro River will ensure that you’re never bored while camping at Bluff Valley.
The Grand Marais Campground and Marina is located in the city limits, but stretches along the harbor and shore of Lake Superior. From the lakeside sites, you’d never know that you’re only blocks from the town’s quaint business district. A playground, as well as courts and fields, will keep sports-minded campers busy. Meanwhile, the adjacent forest and nature area, along with the Gitchi Gami State Bike Trail afford opportunities for campers to enjoy some of the North Shore’s natural beauty. The campground has 161 sites with full hook-ups, and another 82 with just water and electric. Wi-Fi and cable TV are also available at Grand Marais Campground and Marina.
Campers in the Brainerd Lakes area will love the North Woods, family feel of Fritz’s Resort and Campground in Nisswa. Tucked onto the east side of Lake Edna, the resort is a laid-back spot for campers who enjoy Minnesota lake life. A clean, sandy beach, boat rentals—fishing, pontoon, and paddle—and canoeing will help you enjoy it even more. Fritz’s Resort and Campground also has an air-conditioned recreation hall, where campers can pick up necessities, play pool, ping pong, or shuffleboard and get to know their neighbors.
Sometimes an RV campground can feel a bit crowded, but if you hook up at one of St. Croix State Park’s three campgrounds, you’ll have plenty of wide open space to explore. The park, the biggest in the state park system, sits at the confluence of two federally-designated Wild and Scenic Waterways: The St. Croix and Kettle Rivers. In addition to river-oriented activities, like fishing and canoeing, the park also offers a swimming beach on an inland lake, miles of hiking trails, and a fire tower that can be explored. A nature store and interpretive center are located within easy walking distance of all three campgrounds. Wi-Fi is available but its range is limited.
Campers looking for a little nature that’s close to attractions like the Mall of America or the Minnesota Zoo, need look no further than Lebanon Hills Regional Park. Although its situated among 2,000 acres of woods and lakes in the Twin Cities’ southern suburbs, Lebanon Hills feels like a million miles from civilization. A playground, camp store, and laundry facilities are available on site for those who don’t want to burst the illusion of being “someplace else.” Campers in the West Loop, however, can still get news of the outside world via Wi-Fi.