A group of young women — high school friends from Stillwater — have spent the past several summers reuniting during a long weekend. This year, they’re planning a July getaway that they hope will include swimming, hiking and a brand-new element: a pleasant place to park the RV.
One of the women’s parents is lending the crew a “big honking” recreational vehicle, which means two things: The fun will begin the moment they hit the road and they want guidance on which state park offers a good place to hook up their roving kitchen-bedroom-living room behemoth.
“Lots of people these days are looking for the full hookup,” said Amy Barrett of the Parks and Trails Division of Minnesota’s Department of Natural Resources. Those are the spots with water, electrical and sewer service. Three state parks offers that complete package: Lac qui Parle State Park, Lake Shetek State Park and Red River State Recreation Area.
If the RV is particularly difficult to maneuver (because the driver is a novice, or the RV is gigantic — or both), it could be reassuring to have a pull-through site, which requires no awkward backing up when it comes time to leave. In that case, take note that Red River State Recreation Area has 79 such sites, the Upper Sioux Agency State Park offers 39, Scenic State Park has 21 and Itasca State Park has 11.
If the women are up for a long drive, I suggest Scenic State Park, near Bigfork, in north-central Minnesota. The reward for the drive will be pristine lakes, virgin pines, a swimming beach and a wilderness-like setting. I’m also a fan of Itasca, with the headwaters of the Mississippi, and canoe and bike rental available. More info at www.dnr.state.mn.us/state_parks.
Send your questions or tips to travel editor Kerri Westenberg at firstname.lastname@example.org, and follow her on twitter @kerriwestenberg.