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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all-<br><br>
My hubby and I would like to take our son (now 18 months) camping this summer. Does anyone have any great recommendations for locations/campgrounds in Minneosta (preferably within a 2 or so hours of the twin cities)? Ideally, the spot would have a lake with a nice beach for swimming. We also love hiking. Clean, newer shower facilities also would be a big plus.<br><br>
TIA!<br>
-Angie
 

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I love Tettegouche State Park, North of Duluth. They have awesome cart in sites (you get a cart with your site) It's gorgeous there, and really great if you don't like camping right next to your car. Have a great time!
 

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Tettegouche is beautiful, but on Lake Superior so I would think for a little one, too cold, also I seem to remember the sites being quite high above the Lake, which would be dangerous, but it has been a long time so I might have it mixed up with another park? In more Central Minnesota is Lake Carlos State Park, totally car camping, the sites are quite close but it has bike trails, hiking and a really shallow sandy beach, the shower buildings are fine, but it is popular and quite busy. There are two camp grounds, one right on the Lake and the other up in the woods. I think Afton State Park might be the closest to the St Paul/Mpls area. Check out the Minnesota State Park website (sorry don't know it) for more info. Good luck and let us know were you go and how it works out.
 

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I like Baker Park Reserve, part of the Three Rivers Park District<br><a href="http://www.threeriversparkdistrict.org/parks/park.cfm" target="_blank">www.threeriversparkdistrict.org/parks/park.cfm</a><br><br>
Less than an hour from Minneapolis. Lake with beach and huge playarea.<br>
Nice (one of them new) shower/bathroom facilities. Most campsites are grassy. Lots of trials to bike or walk.<br><br>
I also tried this one once last summer and it seemed pretty nice. Also has a beach and a big playarea. The tent sites are walk-in, but it's not that far, but it is an open plan, no trees or bushs between the sites. Shower facilities were really nice. Close to Cannon Falls.<br><a href="http://www.co.dakota.mn.us/LeisureRecreation/Parks/LakeByllesby/LakeByllesbyCampground.htm" target="_blank">http://www.co.dakota.mn.us/LeisureRe...Campground.htm</a><br><br>
I think this one is a great campground for families also. I really liked it and want to get back there again. On Lake Pepin, just up the road from Lake City. Good size playarea, beach. Showers are so-so.<br>
Cars are only allowed in the camping area just to unload and load, then you go park it in the lot. Great with kids because you don't have to worry about cars so much.<br><a href="http://www.ci.lake-city.mn.us" target="_blank">www.ci.lake-city.mn.us</a> click on Hok-Si-La Municipal Park and Campground
 

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don't go here though <a href="http://www.hvcamping.com" target="_blank">www.hvcamping.com</a><br><br>
This is a party campground. There was loud partying until the early morning hours. There was lots of broken glass at our campsite. Shower/bathroom facilities were disgusting. We'll never go there again.
 

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We have been to almost every State Park. Our favorites are up north (Cascade, Temperance, etc) but those are about 4-4.5 hours from the cities. St.Croix sounds like it would be a good choice for you. This is my favorite site: <a href="http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/state_parks/index.html" target="_blank">http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/state_parks/index.html</a> All the info you need for each park. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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Alexandria is a popular camping and summer vacation place. Carlos State park is only about 15 minutes away if that. Not sure what they have for hiking but they have the Central Lakes Bike Trails and there is aplce right in Alex where you can rent bikes if need be.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks for all of the great ideas so far! Keep 'em coming. I'll also update when we ultimately decide on a place.<br><br>
-Angie
 

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We really like Whitewate State Park. We have never camped there, but have gone hiking there several times and played at their beach. We walk by the camping sites and they are private, clean and surrounded by trees. Whitewater is known for their noticeable lack of mosquitos which they say on their website <a href="http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/state_parks/whitewater/index.html" target="_blank">http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/state_par...ter/index.html</a><br>
That is a huge plus for me with kiddos. There are a few challenging hikes but also some nice ones through meadows. It should definitely be within 2-2 1/2 hours for the cities.
 

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All of them along the north shore. LOVE the north shore and we have been camping there since pre-kids. (Then we finally moved to Northern MN so we could just drive there).<br><br>
Gooseberry, Temperance, Tettegouche...
 

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We love Father Hennepin State Park on Lake Mille Lacs! It's not far from the Twin Cities, and the beach is beautiful. If you get a campsite along the water the wind will keep the mosquitoes away. Bring warm pj's, though. Nights can be very cool.
 

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We have camped with the kids at Baker Park Reserve and really enjoyed it. There's grass everywhere. Lots of kids. Clean showers and toilets. Nice beach.<br>
They are also good about the noise restriction at night so those partiers next door will have to be quiet or leave. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"><br>
Walking/biking trails. Plus, you can drive or hike to other areas of the Reserve (it's a big place- several miles of trails and at least 2 beaches) or drive to the smaller towns nearby if you need something.<br>
We plan to go back a few times this summer.<br>
We went camping at Crosslake (near Brainerd) last summer and it was COLD at night and barely warm enough to swim in the day. Keep that in mind if you go further north.
 

