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Albany, MINNESOTA
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A little disappointing

Campground is a little disappointing. I am used to MN state parks being kept up better. There were no signs pointing to where the campground was. Kind of frustrating when towing a large camper (don’t want to make a wrong turn). I had to drive around a bit until I found it.

Nice smaller State Park

Crow Wing State Park is a good choice if you are looking for something close to the Twin Cities metro area in Minnesota. with this park being just under two hours away from the Twin Cities metro area it’s an easy choice for a nice weekend getaway. If you’re looking to stay for a long extended time it’s also a good choice as it offers electric and water. The electric sites are pretty open and close together so if you like to be secluded and not see other campers from your campsite I wouldn’t use this park. The electric sites are really on top of each other and don't feel like you are camping to me. The non-electric sites are pretty nice and secluded from each other which would make this park a park I would bring my tent to instead of my travel trailer. There is also a group camp That is separate from the main camping area.

The park office offers ice and firewood for sale. Firewood is 6$ a bundle at the park office. The only firewood you can use is the approved firewood in the local area or scrap lumber. See the Minnesota Firewood law.  Canoe rentals are offered at the park office for $15 for a half-day and $25 for a full day. There is also a water fill station and a dump station for your travel trailer or RV. This is a good park for hiking and exploring. 

If you wanna stay close to the Twin Cities metro area this is a good park for you!

Serene

Spacious peaceful campsites in a wooded area near lake Ann. No elect or showers. Vault toilets. Drinking water was not available when we were there

Nice weekend spot

Most spots were shaded by mature shade trees. A nice beach, especially for kids. Technically, no booze it there but if you keep it in concealed and don’t cause a problem, you’re golden.

Beautiful but a bit crowded

I am from a suburb of Twin Cities metro area in Minnesota and we wanted to go camping with my in-laws who have horses. We needed a park that was close and had equestrian camping so we decided to go to Lake Carlos State Park.

Lake Carlos State Park is roughly 2.5hours from the Twin Cities and is a beautiful getaway for a weekend trip. You can leave after work on a Friday and still have time to make it to the park, set up and still be able to cook dinner and enjoy a s’more or two.

We booked site H3 in the equestrian campground which was a VERY open site right off the main loop in the equestrian campground. It was very sunny and barely any shade for the horses. The site were in was electric and there were only three non-electric sites in the equestrian campground. The other sites were awesome for shade but were still super open to everyone.

There were great trails for hiking and horseback riding. They also allowed mountain biking on the trails.

The staff at the office were super friendly and they talked to us for about 15 minutes. Their store in the office was pretty great and they had everything from toys for the kids to s’mores stuff and stickers specific to the park. The firewood was pretty fast burning and cost 6$ a bundle so it was pretty spendy since we cook only over the fire.

The main campground was VERY busy and jammed packed. The sites were too close together and open for my comfort.

The beach was very dirty and there were army worms everywhere crawling on everything.

We took a little bike ride to the group camp which was an amazing area with a very nice shelter with electric.

All in all, this is a good park to go to if you are looking for a park close to the twin cities metro area.

Beautiful but a bit crowded

I am from a suburb of Twin Cities metro area in Minnesota and we wanted to go camping with my in-laws who have horses. We needed a park that was close and had equestrian camping so we decided to go to Lake Carlos State Park.

Lake Carlos State Park is roughly 2.5hours from the Twin Cities and is a beautiful getaway for a weekend trip. You can leave after work on a Friday and still have time to make it to the park, set up and still be able to cook dinner and enjoy a s’more or two.

We booked site H3 in the equestrian campground which was a VERY open site right off the main loop in the equestrian campground. It was very sunny and barely any shade for the horses. The site were in was electric and there were only three non-electric sites in the equestrian campground. The other sites were awesome for shade but were still super open to everyone.

There were great trails for hiking and horseback riding. They also allowed mountain biking on the trails.

