Icelandic State Park is located in extreme northeastern North Dakota near the shores of Lake Renwick. Campers visiting the area will find scenic views, recreation, and plenty of outdoor activities.
The park was named to preserve North Dakota’s Icelandic Heritage and keep the local history alive. The land was once owned by the Gunlogson Family, who eventually donated a portion of their property to the state. The 912-acre state park is now home to the Pioneer Heritage Center and the Gunlogson Homestead and Nature Preserve.
The Gunlogson Homestead and Nature Preserve is 200 acres and contains many rare species of birds and animals. The mature trees that line the banks of the Tongue River, a tributary of the Pembina River, create the ideal nesting and resting place for birds like the Western Wood-Pewee and the Pileated Woodpecker. When the river passes through the park, the Renwick Dam creates Lake Renwick before the water flows back through the Gunlogson Homestead.
Although Lake Renwick is an animal sanctuary, visitors to the area will find the serene, tree-lined water as a sanctuary of sorts as well. The lake is the perfect getaway to experience nature as well as fishing, boating, birding, and wildlife viewing. The area is also home to the Cavalier Country Club and the Rendevous Region Scenic Backway, a section of the state known for its snowmobiling and pioneer and homesteading history. Whatever you like to do, whether its stay and play or relax and enjoy nature, you will find it at Icelandic State Park.
Icelandic State Park is located 165 miles northwest of Fargo and 275 miles northeast of Bismarck, North Dakota.
All vehicles entering a state park must purchase a daily vehicle permit.
Drivers pulling RVs should be aware that some roads in the park are narrow, so turning around can be a little tight in some places.
Icelandic State Park Campground is a three-looped, pet-friendly campground that offers campers many different types of hookups and amenities. The park operates year-round, but the camp facilities with water may have seasonal operations. Campers can choose from gravel or paved pull-through sites that offer water and different levels of electrical hookups from 20 amp to 50 amp, depending on the site. Water may be shared with a neighbor, so a hose splitter will come in handy. Each space has a fire ring with a grate and a picnic table, and the campground has comfort stations, vault toilets, and a dump station. Also located nearby is a camp store and a playground. Generators must be silenced during the hours of 10:00 pm through 7:00 am.
Campers who have self-contained units and don’t mind setting up around tents, tipis, or yurts can reserve one of the two pet-friendly, primitive camping areas. The primitive camping areas are grassy back in spaces that have a fire ring with a grate and a picnic table. These areas don’t have any facilities other than vault toilets. One of the camping areas has a playground nearby and a boat ramp that leads to Lake Renwick. The spaces in these areas are smaller, with the max length camper or RV of 70 feet. Generators must be silenced during the hours of 10:00 pm through 7:00 am. During the winter, some North Dakota state parks may extend generator hours overnight. Please check with the park for specifics.
If spending time on the water is your idea of fun, then bring your personal watercraft and play on Lake Renwick during your stay. If you don’t have your own watercraft, you can rent a kayak, canoe, or stand up paddleboard from the park by the hour or by the day. A life vest and paddle is included in your rental. If you are traveling with a large group, contact the park ahead of time to reserve your equipment. Calling ahead will ensure that there are enough boats or boards for your party.
Campers who like to spend their day next to the water will love the swim beach on Lake Renwick. Bring your beach chairs and your water gear and head to the beach. The beach is located near the primitive camping area. There is a parking lot, vault toilet, playground, and a concessionaire close by the beach, so you won’t have to walk far to reach these amenities. If the sun becomes too warm, head up the grassy hill and sit at a shaded picnic table. The swim beach is considered one of the best swimming locations around, so be sure to bring your suit and your sunscreen!
Most people who enjoy camping do so because they love the outdoors. The trail system at Icelandic State Park gives hikers and bikers plenty of opportunities to spend their days outside enjoying nature. The trails wind throughout the park, and one connects to the nearby town of Cavalier. Depending on the kind of path you choose, you might spend your time in a field of wildflowers, or pass over footbridges and wetland area. The trails are multi-use, and some only allow hiking, while others encourage mountain biking and hiking. Pick up a park map when you arrive and determine which trail is the best choice for your hiking and biking adventure.
During the winter when the ground is covered in snow, the trail system in the park transforms from hiking and biking trails to snowshoeing and cross country skiing trails. Not all of the trails allow winter activities, so ensure you’ve planned out your route before beginning your snowy adventure. During the winter, the weather can change quickly. Prepare for any kind of weather condition and be sure to check the weather before you take to the trails. The Wildwood, Basswood, Old Settlers, and Bluebird trails all allow cross country skiing. The Hillman trail is only open for snowshoeing during the winter, so skiers and snowshoers don’t need to worry about crossing paths.
The park is home to restored landmark buildings that visitors can walk through to learn about some of North Dakota’s homesteading years. The Akra Community Hall and the Hallson Church are both reservable for larger parties and events. The Pioneer Heritage Center is an old home that now serves as a museum. The center often hosts special programming throughout the year as an addition to its pioneer exhibits. For information on hours of operation, contact the park. The museum is open year-round, but hours change seasonally. Visiting the museum is free after purchasing a daily park pass.
RVers who love to spend time outside enjoying a park’s amenities will love Icelandic State Park. Consider renting one of the reservable picnic areas during your stay and host a group of people up to 96. The medium-sized shelter has electricity and 12 picnic tables and four rentable charcoal grills. The shelter has restrooms nearby, and it is conveniently located near all three loops of the main campground area. For information or to reserve your space contact the park.