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Jay Cooke...just south of Duluth. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"><br><br><a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jay_Cooke_State_Park" target="_blank">http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jay_Cooke_State_Park</a>
 

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Barsness Park in Glenwood, MN (about 20mi South of Alexandria) has a great campground, is next to a beautiful beach on Lake Minnewaska, and has moderately easy hiking trails through shady woods with springs and streams.<br><br><a href="http://www.glenwood-lakes-area.info/default.aspx?Page=Lodging" target="_blank">http://www.glenwood-lakes-area.info/...x?Page=Lodging</a><br><br>
(scroll to the bottom)<br><br>
and...<br><br><a href="http://www.glenwood-lakes-area.info/Site/Images/landscape/barsnessbirchtrees.jpg" target="_blank">http://www.glenwood-lakes-area.info/...birchtrees.jpg</a>
 

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I have never camped at McCarthy Beach State Park, but we do plan on camping there this summer. It is a lot farther than 2 hours from the cities. The beach is wonderful!!! Its sandy, shallow and you can walk out forever before the water even gets above your waist!<br><a href="http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/state_parks/mccarthy_beach/index.html" target="_blank">http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/state_par...ach/index.html</a><br><br>
Also love Itasca State Park... we went up there several times a summer with my family as a kid. Plenty of trails, swimming areas, beautiful! Since its not that far of a drive for, we go up there for the day a few times during the summer. Probably 3.5-4 hours from the cities.<br><a href="http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/state_parks/itasca/index.html" target="_blank">http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/state_par...sca/index.html</a><br><br>
My absolute favorite camping sites are on the North Shore; Gooseberry, Split Rock, Tettegouche, & if you really like to hike, George Crosby Manitou.<br><br>
I think Huntersville State Forest is a nice campsite. We camp there at least once a year when my nephew comes up from TX. Good for berry picking. Its near the Crow Wing River. Its close to us so I say about 2.5-3 hours from the cities. Nothing fancy though.<br><a href="http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/state_forests/sft00025/index.html" target="_blank">http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/state_for...025/index.html</a><br><br>
Not much help for by the cities, but thats my 2 cents.
 

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<div style="font-style:italic;">I have never camped at McCarthy Beach State Park, but we do plan on camping there this summer. It is a lot farther than 2 hours from the cities. The beach is wonderful!!! Its sandy, shallow and you can walk out forever before the water even gets above your waist!<br><a href="http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/state_parks/mccarthy_beach/index.html" target="_blank">http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/state_par...ach/index.html</a><br></div>
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I live up by here and I have not been to this lake yet. Everyone keeps telling me to take the kids swimming there in the summer. We're spoiled, ALL the lakes in this area are really nice, lol.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Kristine233</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/8050891"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I live up by here and I have not been to this lake yet. Everyone keeps telling me to take the kids swimming there in the summer. We're spoiled, ALL the lakes in this area are really nice, lol.</div>
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Definitely go there!!!<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/thumb.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="thumbs up"><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/thumb.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="thumbs up"><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/thumb.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="thumbs up"><br><br>
I can't wait to bring DD there!
 

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I want to add Bear Head Lake State Park to my faves! We rented the camper cabin there about 2 weeks age. It was beautiful and this time of year we had the whole park to ourselves. It would be a great place to go snowmobiling, ice fishing, cross-country skiing in the winter and a beautiful place to camp in the summer. There is a nice beach. We plan to rent the camper cabin again in the summer and bring the boat up.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>cherity</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/7963182"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">We really like Whitewate State Park. We have never camped there, but have gone hiking there several times and played at their beach. We walk by the camping sites and they are private, clean and surrounded by trees. Whitewater is known for their noticeable lack of mosquitos which they say on their website <a href="http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/state_parks/whitewater/index.html" target="_blank">http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/state_par...ter/index.html</a><br>
That is a huge plus for me with kiddos. There are a few challenging hikes but also some nice ones through meadows. It should definitely be within 2-2 1/2 hours for the cities.</div>
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Oh, when I camped here awhile ago there were LOADS of families with kids at Whitewater. I found it very relaxing and soothing.<br><br>
For day trips, I do like Nerstrand Woods in the autumn just after peak when the leaves are falling. As a child (and now as an adult) I love going down at that time of the year and crunching through leaves 2 feet deep. On the way down I stop by an orchard, pick up a peck of apples and much and hike. It's perfect.
 

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We love camping. Our kids have gone camping with us since they were tiny babies. There are so many good state parks in MN. Really, if you stick with the state parks, and check out the state park website/brochure to make sure the park has the amenities you want, it's hard to go wrong.<br><br>
All of the north shore parks are nice, but Lake Superior is COLD to swim in, even in in the middle of the summer. I also dislike how busy all of the Superior shore parks are. It's a beautiful area, though, and we went there a few times last summer.<br><br>
The park I thought of immediately when you listed your criteria was Flandreau State Park in New Ulm. There's a very nice man-made lake with beach (there are lifeguards at the beach), and some great hiking trails. And if you want to venture out, New Ulm is a great town. I'm pretty sure that it took us 2 hours or less to drive there when we lived in Apple Valley.
 
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