The staff at the office were super friendly and they talked to us for about 15 minutes. Their store in the office was pretty great and they had everything from toys for the kids to s’mores stuff and stickers specific to the park. The firewood was pretty fast burning and cost 6$ a bundle so it was pretty spendy since we cook only over the fire.

The main campground was VERY busy and jammed packed. The sites were too close together and open for my comfort.

The beach was very dirty and there were army worms everywhere crawling on everything.

We took a little bike ride to the group camp which was an amazing area with a very nice shelter with electric.

All in all, this is a good park to go to if you are looking for a park close to the twin cities metro area.

Relaxing & Quiet

We had a site at the Oak Ridge campground. Each site was very enclosed by trees & it made it really cozy & private. We went down to the lake to see it, but didn’t go swimming so I have no opinion of it. The Lakeside campground looked nice too so I’ll have to try to reserve a spot on that side sometime in the future. We were only there one day so we didn’t explore a whole lot.

Quiet getaway

Every site is a hike in site, including the three camper cabins. The trails are groomed enough that if you have a cart, you can pack your gear in that way too.

My wife and I stayed at camper cabin 1 on this Mon-Wed trip, and it is secluded and beautiful. You have to take a little bridge to get to it even.

There was a major storm that came through Sun-Mon, and this being a wetlands, things got muddy and buggy quick. The area around the cabin itself was good though as a breeze coming off the lake kept the bugs at bay.

The cabin itself is very cozy. Two bunks with queen on the bottom and twin on the top to sleep six total. A couple of good spots outside you can hang hammocks from too. Bring lighting as the cabin solar light only gives you a couple hours (assuming it could even charge up that day and it didn’t our first day) and it’s so wooded it gets dark very quickly. Everything is sealed up nice and tight too, so no bugs in the cabin unless you tear the screens or leave the door open.

All the necessary items to clean up the cabin were provided, broom, dustpan, spray bottle, cloth, bucket, so that made cleaning up easy.

I rated 4 stars based on three factors.

  1. Park office is only open Friday through Sunday. Makes sense seeing as that if it’s not that busy of a place during this week of July 4th, I can’t imagine other weeks getting busier.

  2. Rain can get things boggy quick, possibly closing the trail to your site even.

  3. State website says fire wood is provided, and two cords were at the cabin when we got there, but nothing said we had to pay for the wood. It’s fine, but I’ll have to run into town as I didn’t bring cash with me to leave in the envelope at the office, since the office is closed during the week, which also means if I needed more than these two cords, I have to run to town… As of this review, cords were $6 at the park and $5.50 at the truck stop up by I-94.

Otherwise the place is great and I can imagine coming back again with friends and trying out the hike in tent sites too.

TLDR version: Great place, quiet on these weekdays during a holiday week, bring firewood, use a cart if you have one to bring things to your site.

Nice state park

Nice campground. The water in the lake is nice and clear. The swimming area isn’t awesome, but I have seen much worse.

So many generators...

Went on a busy summer weekend. Beautiful rustic campsites but even sites that you can’t drive directly up to were still too close to all of the RVers with loud generators.

Beautifully Maintained

On the outskirts of St Cloud, this campground was very well maintained and clean. They have a pool, lodge, bath house and laundry facilities, the sites were pretty large, much larger than data KOA, but not so big or private as some campgrounds we’ve been to. If any thing- the only weird thing is that the campground is situated under some very large high tension power lines…didn’t affect our stay whatsoever, just worth mentioning.

Must own an Airstream or be invited by a park member

You must own an Airstream-manufactured RV to rent a lot. Owners of non-Airstream RVs must be a relative or friend of a current Airstream Park member to stay

Great place

Great campground. Very clean and nice. Good fishing, nice lake and and good staff.

Party Campground

We stayed here last year and it was fun although if you like quiet nights I would not recommend it. It does get loud into the night. It has a swimming beach that is ok. You can spend extra money to go horseback riding on trails. The sites are very close together not much privacy.

