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Flandrau State Park is located right across from the city of New Ulm, Minnesota. The gently flowing Cottonwood River flows through the park, and it was after this river that the park was first named when it came into being. From wooded river bottoms to oak-shaded bluffs to oxbow marshes and open grasslands, the park has a very diverse terrain that attracts campers from far and wide. For this very reason, book an RV in Brown County to explore the area and its offerings. You could also check out the nearby cities of Mankato and Saint Peter in your rental RV, as they are not far off.
Flandrau was first used as the site for a Works Project Administration camp during the 1930s and 1940s; the Germans then used it briefly as a Prisoners Camp during World War II. It was renamed Flandrau State Park after Charles Flandrau who helped draft the first constitution of Minnesota. Many of the structures built then are still used in the park and listed as a district in the National Register of Historic Places. Don’t forget to check them out when you go camping at Flandrau State Park.
The park offers hikers and cross-country skiers a diversity of landscapes to explore over eight miles of trails. The winter months have six miles of trails that are specially groomed for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. The Grassland Trail covers a little over a mile both ways, with steep terrain. Cottonwood Trail is a mile and a half both ways, and you’ll cross rolling hills on this hike. River Trail is steep, covering a little less than half a mile. The Pool and Woodland Trails are an easy half a mile loop that’s mostly flat. You can discover a wide variety of plant life on this short hike.
The best location to fish in the park during your motorhome camping trip is downstream near the end of the Cottonwood River, by the park’s eastern edge. Carry-in boats, kayaks and canoes can be used if you want to paddle down the river and fish.
Splash around in the chlorinated, sand-bottomed swimming pond in the summer months from June to August. There are lifeguards at the pool during the day. Remember to keep your pets away from the beach areas.
When you go RV camping at Flandrau State Park, make use of the huge playground that can be used for a friendly game of volleyball or set up a picnic lunch at the picnic areas along the Cottonwood River.
Flandrau State Park camping areas come equipped with 30 and 50 AMP electric service, big rig access, tent camping, restrooms, and showers. There are 84 sites spread over three campgrounds, with options for electric, non-electric, and rustic campsites. One site is disability equipped while there are three walk-in sites that require between 100-300 yards of walking to reach them. There is also a designated pet area for Fluffy.
If you’re looking for a place to camp in an RV near Flandrau State Park, head to Sleepy Eye and Sportsman Park, about 13 miles from Flandrau. This is a small campground with just 16 sites that have 30 and 50 AMP electric service, big rig access, tent camping, and decent cell phone coverage. The campground is pet-friendly, and kids are welcome too.
A little further away in Madelia is Watona Park with 28 sites offering amenities like pull-thru sites, full hookups, 30 and 50 AMP electric service, water, sewers, tent camping, WiFi and cell phone reception, restrooms, showers, and pool access for the kids to splash around in.
Flandrau State Park campers will find a variety of shopping and dining opportunities as well as cultural attractions in New Ulm. Minnesota has a rich German heritage that is visible in its buildings, town folk, events, and food. Take a leisurely walk downtown to soak in the German architecture, roads, and stores. Gift shops here sell every kind of souvenir imaginable. Listen out for the Glockenspiel chime that rings out thrice a day.
Stop by at the Schell Brewery whose scenic grounds resemble more of a town square. Check out the Museum of Brewing while you are there and do take a tour of the grounds that are available over weekends.
Visit the Hermann Monument that is open daily from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day, and head up the spiral staircase to the dome for a scenic view of the city. Book lovers, take a tour of the Wanda Gag House, renowned for her ‘Millions of cats’ book. A fun place to take the kids is the Riverside History and Nature Learning Center that has hands-on displays and fun for all ages. This too is open from Memorial Day to Labor Day weekend.
Since you are in German surroundings, an authentic German meal is what you should indulge in while in New Ulm. This would be a great way to end the day.