Sep 19 2011
For the past several years, we’ve enjoyed a week “at the lake” with my husband’s family at Sunset Shores Resort near New London, as well as a few weekends spent camping with just the six of us. This year, the resort didn’t work out with the whole gang, so we were left to our own devices to find our weekend getaways.
While attending an outdoors show in St. Cloud in the spring, we spoke with a representative of the Park Rapids, Minnesota, Chamber of Commerce. 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 resorts in the area that would fit the bill, Joe humbly mentioned that he was the owner of a resort as well. My husband asked him about the lake and the fishing, and we came home with a brochure, which led to a visit to the website, which led to a reservation, and finally, at the end of August, we made the trek up to Sleeping Fawn Resort.
It was truly a trip “up north” for us, as it was almost a five-hour trip from our home in southern Minnesota, but it was well worth the drive.
While Sleeping Fawn Resort has six “housekeeping” cabins, we chose to rent one of the campsites that are available for nightly rentals. (There are also fifteen seasonal campsites and two tent sites at the resort.) For $40 a night, we had full hookups for our RV, plus full use of all the resort facilities. In the past, we’ve camped at state parks with electricity-only for $25/night and camping resorts like Kiesler‘s in Waseca, which runs $69 for full hookups for our family of six on summer weekends. We found Sleeping Fawn to be an excellent value.
Our campsite itself was on somewhat rough terrain, but the camper pad itself was almost completely level, making setup a breeze. The sites are nestled in the tall pines, making for shady sites. A picnic table and campfire ring are included with each site. Restrooms and showers are not far away, in the back of the office building. My girls declared the campsite bathroom “nicer than ours at home” and I couldn’t disagree. There’s one men’s and one women’s restroom, so you may have to wait your turn if it’s busy, but we never had a problem.
We liked the campsite, but what we really enjoyed was being down by the lake. Sleeping Fawn Resort features a u-shaped dock on a nice sandy swimming beach that also includes a sand volleyball court and playground equipment. Paddleboats, kayaks, and canoes pull up right next to the swimming beach, and there are two other fishing docks available. Shuffleboard and a big hammock are in a shady spot next to the beach. From a supervision standpoint, this was ideal; one adult could be sitting in a lounge chair on the beach and be watching kids kayaking, swimming, playing shuffleboard, fishing from the dock, or playing on the playground all at once. We really only returned to our camper to eat and sleep.
The resort has motor boats and a pontoon for rent, and we enjoyed taking the reasonably-priced pontoon out on the lake for some fishing. Stocking Lake is on the small side, so it was easy to circle the entire lake on the pontoon, or cross it in the kayaks. Despite the small size of the lake, we had pretty good success fishing. I even caught my first fish–ever! We mostly caught small fish, but a fellow resort guest caught a nice big Northern while we were there.
Sleeping Fawn is owned by the mother-son team of Ellen and Joe Schreiber, and they’re friendly and helpful and attentive to their guests’ needs. We loved the complimentary doughnuts on our last morning and enjoyed having a chance to visit with Joe and Ellen while we were eating them.
The lake itself is picturesque; the reflections on a calm morning are beautiful. On our last morning, I laid back in a lounge chair with the warm breeze blowing and it felt just like I was on a Caribbean cruise.
The Park Rapids area has many things to do that are well-promoted by the area’s Chamber of Commerce; while we were there we ate a lumberjack breakfast, had fun at the Evergreen amusement park, and took in a remote-controlled airplane festival. Visitors’ guides and coupon books were helpful in finding these forms of entertainment. Itasca State Park is nearby, as is the Heartland Trail for those who wish to take their bikes along. We didn’t make it to downtown Park Rapids to check out any of the unique shops in town, or to Dorset, which has more restaurants per capita than anywhere else in Minnesota (4 restaurants for 22 people).
We thoroughly enjoyed our visit to Sleeping Fawn Resort and are hoping to return again next summer. For our family, it was the perfect combination of family fun at an affordable price.
Do you have any favorite “up north” resorts?