Nice little city park

We stayed up on the hill where they had full hookups. Lots of full season residents. Nice campground

Winter wonderland

What a beautiful park and great camping spaces. We saw the cabins and they looked amazing. The activities around the were plentiful such as snow shoes and sled hill and plenty of trails. Well kept. Beautiful area

Thoreau never had it so good!

What a privilege it was to spend a night here! I had been out of town and away from home the previous week, so decided I would stop here on the long drive home in order to break up my trip. It wasn't just good stopover, though, but turned into  a great mini-retreat to restore body, mind and spirit. 

This listing for the Creekwood Cabin is a new listing on the “Hipcamp” website, which is like Airbnb for private campgrounds, campsites, camper cabins, etc, that are located on privately owned  properties like farms and vineyards. The Theisens, Todd and Sarah, are the stewards of this beautiful farm which is focused on organic, sustainable and restorative land practices on acreage that is a scenic mix of prairie, forest, wetlands, and rolling hills. They have free range cows, pigs and chickens who roam the farm freely and who are pretty happy campers themselves, it seems! 

The Theisens also have a traditional woodcraft and wood products business using sustainable harvest of hardwoods on their land, turning downed trees into planks for hardwood flooring, wall panelling, countertops and other artisanal woodwork for area homes. They also craft more practical items, for example currently in production when I was there were several outhouses to be used at the future tent campsites they are setting up in various wooded groves on their farm, and also  in the works is  the production of several tiny homes that will serve as camper cabins on their farm. Any leftover treewood not used in their products is either chipped and used as woodchips for the miles of walking trails they are setting up on hill and dale all over the property, and for sawdust for their composting toilets for their guest facilities. As of yet, the tent campsites and tiny house camper cabins are still being constructed and are a “work in progress”, but given what I saw will be really wonderful when finished.

I had the wonderful opportunity to stay in their recently opened Creek Wood Cabin, which is an amazing showcase of both their hospitality and their best artisan woodwork.  This cabin is set in a shady grove of mature trees on a hill overlooking a peaceful pond and marsh. I was serenaded all night by frogs and owls and more. The cabin is constructed with all local materials, including of course woodwork from their own trees. The cabin has a full working kitchen including microwave, stove, fridge and sink, so you can bring and store all you need for your own meal prep. There is one open bedroom with a comfy double bed on the main floor, and two more double beds in the sunny loft above. The sitting area is complete with two rocking chairs and a library of amazing books related to sustainable living, simplicity, camping, and various topics to restore the spirit. There are large sunny windows on all walls which makes the cabin sunny and cheerful and makes the interior woodwork glow with warmth. There is a wood stove and a well stocked wood box, but there is also electric baseboard heat if needed. Contrary to the original description in their listing, there is now  running water in the cabin, with an on-demand water heater, so yes, hot showers and plenty of water for drinking and cooking. However, note that  the toilet is an efficient low -mpact composting toilet so be prepared to "flush with sawdust" instead of water when using the facilities! Next to the cabin is a heavenly sauna that is set up for either dry or steam saunas. I loved having a sauna before bedtime and then sleeping soundly til the rooster crowed at sunrise. 

When I had arrived the night before, Todd took me out in his RTV to tour the whole farm to see all the animals and the farming and woodworking operations, and also showed me all the trails I could go on. So, when the rooster called me forth the next morning I knew just where to go for my morning walk. When I returned, I read for a while and journaled for a while til Sarah showed up at the cabin door with a basket containing my piping hot breakfast complete with fresh scrambled eggs from their henhouse!. After breakfast, I visited the cows and their calves in their peaceful meadow, including one calf who was pals with the Bernese mountain dogs of the farm and preferred to frolic with the dogs rather than the other calves! Then more resting, writing and relaxing in the cozy cabin before continuing in my way.

