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Between Detroit Lakes and Fargo, the Buffalo River Campground offers all you need for a relaxing stay in western Minnesota. It’s surrounded by the beautiful Buffalo River State Park (one of the largest remnant prairies in Minnesota) while being on the doorstep of the Bluestem Prairie Scientific and Natural Area.
RV camping at the Buffalo River Campground includes access to 44 level RV sites (electric only), with convenient water fill and dump stations available. Some sites are accessible to big rigs, and pets are welcome to stay with you. Glyndon campers should keep in mind that there’s no Wi-Fi and phone service can be limited, which is ideal for those wanting to digitally detox during their stay.
There’s a sand-bottom swimming pool at the Buffalo River Campground where you can cool off during the summer months, with lifeguards patrolling the artificial beach. If you’re an avid angler, there are also good fishing opportunities in the Buffalo River and plenty of hiking and cross-country skiing trails to explore.
A highlight of staying in the campsites at the Buffalo River Campground is their access to the recreational pursuits of Buffalo State Park. It encompasses the closest swimming lake to the Fargo-Moorhead metropolitan area, which makes it an incredibly popular destination for residents to come and swim, picnic, and relax. When the park was originally founded, the focus was on its natural swimming hole, although the quality and rarity of its surrounding prairie were later recognized for their natural significance. In addition, there’s also a cluster of rustic-style buildings that were constructed by the National Park Service during the early years and later added to the National Register of Historic Places. Bird lovers should coincide their visit with spring to see the courtship ritual of the greater prairie chicken that’s a highlight on the annual birding calendar.
Around an hour’s drive south of the Buffalo River State Park is the Maplewood State Park, which encompasses 9,250 acres scattered with eight lakes. It’s renowned for its sugar maple, American elm, and oak trees that ignite with color during the fall season, as well as being home to several small villages constructed by Jim Fletcher, the author of The Lore Adventure trilogy. A highlight of the park is the Maplewood archaeological site that was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1978 and preserves a habitation site that is believed to have been occupied as early as the 7th century. Aside from its hiking, horseback riding, and cross-country skiing trails, the park is also frequented by myriad birdlife that attracts local enthusiasts.
The Buffalo River Campground is also within easy access of the Smoky Hills State Forest, which is carved by the Shell River and dotted with several shallow lakes. Aside from its 13 miles of hiking trails and 30 miles of snowmobile trails, the park is also accessible to ATVers, with over 15 miles of trails. They utilize portions of the Navillus, Hanna Ore, and Wolf Lake State Forest roads. If you enjoy hunting, it’s also possible to find deer and grouse during the fall season in the Smoky Hills State Park.
When camping at the Buffalo River Campground, you can pick up groceries at the small supermarket in Glyndon, which is just five minutes’ drive away. There’s also a gas station here if you need to fill up your RV rental and a couple of grill-style bars if you want a meal out. Alternatively, you can drive ten minutes in the other direction to Hawley, where there’s a greater selection of services and eateries available.
Continue driving east, and you’ll eventually arrive at Detroit Lake, which is home to a mile-long beach that stretches along the shores of Little Detroit Lake. It’s an ideal destination for swimming and sunbathing during the warmer months, with two public access areas for launching fishing boats, kayaks, and canoes. Coincide your visit with the Lakes Area Farmers Market, which takes place in adjacent People’s Park or stop in at the Becker County Museum to delve into the local history. Aside from its cultural heritage displays that include old carriages and antique toys, the museum also features several scientific exhibits and those designed specifically for children.
A 25-minute drive west of the Buffalo River Campground is the city of Fargo, which lies just across Minnesota’s border with North Dakota. It’s home to a great selection of museums that will appeal to all interests, including the Plains Art Museum that’s housed within an old warehouse. Admire the Native American and contemporary works of art on display, then get up close to vintage aircraft at the Fargo Air Museum. Fargo is also home to the Red River Zoo, which specializes in cool-climate species, such as rare red pandas, Russian red tree squirrels, and Sichuan takin.
Whether you want to cool off in the swimming hole of the Buffalo River State Park or explore the cultural attractions of Fargo, book an RV in Clay County and start planning your next vacation.