Camping is something I absolutely love to do, probably because it means we’re in the thick of summer. Lucky for me, Minnesota has ample opportunities for camping, no matter where you are.
Recently, some cousins and I celebrated our annual Family Camping Weekend, a tradition that has been going on for more than 20 years. Our campground of choice this year: Interstate State Park. We technically camped in the Wisconsin side of the park, but only because all the sites on the Minnesota site were reserved. And it’s only two and a half hours from Rochester, so the road trip isn’t too bad (if you can time it right with road construction, that is).
Both tents and RVs are welcome in the park, situated on the majestic St. Croix River. We like to go exploring through the woods and trails, but we tend to forget the bug spray. Always a mistake.
Being a state park, there are a few plaques highlighting geographic oddities, like glacial potholes on one of the hiking trails. These are holes, both large and small, carved into the rocks by smaller rocks more than 10,000 years ago. Super cool! There’s also a decent-sized beach and the water, cool early in the season, is refreshing on a hot summer afternoon.
There are a few small towns around the park, so if you’re looking for a bit more excitement, you can check them out. Taylor’s Falls, about a five-minute walk from our tent, offers canoe and kayak rentals, plus scenic boat tours on the river.
We tend to spend our days hiking and relaxing at the beach and our evenings around the fire cooking s’mores and telling stories. Either way, camping brings up great memories from the past, like when cousin Michael dropped his pie on Thanksgiving, and creates new memories, like the game Kerf-ball we invented.
Plus, you can eat a s’mores any time of day and not feel bad about it. You are camping, after all; it’s pretty much expected.
If you go
Interstate State Park
On Wisconsin Highway 35, St Croix Falls, Wis.
On the web: dnr.wi.gov/topic/parks/name/interstate
Admission: Vehicle permit pass ($10-$35) required.