The best TENT SITES camping near
South St. Paul , MINNESOTA

476 Reviews121 Campgrounds

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Most Recent South St. Paul Camping Reviews
Relax and unwind at this privative campground!

Lake Auburn Campground part of the Carver Park Reserve was an awesome primitive style campground. We stayed here in late September and into October. There are 57 sites with an unguarded beach, playground, volleyball court and tons of miles of trails to shred on foot or bike. All of the campsites are very clean along with all of the other facilities and amenities they offered. The playground is awesome for all ages as it accommodates something for all ages and size groups from a traditional playground set for the younger ones, volleyball net and concrete bag toss boards(which you would need to bring your own bags, but possibly could rent if the office was open). I think there are more things that you can rent when the office is open as well(only during prime season). We would highly recommend staying at this campground and look forward to checking it out in the summertime!

Check out our blog at www.unnamedadventures.com and follow our journey on Facebook and Instagram or on our YouTube Channel at Unnamed Adventures. 

Lots to Explore/Learn

I’ll say, one of the best parts of this park is all the interpretative kiosks. Love learning about the forestry and history of state parks!  Also many options for trails which is great. A lot of wildlife here, I heard a ton of coyotes and geese, a woodpecker, and a beaver under the bridge in the evening chomping away at peeling logs… totally scared me at first but he was just doing his job and I tried not to bother him! 

I stayed at the backpacking site: SPRING. It’s just a short hike (bout 400 meters)  from the river access where there is a vaulted toilet snd water year-round. The site had a bench overlooking the river and a rugged stair for water access. Also had a little personal rustic toilet just a trail behind the site. Nice and wooded campsite, soft dirt, and fairly spacious! In wet months, I bet it's pretty muddy. The only drawback is that the trail it’s situated on is the hiking club trail and heavily trafficked. I stayed in winter, where you could see through the trees and all that tho. Maybe in summer, it’s more secluded? But still, something to keep in mind.

Took a peek at the campground- some of the most spaced out and wooded sites I’ve seen yet. I like that they made it in separated loops, to avoid through traffic distracting your stay. Love the visitors center, great overlook, and interesting information. By the trail center, which is also very cozy and rents, skis and snowshoes and has a great inside fireplace, there is an interpretative walk about white pines- great for kids to imagine those huge trees! They do a great job aiding the imagination as you walk along the short trail.

Camper cabins here are up on a bluff- didn’t stay there but totes want to! Nicely situated.

Everything that I checked out here was very well managed and they clearly put a lot of time and care into making this park functional, interesting, and accessible. I loved my little backpack site but can’t wait to come back to camp in the summer or rent a cabin! The river is gorgeous, even as it was frozen in winter!

Great campground

Nice campground with amenities, pool and water play area for kids. Nice on-site store for any needs. I have a small travel trailer that is self contained so I could reserve spots down by the river. Ability to go tubing down the river. You can even get pizza delivered by the local Chanticlear Pizza!

I give it a 4 star only because twice I ran into the same group of people that thought it was ok to open up their vehicle doors and blast music well into the night. Owner warned them the first time but quiet time isn’t until 11 pm. 2nd trip, I just packed up and left.

Nice

Nice showers and restrooms. Paved RV pads. Near lake and excellent bike path. Great brewery and winery close by.

A nice getaway off season

Three campgrounds, first come first serve. $10/day entry $40/daily for electric hook up (non-resident); no full hook-ups, no water, only 1 vault toilet open per campground. Year round availability, however- tough to find! Very hard to get a cellular connection (T-mobile). Beautiful views of the river, right along the edge if you tent camp. Multiple playgrounds, hiking trails and loads of nature, large beach and waterfalls.

Expeditions at Interstate!

This is a state park on the Wisconsin side of the St Croix River, which is mirrored by a comparable but smaller state park in Minnesota on the wrst side of the river, both being part of the wild and scenic St Croix National Waterway. Although the campsites themselves are pretty run of the mill, the setting is spectacular in terms of breathtaking scenery, and myriad outdoor activities from rock climbing in the river gorge, paddling the river, hiking miles of trails, and learning geology at the Ice Age geology visitors center. If you are tenting camping, the south loop is great, and if you pick campsite 65 or 67 you will have direct access to the river which is peaceful and good for paddle opportunities. There are picnic areas with swimming along the river which is nice for group gatherings, and one is designated for folks with pets. Some of the rugged hiking trails along the bluffs and cliffs go right along the edge with minimal guard rails or walls, so keep a close eye on kids and pets because going over the edge is a possibility so utmost caution is advised.