I would have to recommend this cabin stay as one if the loveliest I have experienced, and I know I will be back for more! In summer, guests would enjoy being on the farm itself and learning all the Theisens share about simple low impact living and sustainable farming and restorative land management. If staying here you could also visit like-minded facilities such as the organic gardens or art studios of the nearby College of St Benedict, or the solar farm or Arboretum and restored prairie at nearby St Johns University. St Johns and St Bens also have myriad hiking trails and places for meditation both indoors and out. Guests of the cabin can easily access both campuses just minutes away by car or bike, with additional biking further afield on the nearby Lake Woebegone state bike trail. During the school year there are myriad cultural activities on both campuses that cabin guests could take advantage of, and a winter time stay would also be lovely with the chance for snowshoeing or cross country skiing on the farm itself or in the area, as well as the chance to just rest, read, write and restore in the peace and quiet and coziness if the cabin. It would be the kind of retreat that Thoreau himself would heartily recommend, but Thoreau never had it this good in his own cabin! Come check it out for yourself, or come for the tent camping or tiny house experience as soon as those options are ready!

Great for bikers and more!

This is a typical small town municipal campground that is part of the city park. The main community ball park is located here, along with several playgrounds, volleyball fields, picnic shelters, and a Veterans memorial. There are several camspites with hookups that are very suitable for RV's, and also a tenting area. While not a place to go for a camping vacation destination in and of itself, it would be a great place to stay if visiting the area, attending local events such as the Lake Woebegone Marathon or local fairs etc. However, it happens to be adjacent to an official trailhead of the SooLine spur of the Lake Woebegone Bike Trail, and as such is an awesome place to overnight if on a multi day bike or hike trek on the trail! many people do day trips on this beautiful trail, but having a really nicely set up overnight camping stop for cyclists and hikers makes longer trips possible, which is really great. There is a modern, well kept bathroom facility in the campground and another right at the trail head, and the main street in town in adjacent to the campground so cyclists can easily get to cafes, hardware store, get groceries, whatever. One of the most beautiful covered bridges in Minnesota is also on the bike path over the river adjacent to the campground. A major shout out regarding the local bike rental place in town: if you are an elder or in anyway disabled, they have bike-peddled surreys that seat 2, 4 or 6 people, and the RENTAL IS FREE to groups peddling together with a friend or family member who is disabled or can not bike on their own due to illness, handicap, or age. This is an awesome, awesome policy! So, lots of good reasons to take advantage of the camping opportunity offered in this small, pretty, friendly small town!

Sweet little city park

This is a nice community campground tucked away into the city park of the small town of Clarissa. While it might not be a vacation destination for most campers, it would be a really great place to hold a family reunion or similar local camping event. As a Scout leader, I think this would be an ideal place to introduce young campers to camping. The park isnt huge, but it is very scenic, has a great playground and picnic area and ball fields, and has a scenic walkway with foot bridges on a switchback trail along a pretty meandering stream. The park is clearly a centerpiece of the community, and would be a nice waypoint for tenters or RV campers travelling through the area

Family friendly local campground

This is a quiet and fairly small but impeccably maintained campground located near the town of Long Prairie. It would be a nice family friendly destination for an easy lical get away. There are weekly, monthly and seasonal site rentals with RV hookups, plus they do have a fully furnished on-site RV available to rent for those who dont have their own. The owners clearly take pride in maintaining the campground and in building a friendly camp community for families

Forest meets prairie

This state park uniquely showcases an ecologic transition zone between hardwood forest, savannah, and prairie. There are also local history connections. As a bird watcher, I was very excited to see birds here that I dont usually see at home in northern Minnesota, and to learn a bit more about glaciation in this area and about prairie and savannah habitats. The park has self guided hikes, educational nature programs, and learning kits for birding and more that you can check out at the ranger station. The lakeshore is pretty, and the lakeside campground is green and leafy with mature trees but the campsites are very close together, and the beachfront and bath house are currently closed for renovation which puts a damper on waterfront activities. Away from the lake is another campground in the oak savanna section of the park, and this campground seems quieter with more spacious sites, although they are more open. The park’s camper cabins are located here and are in a very pretty setting tucked into a little hill, though a bit of a walk to the bathrooms and showerhouse. At both campgrounds there are nice ADA sites which are level, spacious and accessible, and also close to the bathrooms. I was at a conference in nearby Willmar, and this park is a good alternative for lodging if you need to be in the area. If you are really into learning more about prairies and local glacial geology, the nearby Prairie Environmental Learning Center is fantastic to visit, and lots of prairie pothole WMAs are also closeby for waterfowl watching

No longer a campground

This may have been a former campground, but the property has been recently sold and it appears that a new private lakehome is being built or renovated. The property is located next to the Henderson Lake public access, which has warnings that the lake is infested with invasive species so maybe this affected the campground’s popularity?

