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Activities

Established Camping

William O'Brien State Park Campground

About

State Park

William O'Brien State Park Campground, nestled near Scandia, MN, is a gem for those looking to escape the hustle and bustle without straying too far from the city. This campground is open year-round and offers a mix of tent, RV, and cabin accommodations.

One of the standout features here is the extensive network of well-maintained hiking trails. These trails wind through diverse landscapes, including woodlands, grasslands, and wetlands. Keep an eye out for the impressive beaver lodges and the abundance of birdlife. If you're into water activities, the park also offers canoe and kayak rentals, and there's a beach area for those hot summer days.

The campground itself is divided into different areas, each offering a unique experience. The Riverway Campground is popular for its proximity to the St. Croix River, while the Savanna Campground is more inland but still offers easy access to the river via hiking trails. The sites are generally spacious and clean, though some visitors have noted that the sites can be close together, so a bit of neighborly consideration goes a long way.

For those who prefer a bit more comfort, the camper cabins are a great option. These cabins come with bunk beds, a table, and benches, and are heated with electricity. Just remember, no cooking inside the cabins—there's a fire pit and picnic table outside for your culinary adventures.

Amenities include electric hookups, drinking water, showers, and toilets. Pets are welcome, and there's even a sanitary dump station for RVs. However, keep in mind that alcohol is not allowed in the park.

Whether you're planning a quick weekend getaway or a longer stay, William O'Brien State Park Campground offers a convenient and scenic retreat with plenty of activities to keep you busy.

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Location

William O'Brien State Park Campground is located in Minnesota

Detail location of campground

Directions

The park is located 12 miles north of Stillwater, just north of the town of Marine on St. Croix. The park entrance is located right on State Highway 95. After turning onto the park road the ranger station is immediately on your right.

Address

16821 O'Brien Trail N
Scandia, MN 55047

Coordinates

45.22496571 N
92.76531718 W

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Access

  • Drive-In
    Park next to your site
  • Walk-In
    Park in a lot, walk to your site.
  • Hike-In
    Backcountry sites.

Stay Connected

  • WiFi
    Unknown
  • Verizon
    Unknown
  • AT&T
    Unknown
  • T-Mobile
    Unknown

Site Types

  • Tent Sites
  • RV Sites
  • Standard (Tent/RV)
  • Group
  • Cabins

Features

For Campers

  • ADA Access
  • Trash
  • Picnic Table
  • Firewood Available
  • Phone Service
  • Reservable
  • Showers
  • Drinking Water
  • Electric Hookups
  • Toilets
  • Pets
  • Fires

For Vehicles

  • Sanitary Dump
  • Big Rig Friendly

Reviews

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4.5

out of 5

37 Reviews

Greg S.
Reviewed Aug. 12, 2023

Fun Campground near St Croix!

We had a fun time staying at the state park. Easy walking trails surround the park which is nice and convenient. Close proximity to Stillwater which made for a nice day trip. Camp sites were very clean and easy to access. Didn't feel like you were camping right next to others despite a lot of spots surrounding us.

Site83E
Month of VisitSeptember
  • Review photo of William O'Brien State Park Campground by Greg S., August 12, 2023
DThe Dyrt PRO User
Reviewed Nov. 23, 2022

Camper Cabin

We camped at William O’Brien State Park November 1-4, 2022. We were taking advantage of some unseasonably warm days, and we are so glad we did. This park is beautiful! The trails are well kept and cover woodlands, grasslands, and wetlands. There is a huge beaver lodge that can be seen from one of the trails, and we saw a smaller one from a different trail. We saw an abundance birds while we were there.

We stayed in a camper cabin (‘Vasa’) and enjoyed it. The cabins are one room plus an enclosed porch. Furnishings are bunk beds and a table with benches. The cabin was heated and had electricity. You cannot cook indoors. There is a fire pit and picnic table outside. There are three cabins on a little cul de sac by the Savanna campground. There are two vault toilets near the cabins. The water source was off for the season, but water was available at the park office.

