We planned a huge family camping trip this year and the lovely Chippewa Loop campground in the Chippewa National Forest was the camp ground that we had the honor of staying at! We had three sites, 79, 80, and 81 with 17 people total. 9 Adults and 8 kids ranging from ages 7 to 1. The campground is right outside Cass Lake Minnesota that had a nice grocery store, a pretty weird liquor store, a family dollar, and a fishing pier if you didn’t have a boat. It was about a half an hour outside of Bemidji, Mn that has a lot of history from Minnesota and a great fireworks display over the lake on the Fourth of July. The City of Bemidji has a lot a little boutique shops if you are into shopping while on camping trips. It also had a cute little ice cream store that we took all the kids to across from the Paul Bunyan and Babe the blue ox statue and a nice park for the kids to play at right off of Lake Bemidji. If you’re into craft breweries Bemidji also has a brewery called Bemidji Brewing right in town. There’s also a Walmart, Target, Home Depot, and a dollar tree amongst other stores if you have that “I forgot list”.
Site number 80 was the best to put up a travel trailer, but it was also extremely close to site number 82 and practically joined site number 82. We ended up putting our Jayco Eagle 30 foot travel trailer in site number 81 because with everyone else tent camping and we were the only one with a travel trailer, we felt this site was the best to park our travel trailer in because it was the least level site and only had one small pad for a tent. Site number 79 and 81 were joined together by a path that made it easy for us to all eat in one site. We all pretty much congregated in site number 81. We put most of our tents, three to be exact, in site number 80 because it was the most level and open for tents. The site was capable of having two large cabin tents and a small 4 person tent comfortably. Site had a lot of good pine trees for hanging Hammocks but, like I said before, it was almost right on top of site number 82 so we decided to only put up the 3 tents and congregate across the road in site number 81 as to not disturb the other site occupants. It was pretty frustrating that that was the most level site because it was also the best one to park a travel trailer in and have an awning out and a picnic table but we couldn’t do it because we didnt want to disturb the other site with 17 people.
Site number 79 had a good drive pad but the tent pad was extremely un-level. we put up a single pole tipi in that site because the people in that site had cots and didn’t mind sleeping on an incline. When I say incline, I mean incline, the tent pad was not level at all which is kind of frustrating. Site number 79 was the least friendly for hammocks so we hung all her hammocks in site number 81.
Site number 81 is where we decided to put up the trailer but the trailer pad was super un- level. We ended up making a Walmart run to get two more packs of leveling blocks and we use three packs of leveling blocks to make it level with room to have our awning and out. Right behind the travel trailer was a sloped hill that went down to the fire pit and a tent pad that was also on a slight incline which we were up by eight person tent there but that person had a raised air mattress and didn’t mind sleeping on an incline. Attached to site number 81 was also the path to the showers that was right down the hill. It worked out great because the showers and the bathrooms were so close to our site but we felt like the trees were blocking everything from our site.
We took a lot of bike rides and got to see a lot of the other sites and they had a lot of good tent sites in some of the other loops and it seems like all of the electric sites were not as great as the tent sites. All of the electric sites seem to be un-level and not a great place to pitch a tent as well as having the camper.
The park itself was very beautiful had a lot of nature things like milk weed and monarch butterfly’s everywhere and a beautiful swimming beach that was about waist high (4 feet deep) for about 300 to 400 yards out from shore. The beach was great for swimming and kayaking and you could dock a boat on the sandy beach and eat lunch if you wanted to. We ended up catching 40 crawfish and doing a crawfish boil, which the kids absolutely loved. The picnic shelter was pretty awesome too, very shaded and on a rougher part of the beach. There was a really long bike path that went through all of the loops and the main road was super bike friendly as well.
In the visitor center there was a really cool area for the kids to go to play if it was too hot or rainy, or if you just wanted to be indoors for a little bit. They had a bike decorating event and we brought all the kids bikes and decorated them. There was a little gift shop and they also gave out free stickers which we ended putting on our camper as we do at every park we get a sticker from.
Each camp ground loop also had a campground host that sold firewood, three bundles for $10. The firewood was pretty bad and some of it was wet and it burned really really fast. But like every park in Minnesota you can’t bring your own firewood unless it’s kiln dried lumber or something like that within a certain number of miles of the place you are camping.
A few downsides to this park where there’s no official places to fill water up for your camper and no official place to dump your black and grey water tanks from your camper. You end up having to go to another park and pay to dump your camper. This could be a problem if you are staying for an extended time and use a lot of water. There also wasn’t a whole lot to do aside from biking and hiking and swimming like there was a leech lake recreation area we were at a few days prior to this trip. The restrooms and showers were pretty unkempt and dirty. Everyone but me and my sister had cold showers every time they went to take a shower.
All in all the park is very beautiful and I had some very good attributes like friendly staff, clean campsites and secluded campsites where you didn’t feel like you are right on top of the other site aside from site 80 and 82. It seemed like there were three or 4 sites together in groups and then a little ways away there were a few more clumped together.
I don’t know if we would actually come back to this park because the sites weren’t as big as they seemed in the pictures online and we felt cramped most of the time. There wasn’t a good space in the sites to put up games like corn hole or ladder ball which made it a bit boring at times to just stay at camp. We spent a lot of time at the beach.