Nice for smaller rigs

Nice State Park kind of in the middle of no where. Super easy access and close to Pipestone National Monument. On a nice little lake with prairie views. Don't recommend for larger rigs. We struggled with our 44ft 5th wheel, only one site could fit us and it was tight to get in and out. All in all its not my favorite but a good place to call base and explore Pipestone and even Sioux Falls.

Questionable place

This is my experience at Shades. We were seasonal campers for 4 years. We should've listened to the warnings and read the reviews beforehand. Pros:(before covid) The activities for the kids, Tubbing, The pond. Some of the the fellow campers are amazing and became a sort of family. It has as very beautiful scenery. And it's not too far from the cities. Cons: Owner does not take care of the place like he should. He did not fix anything around the campground besides getting new signs the whole time we were there. The bathrooms are falling apart, there are huge holes in the ceilings, they are often dirty and not well stocked. Many of the port-a-pottys have huge cracks in the walls to where you are seen by everyone on the outside and the doors do not close properly. They are also often times not well cleaned or well stocked. The campground had several campers contract Crypto 2 years ago due to how the campground and facilities are kept. The showers cost$0.25 for 7 minutes. The mini golf course was in terrible condition and falling apart, they said they were fixing it but never did the entire 2020 season. It just sat there in shambles. They Charge and over charge for everything you do. Each activity has a cost. Or you can buy wrist bands for everything. On holiday weekends expect to pay more than$500 on camping and bands for a family of 4. More than half of the staff was very rude and unprofessional.(we did have some positive experience with other staff members) last year a drunk male staff member was inappropriately touching a female weekend camper in front of everyone thinking it was funny. They did NOT comply with covid guidelines.(We stayed at our own site most of the time due to that) The pool and pound were always full of people. Masks were not always worn inside the store. The barn still held dances and Bingo with people NOT required to wear masks. Minors are constantly driving golf carts around. One of them almost hit my 3 year old daughter. The parks were not well taken care of and leaning. My 4year old son was stung by several bee's that had created a nest at one of them. Many campers drive their golf carts recklessly, drunk and speeding through the campground. Two golf carts ended up having an accident and running into each other because of that.(it happened close to our site where we have small kids that played) and Several campsites would constantly blare their music, sing and yell until 2-3am. So please take from this review what you will, but this was not the"Happy Place" we envisioned.

Newly renovated

I’ve already done a review for this park but they have recently renovated it I feel the need to redo it. Spots 1-17 have remained the same and are awesome. Spots 18-46 are second best. Even numbered sites on the lake are better than the odd numbered sites but both have a few of the lake. The rest of the sites ‘unfinished’ - no grass, weeds, and just need more attention. The photos are from site 33

You simply cannot beat this view

Site 20 has an absolutely outstanding view of Lake Pepin and fall colors. The first and second loops have a mix of tent sites and electric sites, but it was quiet and peaceful. The electric sites seem small, so big rigs are deterred from setting up shop(and generators). The third and fourth loops are non-electric and also pretty closely packed in. The sites on the inside of all the loops are TINY and there’s very little privacy between sites. My top sites would be 5, 19e, 20, 22, 42, 46, and 49 in terms of view and privacy. 

Site 20 has adequate privacy between sites—but everyone on the trail can see your campsite, and the trail from the campsite to the bluff trail is right next door. All of this is offset by the gorgeous view. Plenty of trees for hammocks if you’re on the outside circle. The site itself was level and had a very spacious gravel tent area. The fire pit was clean and had a grate on top. Restrooms were clean with lots of social distance signage. When the wind died down, you could easily hear trains—there are several that run nearby. 

A couple random notes:

  • Firewood is $6/bundle and ice is $3/bag (5 lbs). Both are self-pay with the options of cash, check, or credit card.
  • Cell reception for T-Mobile was good.