SiteCamper Cabin ‘Vasa’
Month of VisitDecember
  • Review photo of William O'Brien State Park Campground by Deanna J., November 23, 2022
  • Review photo of William O'Brien State Park Campground by Deanna J., November 23, 2022
  • Review photo of William O'Brien State Park Campground by Deanna J., November 23, 2022
  • (8) View All
Brady J.
Reviewed Aug. 23, 2022

Lots to explore. One star off for close campsites

Overall we really enjoyed our stay. Hiking club trail was over five miles of various landscapes from marshland to lakes to prairies. Trails were very wide making it perfect for trekking with someone else. Beach on property as well as canoe/kayak rentals. As for the campground, our site was spacious and worked great. My only complaint is that the sites are all very close to one another with very little foliage diving the sites. Our neighbors were extremely loud and were pretty rowdy all evening. Playing music and having guests come and go. Past 10pm they were still not very considerate of those around them. With the sites being so close together and not very private, we could pretty much hear every word they said all night. We camp/hike to relax and enjoy the outdoors so it becomes hard to do that when others are so loud. We would go back given its convenient proximity to the metro but we would hope for a quieter stay!

Site56 - Riverside campground
Month of VisitSeptember
  • Review photo of William O'Brien State Park Campground by Brady J., August 23, 2022
  • Review photo of William O'Brien State Park Campground by Brady J., August 23, 2022
  • Review photo of William O'Brien State Park Campground by Brady J., August 23, 2022
Matt C.
Reviewed Sep. 27, 2021

Beautiful park - cramped campground

The park has two separate areas, that offer two unique experiences. The riverway campground/area is the more popular part along the St. Croix river. We booked a last-minute site at the Savanna Campground, which is more inland, although hikable to the river. This campground is pretty crowded and we dealt with some rowdy neighbors. The Park Rangers monitored the park frequently, so this is definitely not a peaceful, off-the-grid campground. But it's less than an hour from Minneapolis, and offers lots of great (and well-groomed) hiking trails.

Site121
Month of VisitOctober
  • Review photo of William O'Brien State Park Campground by Matt C., September 27, 2021
  • Review photo of William O'Brien State Park Campground by Matt C., September 27, 2021
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M
Reviewed Sep. 14, 2021

Nice campground close to the city

This was a nice campground close to the city. We stayed in the savanna campground in site 81e. This was an electric only site that was shaded and semi-private. Close the the restrooms and showers. There are nice hiking trails.

Site81e
Month of VisitOctober
Don C.
Reviewed Jul. 8, 2021

Excellent hiking and campgrounds.

We O'Brian has some of the best groomed trails that I have been on. With many miles of hiking and a few backpack sites, this is a great family location near Scandia Minnesota to bring a family with budding new excited campers. Great amenities, toilets and even camper cabins.

SiteRustic
Month of VisitAugust
  • Review photo of William O'Brien State Park Campground by Don C., July 8, 2021
  • Review photo of William O'Brien State Park Campground by Don C., July 8, 2021
  • Review photo of William O'Brien State Park Campground by Don C., July 8, 2021
  • (8) View All
Steve S.
Reviewed Jul. 7, 2021

Among the best campgrounds in MN

Lots of trees. Services within a short walk. Friendly Rangers and Camp Hosts. Beautiful along the river.

Site70E
Month of VisitAugust
Tucker A.
Reviewed Jun. 21, 2021

Awesome stay

Tight campground but good stay. Well maintained park and pretty area.

Month of VisitJuly
Clarke  N.The Dyrt PRO User
Reviewed Apr. 25, 2021

William O Brian

This was a nice campground with decent sized sites. We stayed in 63E and I was able to back in camper and leave truck attached. We enjoyed hiking their trails and I did hit the bike trail as well. Worth the trip to go there.

Site63E
Month of VisitMay
Tessa Z.
Reviewed Jan. 27, 2021

Fun weekend trip

We traveled to this state park for our annual girls weekend camping trip. We stayed @ campsite 113 in the Savana campground.

The park was absolutely gorgeous and we truly had a wonderful time! Location wise the park itself was super convenient - it was close to the cities, we got there in under an hour from where we live (near Chaska).

There were plenty of trails to explore and our campsite had plenty of room. Although there were a lot of people staying at the park when we went, we didn’t feel very cramped for space.

We stayed in the Savana campground which was really nice. However, if we were to come back I think we’d opt to stay in the Riverway campground. It was really gorgeous down by the river. We walked the riverside loop trail and really enjoyed it!

