For visitors who want to have a peaceful getaway from the city and live within the embrace of nature while camping in their RV, Minnesota’s Frontenac State Park is an unforgettable trip in the wild. Frontenac State Park has many advantages over other parks in Minnesota. Perhaps the strongest feature of all is that it overlooks Lake Pepin, a direct extension from the Mississippi River. At 21 miles long and covering almost 30,000 acres, Lake Pepin is the largest lake on the river. Lake Pepin has a stunningly beautiful shoreline with large trees to shade visitors as they enjoy a number of activities. Things to do at Frontenac State Park include fishing, boating, picnicking, hiking, and more.
Another major attraction of the Frontenac State Park is that it is a popular migratory stop for birds. Over 250 bird species have been sighted and recorded in the area across the different regions of the park. The park is a convenient stop for migratory species during both the spring and the fall months. Some of these birds even nest nearby in Lake Pepin’s diverse habitat, making it easier for bird watchers to closely observe magnificent bird species such as eagles, warblers, and shorebirds. In addition to the aviary residents, the spectacular woodlands host a generous amount of wildlife, including deer, wild turkey, and raccoons, all of which visitors can spot while hiking on any of Frontenac's glorious natural trails.
Visitors can easily reach Frontenac State Park by driving seven miles northwest of Lake City until they reach the small community of Frontenac. From there, they will be able to locate the park entrance by following signs on local roads. The roads are paved and present no problems for RVs or trailers since they don’t contain any low bridges that could block the way. Once inside of the park, campers who have already reserved an overnight stay can park their RV at one of the park's spacious campsites. Be sure to confirm with the reservations office that the campsite is RV-friendly since not all sites are large enough to accommodate an RV.
Frontenac State Park Campground has a total of 58 campsites and is located high up on a bluff overlooking the Mississippi River. Nineteen of these sites have electrical hookups and the rest are primitive with no hookups. Each campsite comes with a picnic table and a fire ring. The campground is pet-friendly and includes several amenities such as restrooms, hot showers, potable water, and a dump station. If you want to get some exercise, you can access the hiking trails close to your campsite, and the kids will have a blast at the campground's play area.
The maximum RV length that can be accommodated is 53 feet. RVers will want to make sure that they have reserved a site ahead of time as campsites are available year-round by reservation only. Please note that the running water at the showers and flush toilets are only in service from May until October.
For larger groups, there is a group campsite that can host up to 35 people. The campsite has its own water connections as well as vault toilets and picnic shelters. Guests should be aware that since the group campsite is designed for primitive camping, campers on this site are not permitted to have access to the main campground's showers.
In addition to the loop campsites, there are a few sites designed for cart-in/backpack camping. The cart-in site is located less than a half-mile from the main parking lot and is a place where campers can load their gear into a cart to transport the gear to their primitive campsites. Alternatively, they can also just backpack in all of their camping gear. Be aware that because these are not part of the main campground, campers on these primitive campsites are not permitted to use the showers in the main campground.
During the winter months, when beautiful, white snow covers the landscape, opportunities for adrenaline-packed activities arise. Frontenac State Park offers a couple of groomed snow trails for cross-country skiing, sledding, and snowmobiling. With a grand distance of eight miles of snow-based fun, visitors will love this winter wonderland.
The park's sledding hill overlooks the scenic Lake Pepin, offering visitors a great view to go along with their fun adventures. Frontenac State Park also has warm picnic shelters that are equipped with firewood, electricity, and a stove for warming up and resting. Guests can easily rent snowshoes and other equipment at the park’s office and in park rental shops.
Explore the wonders of nature with a variety of hiking trails spreading out over 20 miles. The trails are appropriate for visitors of all ages, offering easy, moderate or challenging routes. The various trails take visitors through several different locations, including upward climbs to scenic overlooks of Lake Pepin, comfortable strolls along the shores of the Mississippi River, or even the historical prairies that have been preserved for sightseeing. In the summer and fall months, guided hikes are available for those who would prefer to hike with a group under the direction of an experienced tour guide. There is also a self-guided trail with clear signposts as well as a one-mile, ADA-accessible trail.
Avid bird watchers will find that Frontenac State Park is an aviary paradise. Over 250 species fly through and sometimes nest in this park. Guests will be amazed at the number of species they can see in just one day. Ask a park ranger for a checklist of all the probable species that you could spot while within park boundaries. Grab the binoculars and make sure to be here during the migration season because there is a large variety of beautiful, unique, and often endangered birds to see. Common sightings include barred owls, tree swallows, and green herons.
During the fall, when the weather is perfect, and the mosquitoes disappear, picnicking is a leisure activity that guests will not want to miss out on. Whether at the campsite or out on the trails, guests will be surrounded by some of nature's most exquisite work. The vibrant colors of the trees in fall are a perfect backdrop for a nice meal with the family. Guests can reserve any of the picnic shelters at various locations spread out across the park. The shelters are equipped with a stove, wood, and many of them also have electricity.
Anglers can bring their fishing equipment with them and pick a spot to fish among some of the most species-rich water available. Lake Pepin and the Mississippi River are full of walleyes, both small and largemouth bass, as well as many other species of fish. Anglers can pick a spot along the shore or paddle out on the water for deeper fishing. Don't forget to review and observe all of the park's water safety rules before heading out.
Due to its strategic location, there is an exciting variety of lake-based activities that park visitors can enjoy. The park overlooks the scenic Lake Pepin, which is a beautiful widening of the Mississippi River. Guests can rent a boat and sail through some of the most amazing water while feasting their eyes on the breathtaking scenery. Canoes and kayaks can easily be rented from inside the park. The rental area is located about three-quarters of a mile from the lake and is open during the summer and fall months.