Apr 27 2011

Family-Friendly Campgrounds

Although you wouldn’t know it by the weather, May is right around the corner, and with that comes the end of school and the beginning of summer fun.

It also means it’s time for me to get the camper ready for some weekend getaways.

Camping is somewhat of a last-minute activity for our family, as my husband’s farm schedule is busy in the summer and he doesn’t know much ahead of time when he can sneak away for a few days.  This means that we likely won’t be found camping on Memorial Day weekend or the fourth of July because we just can’t make firm enough plans to count on reservations at those busy times.  On the other hand, we’ve found some good campgrounds with availability even at the last-minute.  Here are some we’ve enjoyed in the past few years:

Sibley State Park:This state park near New London, Minnesota, offers a just-right combination for us:  camping near a lake, bike trail, swimming area, fishing pier, and naturalist programs.  Climb up to the Mt. Tom lookout for beautiful views of the Glacial Lakes area.

Lake Shetek State Park: Another campground near a lake, this one features a beach area and canoe rentals.  Kids will like the playground, and there are plenty of nature trails.  A six-mile walking/biking trail leads to nearby Currie, Minnesota, for provisions, refreshments, or a stop at the End-O-Line Railroad Museum.

Fort Ridgely State Park:  Located near Fairfax, Minnesota, the campground here features nicely-separated sites carved out of the trees.  The state park features a history museum, playground, and nine-hole golf course.  A bike path runs from the park to Fairfax, and there are plenty of hiking trails within the park.

Skip-a-Way Resort:  This campground in Clermont, Iowa, sits along the Turkey River.  Go fishing or swimming in the Quarry Lake, or play a round of mini golf adjacent to the camp office and restaurant.  There are two playgrounds for kids.  Clermont and the surrounding area have plenty to do, with museums, a late-summer corn maze, and more.  Take a day-trip to explore Decorah or Dubuque.  We went in late August, when kids in Iowa were already back in school, and had much of the campground to ourselves.

Kiesler’s Campground:  Kiesler’s is a full-service campground in Waseca, Minnesota.  Our kids loved the mini-golf, the swimming pool, and fishing from the pier, as well as biking around Clear Lake.  spend part of a day at the nearby Farmamerica interpretive center or head into Owatonna to explore.


This summer, we have our eye on a camping resort near Park Rapids, and would like to spend time in some more Minnesota state parks.  Do you have a favorite campground?

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4 comments so far

4 Comments to “Family-Friendly Campgrounds”

  1. Jenny on 09 Jun 2011 at 1:41 pm

    I think you would really like Itasca State Park. We went last weekend and there were a ton of families. There are bike trails, a swimming beach, the Mississippi headwaters, boat rentals, boat ride around Lake Itasca and hiking. They also had a family restroom in the campground, which I haven’t noticed at other state parks.

  2. [...] We inquired about resorts in the area that had what we were looking for–swimming, fishing, family-friendly–and if they had camping spots available, even better.  After telling us about several [...]

  3. [...] Family-friendly campground [...]

  4. Susan on 10 Aug 2013 at 10:08 pm

    Whitewater State Park! A beach, easy trails, hard trails, very wooded in bluff country. A remarkable lack of mosquitoes every time we go. Often busy because its a great park. I don’t think there are cabins, but lots of opportunities for car camping (tent or camper) and some primitive camping too.

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