It was also really fun being close to Stillwater and Marine on St. Croix. The weekend that we camped, the weather was less than par- cold and rainy for most of it! So we spent a couple hours at the winery in Stillwater to warm up :)

  • Review photo of William O'Brien State Park Campground by Tessa Z., January 27, 2021
  • Review photo of William O'Brien State Park Campground by Tessa Z., January 27, 2021
  • Review photo of William O'Brien State Park Campground by Tessa Z., January 27, 2021
  • (6) View All
Mandee L.
Reviewed Oct. 11, 2020

Great spot under an hour from the Twin Cities

William O'Brien has two different campgrounds and we ended up staying at Savannah, and it was a really nice little campground. Most sites are relatively secluded, except mine which was kind of wide open and the location of a firewood drop box (74E). It was super large, though, so if there was a bigger party you could easily fit a few tents. The campground was really nice, but I'd probably pick a different site next time. 

The hiking at the park was fantastic. We did one longer hike that had some surprisingly good views. It was hillier than I thought it would be - not a tough hike, but hillier in that you could experience some nice views. The second day we did the river side hike, which was also very pretty but was also much more popular. I'd recommend an early morning visit to that one, especially during these Covid times.

Unrelated to the park, if you forgot any supplies, the general store in Marine on St. Croix was adorable and had really good sandwiches. Like another review said, either way I'd recommend driving in from that way regardless - the winding road and the tree canopy is really pretty.

Site74E
Month of VisitSeptember
  • Review photo of William O'Brien State Park Campground by Mandee L., October 11, 2020
  • Review photo of William O'Brien State Park Campground by Mandee L., October 11, 2020
D
Reviewed Sep. 25, 2020

Good location for peace and quiet if you avoid the weekends

My first time solo camping was at William O'Brien State Park on a Sunday evening. Weekends have been packed and reservations scarce for months at state parks in Minnesota. Arriving on a Sunday afternoon was a dream—very few people in the campground loop (especially the non-electric ones), but still able to take advantage of a weekend day.

Per others' advice, I stayed at Savannah campground because the sites are slightly bigger and more private than Riverway. Compared to Wild River State Park, the sites at Savannah are pretty cramped with inconsistent vegetation between sites. I wouldn't want to stay here when the loop is fully reserved. On a Sunday evening with only one other site reserved, it felt like I had the place to myself.

Site 117 was level, had decent privacy, and was more spacious than some of the other sites (could have put up a 3-5 person tent and a bug house). The fire pit was clean and had a grate on top. There were trees to hang a hammock. The hiking trail was about 500' away, and you could hear the occasional hiker. When the wind died down, you could also occasionally hear the loud motorcycles on the highway. Water was easy to access, but the pit toilet is in the next loop over. If I stayed again, I might try site 121 or 123 since they have more privacy.

Sites 98, 110, 111, 112, 113, and 114 are right on the road into the campground with some tree coverage and prairie behind. These do not feel very private at all.

A couple random notes: 

  • Firewood is $6/bundle. Self-pay available at site 74e if the ranger station is closed. Bring exact change since you'll be paying by envelope.
  • Cell reception for T-Mobile was minimal to non-existent. Wifi is available in the visitor center parking lot.
  • Do yourself a favor and arrive in Marine on St. Croix via Broadway Street / Maple Street. The tree canopy, winding roads, and tunnel are worth it.
Site117
Month of VisitOctober
  • Review photo of William O'Brien State Park Campground by Dani K., September 25, 2020
  • Video of Site 117
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  • Review photo of William O'Brien State Park Campground by Dani K., September 25, 2020
  • (12) View All
Krista T.
Reviewed Jul. 1, 2020

Choice of two different campgrounds

For whatever reason I always thought of William O’brien as more of a day trip park, but it actually has really nice campgrounds! There is the Riverway campground, which is more shaded and conveniently located next to the river trail(not paved, but flat and lots of people with strollers). I would avoid booking at this site if it has been a wet season, on a previous day visit the river trail was completely underwater so I’m assuming that several sites were as well.

