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Want an all-inclusive RV camping vacation with accommodations, amenities, and proximity to external attractions? Then Fort Ridgely Campground is precisely what you're looking for. This RV campground is located in Fort Ridgely State Park. It is open seasonally from the beginning of April until mid to late October. The state park began as the original Fort Ridgely, built on the outskirts of the Dakota Reservation, and is historically significant for its participation in the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862. The area was later cultivated for logging, farming, grazing, and urban development, but today, it is an open space with a variety of meadows. Some of the meadows have tree stands, others tall prairie grass or non-native plant species.
Some of the campsites at Fort Ridgely Campground have pull-through access, but most are back-in; roughly half of the campsites have electrical hookups, and all sites have an RV length limit of approximately 60 feet. The campground has an area designated as a horse camp, and this is where you'll find showers and flush toilets; there are vault toilets located throughout the park and a dump station where you can empty your RV tanks. Rental cabins are available, and there are a handful of walk-in (tent camping) sites a short distance away. If you need supplies or just want to take a break and relax, the town of Fairfax is a few minutes' drive away.
Once you've booked one of the RV rentals in Renville County, you can start your vacation by heading for Cedar Mountain Scientific and Natural Area near Franklin. This SNA is one of several that are located along the Minnesota River; their purpose is to study the bedrock, which may be as much as 3.6 billion years old. It's an ideal location for nature and wildlife photography, wildlife viewing, and hiking, although there aren't any designated trails within the park. In the winter, you can enjoy snowshoeing and cross-country skiing.
Flandrau State Park is a cultivated outdoor recreation area near the town of New Ulm. Flandrau has a beach swimming area, a sand-bottom swimming pool, a playground, and much more. You can picnic here in certain areas or make use of the picnic shelter, which is ADA accessible, and has a kitchen (you should make a reservation if you need to use it). The park also has a volleyball court and equipment (you can get the equipment from the park office) and a horseshoe pitch. You can enjoy fishing on the Cottonwood River and boating, although you will have to carry your boat, canoe, or kayak into the park to reach the river.
Jeffers Petroglyphs is an archeological and historical goldmine, with rock carvings that will help you to understand the Native American cultures and tribes that created them. The park has a visitor center with videos, exhibits, and hands-on activities that explain Native American life in the past as well as the prairie ecosystem that supported them. It has a museum store where you can buy jewelry, gifts, souvenirs, and snacks. You can hike in the park, and there are several trails to choose from. One of them is shorter and follows a gravel path that is ADA accessible; this trail will take you to the petroglyphs. Another longer trail follows a grass path from the end of the short trail through the prairie where you'll witness flowers, tall grass, cactus, and different species of birds; it loops back to the visitor center and is not ADA accessible.
You will want to take some time to enjoy the culture while renting an RV here and a good place to start it in Hector, a small town named after a township in New York State. Hector has outlets where you can shop for gifts for your friends and family back home, and a small sampling of restaurants where you can grab a bite to eat.
Olivia is a small town where you'll be greeted by a monument shaped like an ear of corn (you won't be able to miss it as it is approximately 50 feet tall). If you're here during the last weekend in July, you'll be able to catch the town's celebration of its status as the self-proclaimed “Corn Capital of the World.” It also has a handful of restaurants on hand, a few of them being commercial chain-style eateries; the cuisine is almost exclusively American, but you can get a good meal here.
History, culture, and breathtaking outdoor scenery; you'll find it all here while camping at Fort Ridgely State Park.