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Popular with small families and first-time RV drivers who want a little more room than a van. Comparable to driving a truck.
The smallest and nimblest of fully enclosed RVs. Drives like a van. Loves posing for Instagram.
A formal-sounding name for camper van, but just as photogenic.
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Hugging the eastern shores of Upper Red Lake, the Big Bog Campground is an ideal destination for anglers wanting to try their luck in the waters of Waskish. Aside from its 31 campsites with electric hookups, the RV park also features six camper cabins that are heated throughout the year.
RV camping at the Big Bog Campground includes access to a family-style modern shower and restroom complex near the visitor center, as well as a shower building in the campground itself. The rustic cabins don’t have indoor plumbing, but there are vault toilets just beside them for guests to use.
Some sites are ADA accessible, and fires are permitted, with firewood available for purchase from the visitor center. Pets are welcome to stay with you at the Big Bog Campground, and there’s drinking water on tap, as well as picnic tables and a sanitary dump station.
A highlight of booking one of the campsites at the Big Bog Campground is being surrounded by the Big Bog State Recreation Area, which sprawls across almost 9,500 acres of swamps, bogs, and upland “islands.” While fishing is the most popular activity within the recreation area, there’s also a raised boardwalk that allows you to access the bog and its open wetlands. Stop to read the interpretive signs that detail the unique and fragile plants that grow in the bog, including carnivorous sundews, black and white spruce, and pitcher plants. The greater Big Bog region also includes the Upper Red Lake Peatland, which has been designated as a National Natural Landmark and provides an important habitat for a variety of endangered wildlife species.
If you’re a birdwatcher, make the short drive east to the Lost River Peatland, which is a designated Scientific and Natural Area and an Audobon Important Bird Area. It covers almost 12,000 acres of nationally-significant peatland, including several spring fens that provide a breeding ground for rare species. Hair-like beak rush, beaked spike rush, and sterile sedge are all found here, together with threatened ram’s head orchid and rare sundews. Highlights for birdwatchers include sightings of short-eared owls, yellow rails, and Wilson’s phalarope while northern bog lemmings also call the peatland “home.”
Waskish campers are also within easy access of the Chippewa National Forest, which is just over an hour’s drive to the south. It encompasses a 144-acre area known as the Lost Forty that was accidentally mapped as part of Coddington Lake and, therefore, never logged. It now features some of the oldest forests in Minnesota, with some of the trees having been dated to more than 350 years old. The Chippewa National Forest also boasts over 3,000 archaeological and historic sites, including one of the United States’ best-preserved Civilian Conservation Corps camps - Camp Rabideau. You can explore along one of the four scenic byways, including the Great River Road and the Edge of the Wilderness National Scenic Byway, or get active on the almost 300 miles of non-motorized trails.
If you’re camping at the Big Bog Campground, you can pick up groceries at the small store in Waskish, which also has a gas station if you need to fill up your RV rental. Alternatively, you can make the 30-minute drive into Northome, where you’ll find more services, including a couple of restaurants if you don’t feel like cooking.
The Big Bog Campground provides a good base for visiting the city of Bemidji, which lies on the shores of Lake Bemidji and is a central hub for the Red Lake, White Earth, and Leech Lake Indian Reservations. It’s renowned for its huge statues of Paul Bunyan (a local lumberjack folk hero) and Babe the Blue Ox, which have been attracting tourists since 1937 and are now listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Bemidji is also home to the Beltrami County History Center, which occupies a restored Great Northern Depot that dates to 1912. Browse the local artifacts and photographs on display that detail the people and events that have shaped the region, then stop in at the gift shop to pick up Bemidji souvenirs. If you’re traveling with kids, don’t miss a visit to the Headwaters Science Center, which is packed with hands-on exhibits that explore the worlds of science, technology, engineering, and math. Regular Science Club events and programs for school-age kids are held here, so check their website to see what’s happening during your visit to Bemidji.
Whether you want to discover the museums of Bemidji or explore the peatlands of northern Minnesota, book an RV in Beltrami County and start planning your next vacation.