Crow Wing State Park is a rustic, 3,000-acre recreation area ideal for RV camping, fishing, hiking, or simply relaxing over a friendly picnic. With a diverse landscape and wildlife, there's no shortage of fun activities here. The valleys of the park are characterized by conifer bogs and wet prairies. The forests are brimming with pine and hardwood trees, and eagles and hawks can be seen soaring across the blue skies.
Crow Wing River, one of the park’s main attractions, was most likely named after the shape of the island, which resembles a crow's wing. However, there are also claims that it was incorrectly translated from the Ojibwe word for raven or possibly raven feather. You can find out more details on the area's Native American history if you visit the museum in Brainerd, just nine miles away from the park.
Right next to Brainerd, you have the town of Baxter, which is some ten miles away from the town of Pillager. If you plan on exploring the nearby cities or you're trying to find an RV rental in Crow Wing County, these are all great places to drop by.
Although Crow Wing River can be shallow in some places, the waters are always deep enough to support canoeing. Feel free to bring your own boat or rent one at the park. As far as the fishing goes, the most common catches around these parts include smallmouth bass and shorthead redhorse. You might have better luck fishing at the Mississippi River, though.
Another way that Crow Wing State Park campers like to spend time here is to hit one of the hiking trails that wind through the ghost town of Old Crow Wing and along the Mississippi River shoreline. As you're passing through the old town, pay attention to sites and interpretive signs that provide insights into the history of this area. While hiking through the woods and near the coast, carefully observe your surroundings as you might spot muskrat, coyote, fox, white-tailed deer, and waterfowl.
Along with the old town, history buffs might want to visit Red River Ox Trail, which was a busy trading location back in the 1820s. Be sure to stop by the old battlefield from 1768, where the Dakota and Ojibwe tribes clashed.
Camping at Crow Wing State Park
Crow Wing State Park's campground has over 50 campsites where you can park your rental RV. However, most of the sites are primitive, with only a dozen electric sites. Each site comes with a picnic table. The maximum length for RV campers is 45 feet. If you're not camping in an RV, you can book the park's camper cabin from April to October.
Pets aren't allowed in the cabin but are allowed on the other campsites, though they'll need to be on a leash in accordance with the park’s policy. Showers, toilets, dump stations are available seasonally. There's also a picnic shelter that includes toilets and electricity.
Exploring the Area
All done camping at Crow Wing State Park? Take some time to visit the family-friendly attractions nearby. One of the most notable tourist attractions close to the park is a wildlife park. Treat the kids to a fun day out and feed the giraffes, ride camels, dig for fossils, and more. The park houses an array of mammal, reptile, and bird species that you can observe and interact with.
If you want to have some fun and beat the scorching summer heat, then head to Brainerd and bring your swimsuit, because an amazing water park awaits. And it's not just a water park — this fun spot also has an arcade and laser tag. So, even if the weather isn't ideal for jumping into the water and going down the crazy slides, you'll still have plenty of fun here.
Once you're done splashing around, you'll probably be famished. Don't fret, as Brainerd has lots of restaurants. Asian and Mexican fare, pizzerias, bar and grills, bakeries, and fast-food joints can all be found here, so you won’t be leaving with an empty belly. If you plan to drive around and explore other nearby towns, you can refill the gas tank of your camper rental here as well, or go shopping for supplies.
History buffs who are keen to learn more about this region of the Land of 1,000 Lakes will jump at the chance to check out Crow Wing Historical Society. The museum showcases authentic logging tools and everyday items from the 1800s, as well as artifacts and photos detailing the railroad history of Minnesota and even a 19th-century sheriff's residence.