While I have seen parks and campsites with more privacy, there are so many trees (and many sites with a lake view) that it's worth a stay at Father Hennepin State Park in MN. Especially if you are rocking out with a pair of OOFOS flipflops!
We've stayed at this campground a few times before, and it should seem obvious that since we keep coming back, it's not too shabby. Yes, I've seen campgrounds that have more privacy between spaces, but I don't think this place is every terribly crowded (at least not when we visit, in May). The leaves are just beginning to bud on the trees, so there is less coverage from your neighbors than in the heat of the summer, but since there are less campers, you can spread out a little bit. My only complaint, and this is the same of previous years here, is that the electric sites are so close to the tent sites that you can generally hear the generators and/or those that think that the wilderness is for loud music dance parties. Fortunately, this time, we were in our new teardrop camper and could shut out the tunes!
We were at site 7, which was the last one in this campground that sits and faces the lake. And while we've been to this site before, it's the first time we've been in our Teardrop Trailer at this park. Lucky for us, the ice was gone and the wind was pretty calm, so the icy chill wasn't too bad. Each site has a fire ring with a grate that swings back and forth, depending on if you want to chill by the flames, or grill off some burgers. The site we had was fairly level. and provided ample space to park our teardrop and our car without hanging out into the road. A picnic table rounded out the scene to provide a full on camping experience. And lovely night sounds of frogs that sang us to sleep!
There are well over a hundred sites, about 100 of them tent pads (no electric), and about 50 with electric. A few group campsites as well as 4 handicapped sites.There are 2 shower houses, 2 flush toilet buildings, vault toilets scattered around and water (in season, when it's turned on).
In Minnesota, reservations are required. We've found that if you make them in advance, and then decide to cancel the day of the reservation, there are cancellation fees and first night fees and blah blah blah. If, however, you decide to take your chances and book it the "day of", there are no online reservation fees and you can cancel without penalty if you decide to go elsewhere.
Drive in sites are approximately $23/night. Electric are about $34/night.
Now, I have to admit, I'm an OOFOS junkie. Ever since I won a pair in my very firsts campground contest. That said, I'll never pass up the chance to review another pair! This time, I had the OOFOS Women's OOriginal Sandal. The last pair I had was a light color, and I loved the shoes, but they got dirty so quickly. Since these shoes are a type of foam, they scuff and dirty a little easier than other shoes, but the comfiness of them is off the chart, so they are totally worth having in other colors! This time, I chose black, to combat and dirt issues I might have while camping. If you can't see the dirt, it's not there, right?
OOFOS are recovery shoes, and I didn't know what that meant at first, but just wait until you put them on at the end of a hard day on your feet (long work day, long hike, etc). They literally massage the sole of your foot. I'm not joking. I can't believe how my feet feel when I change shoes. If I listen veeeeeery carefully, I can hear my feet smiling! They are sort of spongy and squishy, but not in a strange way. Like walking on marshmallows! (but not sticky). Seriously, they cushioning, higher arch and wide fashion of the shoe (yes, it's a little chunkier, not a huge fashion statement) make it stable and comfy. They hug your feet and don't slip off the way some other "slippy" flipflops can. And so lightweight! The price is a little more than I normally pay for shoes, but I'd absolutely invest in another pair if this one wears out. The bottom has some fun grippy texture that looks as if it might channel away water if you stepped in a puddle.
Quite frankly, as long as I have my OOFOS, I don't care what campground I'm staying at, but this one is good enough that I enjoy staying a little while, to look at the lake and enjoy the singing frogs!
We had a great weekend here. There were a few trails that we walked and got to see several deer in the woods. This is a great lake for fishing and boating.
This park isn't bad, but it's not the best state park. The campsites aren't separated much. The rangers seemed to make a lot of trips through while we were there. It was a little too chilly to checkout the beach. There is a nice big sandbox for the kids that has sand toys to play with.
Right on Lake Mille Lacs, one of Minnesota’s largest. Walking distance from the bakery and bar! Newer, updated facilities. Boat access. Lake side sites (if you book early enough). You can hit Mille Lacs State Park if you want to knock them both out on one trip! This park seems to attract a lot of long term campers, as I’m sure it’s pretty reasonable to stay at the lake all summer. We went mid-July I think and the trees were literally raining caterpillars… it was tough to want to hang out in our tree canopy-covered site. Sooo.. we ventured outside of the park more at this one.
There was a festival going on in a town west of here that had a couple rides and a really fun patio bar. If you do decide to venture out at night, ask the bartender for the limo driver’s number; he’s the city’s “uber”!
I've been to campgrounds in MN and other places that were nicer, but there isn't anything wrong with this campground at all. And at this time of year, the ice on the lake was breaking up, so it made for a beautiful sunset! Since it is still that time of year when it's warm during the day and cool at night, it was the perfect chance to test out the Twilight Thermal Mattress Topper by Alki while staying at Father Hennepin State Park in MN.
