Aug 16 2011
This past weekend, we held a family get-together. Criteria for finding a park for the family gathering were as follows: a shelter for our meals, open areas for tossing a ball around, and possibly swimming. Because we wanted to use our camper a couple of times this summer, I looked for a park that also had a campground. We found a couple of places that fit the bill, but eliminated all of them for various reasons: shelters already reserved for other groups, campsites not reservable or full, or other reasons. In the end, I recommended Riverside Park in Springfield, Minnesota, to our family, and reserved a campsite at the adjacent Rothenburg Campground.
When I called for our reservation in June, the park was flooded by the Cottonwood River, but by the time we arrived for our mid-August adventure, the grass had been reseeded and there were no signs of the difficult spring the park endured. And best of all, there were NO MOSQUITOES. We played in the park by day and sat by the campfire at night, with nary a mosquito to be seen. That’s my kind of camping!
The lack of mosquitoes wasn’t the only good thing about this park; every time we discovered something new we remarked at how nice this park and campground were. Let’s see…
- The campground sites are nearly perfectly level, so camper setup is easy.
- Mature trees shade the campground, yet it’s not heavily wooded.
- A water/electric site is only $25/night. Sites with sewer hookups are a couple dollars more.
- While the campground is right next to the street that runs through the park, I heard no traffic overnight. (There was a train that went through town each night, however. I heard it, my husband did not.)
- There’s only one shower in the restroom building, but it was very clean and the water hot and steady.
- The city’s paved trail system runs through the campground.
- Severe weather information was posted prominently so that campers would know exactly what to do in case of a storm.
- Upon checkin, we received a packet of community information and coupons from local businesses.
- Springfield’s downtown is only two blocks away. We walked to the grocery store for bacon and enjoyed some goodies from the Saturday morning farmer’s market.
- Our shelter, #4, was large with a nice serving counter, including electrical outlets. The only downsides of the shelter were that there was no grill nearby, and the music from the pool bothered some family members. Other shelters in the park have different amenities and locations.
- There are two playground areas, one for tots and one for older kids. There’s a stop sign on the street between the playground and the campground so crossings were safe.
- The city swimming pool with waterslide is between the two playgrounds. Admission is $3/person.
- Springfield has three miles of paved trails, some of them running through the park. The loops and hubs of the trail are partly shaded, partly sunny, mostly level, and sections are lit by solar lamps at night. Be sure to look for the rusty old cars on the riverbank, and enjoy the path by the river.
- A disc golf course runs along the trail across the river from the campground.
- GoKart races are offered one summer weekend nights from 6-9:45. For $8, you get 20-30 laps around the course, and there are bleachers and concessions set up for those who wish to watch the races.
- The park has a softball field and tennis courts, as well as a skateboard park.
- Although there’s lots to do in the park, it’s compactly laid out, making it easy to move from one activity to another without moving your vehicle.
We really enjoyed our time in Springfield; we found the campground and park amenities to be similar to many resort-type campgrounds which command much higher nightly fees. It’s one of the nicest places we’ve camped, and we’ll definitely be returning.