If you book at the savanna campground you don’t have to worry so much about an overflowing river! This is also where the small rentable cabins are, and staying in one of them is definitely something I am interested in doing. This is also the campground that seemed to have an overwhelming amount of jumbo RVs since the pull-ins are pretty straight- especially the 79-96 loop. So be aware of that if you are a tent camper looking for peace and quiet and not generators. The last two loops are definitely the nicest as far as tent site quality- they are also non-electric so you don’t need to worry about RV noise.

I can’t speak on the bathrooms since the campground has portapotties set up. 

Great sites at Riverway: 1, 5, 9, 13, 47, 49, 50, 53, 59 

Great sites at Savanna: 82, 108, 114, 117, 118, 123, 125,

  • Review photo of William O'Brien State Park Campground by Krista T., July 1, 2020
  • Review photo of William O'Brien State Park Campground by Krista T., July 1, 2020
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T
Reviewed Sep. 3, 2019

Great spot near the twin cities

Great park. We camped with our two kids on just an overnight on Labor Day weekend. Lots of kids at this park, sites were big (we are tent people) and shaded. Only 4 stars because there is no trail from the upper campground. We would definitely go back. No question.

GoWhereYouAreDraw N.The Dyrt PRO User
Reviewed May. 5, 2019

Lots of cool trails

The tent area in William O'Brien State Park has access to water and bathrooms. Canoe rentals are available for the family or bring your own!

The trail on the lower section of the park follows the river and Lake Alice. Along the way you’ll pass a huge boulder that looks very out of place, it was actually left from the ice age. It is a relatively flat trail that is about 2 miles. If it hot, stay on the lower end of the park as it is mostly shady. The stop section of the park also has many hiking options and is very hilly and sunny.

  • Review photo of William O'Brien State Park Campground by GoWhereYouAreDraw N., May 5, 2019
Tikki B.
Reviewed Oct. 2, 2018

Great hiking and kayaking

I stayed in the Copas cabin and had a great time! campsite was private and lots of hiking trails. River and lake access as well for fishing, boating and kayaking.

  • Review photo of William O'Brien State Park Campground by Tikki B., October 2, 2018
  • Review photo of William O'Brien State Park Campground by Tikki B., October 2, 2018
  • Review photo of William O'Brien State Park Campground by Tikki B., October 2, 2018
  • (5) View All
Celina M.
Reviewed Sep. 13, 2018

great getaway near twin cities

This was a great spot for a quick camping trip with a fire pit and close proximity to bathrooms, as well as being right along the river. There are easy trail access from the campground.

Month of VisitJune
R
Reviewed Jul. 19, 2018

Nice hiking

I came here for the day and I love the hiking trails! I could spend all day here and it’s relaxing.

Month of VisitJune
  • Review photo of William O'Brien State Park Campground by Rudy W., July 19, 2018
  • Review photo of William O'Brien State Park Campground by Rudy W., July 19, 2018
  • Review photo of William O'Brien State Park Campground by Rudy W., July 19, 2018
Jen H.
Reviewed Jul. 11, 2018

Beautiful sites on the bluffs of the St. Croix

campsites are right by the river and alongside a nice hiking trail. Lots of trails all over the park and clean, private campsites

  • Review photo of William O'Brien State Park Campground by Jen H., July 11, 2018
  • Review photo of William O'Brien State Park Campground by Jen H., July 11, 2018
  • Review photo of William O'Brien State Park Campground by Jen H., July 11, 2018
  • (5) View All
L
Reviewed Jun. 28, 2018

Savanna Campground

This campground is lovely. You can hear frogs all night and we even saw a turtle laying eggs in a different campsite.

Michelle S.
Reviewed Jun. 19, 2018

beautiful state park

We love this park!! very friendly and well kept! Two campgrounds to chose from. Tons of hiking, fishing, and great picnic area next to the river!

T
Reviewed Jun. 12, 2018

Beautiful and clean

Next to the St Croix River. Clean and well kept. Camp sites are mostly secluded by woods but are close to neighbors. Lots of trails to explore. Beach

Month of VisitJuly
K
Reviewed Jun. 10, 2018

Quite and relaxing

This is a nice quiet campground with great hiking trails, a bike trail and close to historic Stillwater.