We've been to this campground before, but not during this season or time of year. The campground is nice, but not terribly fancy. What it does have going for it is that it's a decent bit off the road, so there isn't much road noise. And although all the sites are fairly close together, there are tons of trees that (if it were summer) offer a buffer between them. It's possible to car camp at these sites or tent camp. They also have RV sites. Unfortunately, the RV sites are pretty close to the others, so if there are parties going on or radios playing, everyone can hear them, but that is to be expected at a campground where sites are close together. It wasn't terribly bothersome, though, and the scenery outweighed the mild disturbance.
They do have showers and flush toilets (during warmer seasons) and vault toilets the rest of the time. There is also a dump station for RVs.
Many of the sites are lakeside, for no additional cost. Benches dot the lakeside, and you get a gorgeous site of the sunset from here. There is also a paved path that runs near the water, so it's a pretty stroll late in the eve. This leads to a floating dock (not floating this time of year, though, because of the ice). Pretty space to chill and take in the breeze.
As a Ranger for They Dyrt, I have the amazing opportunity to review incredible products in exchange for an honest review. This time, I received a Twilight Thermal Mattress Topper by Alki in a queen size. This is the first time I've ever tried something like this, so when I found it on Kickstarter, I was intrigued. The idea of a thermal layer built into a quilt-like blanket (think about the silver reflective stuff that everyone who camps talks about). But this isn't your typical mylar-type foil sheet. It's quiet. It's soft. It makes absolutely no noise at all. Now, this isn't something you are going to put in a backpack because it's big and it's not going to fit the bill of the ultralight hiker, but that's not what it's meant for. I emailed with the owners of the company and they intended it to be an addition to a car camping excursion or used on a bed as extra insurance from the night air. So I was intrigued. We are getting a teardrop trailer soon and I thought it might be a great way to stay warm without adding a heater to the mix.
The owners, Saul and Carolyn, have created this super soft blanket-type mattress topper that can be used several ways. You can put it on the mattress directly and sleep on top of it. You can use it as a blanket, you could wrap up in it and make a mock sleeping bag. It's a microsuede type of fabric on top and feels amazing, but has a brushed polyester bottom that helps to keep it from slipping off your pad. I'm a cold sleeper, so I really wanted to give it a good test. Normally, I use a sleeping pad with an R Value of 4.4 or better so that I don't chill out in the night. This time, I decided to use a pad with an R Value of 1.9 (thank you to my husband for sacrificing his pad). Normally, I'd be frozen from the backside, even in temps that are in the 40's. So I put down my pad in the van, laid the topper over the pad, and then my bag on top of that. And then I was off to la-la land.
The verdict…a toasty back side. It was truly wonderful to sleep in cooler weather without the typical CBS (cold butt syndrome) that campers talk about. Normally, with a pad that was only 1.9, I'd be frozen from the pad side. And that means tossing and turning all night to figure out how to stay warm. But I didn't have any cold spots from the pad side while sleeping on this topper. I just wish I'd thought to wrap it over my bag as well to insulate from the top as well. Then, I would have had the perfect night of sleep! It reflects back your own body heat to help keep you toasty.
- Super soft fabric! It has a great feel against your skin.
- No noise! Even though it has similar thermal properties as the crinkly mylar-type blankets, this is absolutely not the same. It feels just like a blanket.
- It works! Coming from me (a cold sleeper), I feel like this would be a great addition to your camping arsenal so that you can have a better night of sleep without needing a ton of expensive gear to stay warm.
- Machine washable!
There really isn't anything negative to say about this blanket. Now, it does weigh more than a regular thermal blanket (queen is 4.5 pounds, and twin is 3 pounds), but they don't advertise it as ultra light or for backpacking. Carolyn said that it was designed with car camping in mind, as mentioned before. That said, it works beautifully for that purpose! It would be lovely if they'd consider making a skinny version that would fit in a hammock or under a sleeping bag/pad. As a cold sleeper, I'd seriously consider adding it to my cold weather backpack supplies, even if it meant an extra pound of weight.
Bottom line, if you want to enjoy a good night sleep in the chilly night air while car camping with your family or friends, take this topper for a spin. It's perfect under a sleeping bag, over a sleeping bag or to snuggle while watching the autumn sunset.
The campground we stayed in was the Lakeview. Right next to the lake, the sunset is amazing if the weather is good. There is even a paved trail next to the lake that leads to a floating dock and beyond. Sites were a little close together in some areas, but if you are car camping, it wasn't a big deal. Lovely lake sounds when the weather allows you to roll down the windows (of if in a tent, you hear it all night long). All sites appeared to have a picnic table and firepit.
There isn't anything terrible about this park, but of all the MN options, this doesn't come close to most.
The hiking is boring, however it is on the lake so if you are into boating or fishing it might be great for people. The campsites are nice but pretty open to each other. However, this park does have a bunch of shade at the campsites which is great.
One thing to note is this park gets a ton of black flies so beware. They bite and are gross.