Nice family campground

This is a nicely forested family-oriented campground on the shores of Games Lake. Though not quite as nice as the nearby Sibley State Park, it has easy access to it as well as the Glacial Lakes bike trail, plus is set on a nice lake with fishing, boating, and swimming available. There is a nice community center too. The campground is owned by Kandiyohi County, and rates for tent camping or various levels of RV camping are very reasonable but only offered for weekly rentals.

Family Camping and more

This is an impeccably maintained city-campground that shows the local are proud of “Our Town” and native son Sinclair Lewis, the hometown American author. Just blocks from the original Main Street, the campground is in the west end of the beautiful lakeside city park. Not only can you camp here in safety and comfort in a family-friendly setting (neighborly camping community, great playgrounds, fishing at your doorstep while but but a close walk to Main Street for unique shops snd cafes) but there are a host of community events that happen in the park, including concerts at a beautiful historic bandstand, art fair and similar events, and an annual 4-day festival in mid-July that celebrates Sauk Centre and all things Sinclair Lewis. Campground rates are extremely reasonable ($15 a night for tent sites, $30 a night for an RV site with full hookups) plus there are weekly, monthly, and seasonal rates. This is a great place for retired local snowbirds to stay in the summer, and a nice regional camping spot for families with kids or folks who would like a home base for day trips in the area including treks on the Lake Woebegone Trail. Check out this local website for activity ideas! http://www.visitsaukcentre.org

Overall, High marks for great maintainence, convenient location, and family oriented setting; however, though the lakeshore is pretty, the lake does have a problem with zebra musells, and many of the RV sites are located pretty close together.

Limited appeal

Granted, I visited on a gray rainy day when a campground might not appear to be its best. However, having checked it out I would hesitate to camp here. Although clearly it has its fans as there are seasonal RV site renters, the campground has the appearance of a place where folks might gather to party after a day of hunting or fishing. There is a rudimentary playground, but the dominant feature is the bar which appears in rough shape, and there are signs up not about children at play, but about tipsy adults at play. It doesn’t give the best impression. There are daily tent sites and daily RV sites in addition to seasonal rentals, and the RV sites seem to have the basic hookups RVers would need, but the campground is basically open and mostly treeless which also doesnt appeal to me. The location is near a lake and lake access, but not actually on the lake though you can see it in the distance. The prices for site rental ($25 a night for tent sites, and $35 a night for RV’s) are probably lower than many area RV campgrounds, so that might appeal to some folks

Nice campground

Nice campground with playground for kids and hiking trails. Beach is not good to go swimming until water gets cleaned out!

Quaint and No Frills

Definitely an older campground that could use some minor updates, but the place is quiet and no one bothers you. The owners are really nice and super helpful. Really nice beach and fair water rental prices. No frills, fill your water tank before you go!

Small town camp group

It’s okay. Small. Gotta cross a county road to get to lake.

Great park

Park Rangers were super helpful and friendly! Loved the campsite even though I made a dumb mistake and booked the wrong weekend. Ranger helped get us a different site despite the busy weekend. Watch for ticks though, they were out in droves in the area. Very clean toilets.

Our Dogs Loved It -

Just kidding, our dogs hate camping but we definitely enjoyed Crow Wing. The park ranger was super helpful on our first visit to the park. The campgrounds were beautiful, hiking trails were fun and the fishing was a blast. We would definitely head back to Crow Wing for more camping adventures!