SiteSavanna campground #92E
Month of VisitJuly
  • The beauty of it all.
    Play button icon
  • Review photo of William O'Brien State Park Campground by Kerri N., June 10, 2018
  • Review photo of William O'Brien State Park Campground by Kerri N., June 10, 2018
N
Reviewed Jun. 7, 2018

Homey, Picturesque, Fresh Air

I camped here in April and got a camping spot on the edge of the River Campground facing the woods. I loved this spot and it was plenty big for parking two cars, tent, hammock, chairs, you name it! It appears that most tent camping is on the outer edges and RV camping is in the middle. No one was noisy, wasn't a "party" campground which was great for peace and quiet. It was great being so close to the river trail. Great views and fresh air!

SiteDrive In 51
Month of VisitMay
  • Review photo of William O'Brien State Park Campground by Nicole R., June 7, 2018
  • Review photo of William O'Brien State Park Campground by Nicole R., June 7, 2018
  • Review photo of William O'Brien State Park Campground by Nicole R., June 7, 2018
  • (4) View All
Doug B.
Reviewed Jun. 1, 2018

Close to the Metro, but very spacious

We have stayed at this campground several times. We prefer the non-electric sites, because they are usually more private, more available. There is lots of space between sites.

The lower campground is close to the river, and has beautiful trails following it. The lake is clean and is great for a swim on a warm day. We brought our kayaks, and paddled the river.

The facilities are always clean and well kept.

We really enjoy it there.

Month of VisitJune
B
Reviewed May. 17, 2018

Great access to nature and close to the metro

We stayed at the Riverway campground, there was great access to trails that went along and down to the river. An added benefit was that there was no cell service so we had relative electronic silence for the weekend too!

We loved swimming at the beach on Lake Alice and had fun with the naturalist programs. They had a stargazing class in conjunction with the U of M that was super fun until we all passed out from blood loss due to mosquitoes!

Although we didn't stay in the other campground, I don't think that looked as fun as Riverway was. Overall this park has the feel of an "Up North" park without the long drive. We would highly recommend it for families!

Site23e
Month of VisitAugust
David K.
Reviewed Sep. 3, 2017

Cold Wintry Night

I visited William O'Brien in the middle of February with two college roommates. As you can imagine, this meant snow was everywhere in the heart of winter in Minnesota. We decided to take a night trek through the park. The moon was very bright that night so visibility was excellent. We walked some trail through a frozen marsh landscape and happened upon a railroad that passed above our trail with a beautiful tunnel-overpass. We walked along the tracks after that in the brisk air and had a few run ins with white tail deer further in the brush.

The cabin we stayed in felt very welcoming. Unknown at the time I booked it, the cabin offered Wi-Fi access that ended up not working for us anyway, so that at least allowed for a bit more of a rustic experience in the end. I plan on going back to experience the park with more time on my hands in the future.

Month of VisitMarch
  • Review photo of William O'Brien State Park Campground by David K., September 3, 2017
  • Review photo of William O'Brien State Park Campground by David K., September 3, 2017
  • Review photo of William O'Brien State Park Campground by David K., September 3, 2017
  • (5) View All
Lily F.
Reviewed Aug. 19, 2017

Great emenities

Our site was wonderful. The picnic table and fire ring was great. We had an electrical hookup and the bathrooms were really clean. Great trails in the park too.

Site24E
Month of VisitSeptember
  • Review photo of William O'Brien State Park Campground by Lily F., August 19, 2017
Karlie H.
Reviewed Aug. 19, 2017

Camping

Overall experience was great. Took us awhile to find our actual site but once we found it everything went really well and we all had a great time!

SiteGC1
Month of VisitSeptember
  • Review photo of William O'Brien State Park Campground by Karlie H., August 19, 2017

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does it cost to camp at William O'Brien State Park Campground?

Camping at William O'Brien State Park Campground can cost between $16.00 and $250.00 depending on the site.

What is the max vehicle length at William O'Brien State Park Campground?

William O'Brien State Park Campground allows vehicles up to 60 feet.

Are fires allowed at William O'Brien State Park Campground?

Yes, according to campers on TheDyrt.com, fires are allowed at William O'Brien State Park Campground, although make sure to check current fire restrictions in the area.

Does William O'Brien State Park Campground have wifi?

No, according to campers on TheDyrt.com, William O'Brien State Park Campground does not have wifi.