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The Great River Bluffs State Park lies along the border of Wisconsin and Minneapolis, on the banks of the Mississippi River that marks a natural boundary between the states. Although somewhat off the beaten path, the park is easily accessed via Highway 61 or Interstate Route 90, with approaches from Rochester and Minneapolis.
Recognized as a state park in 1976, the area was originally known as O.L Kipp State Park, a nod to a man who was integral in building the Minnesota highway system. In the late ‘90s, the park was renamed after the prominent geological formations found there; its steep buffs rise 500 feet above the river, creating narrow valleys and unique ecosystems.
Situated high on these bluffs, RV rental near Great River Bluffs State Park has become incredibly popular among hikers. The six miles of trails that wind through the park’s landscapes cater to a range of ability levels. Well-paved and fairly flat trails take less ambitious hikers on a scenic journey through the parks woodlands, flat prairies and, sumac groves. However, those who dare to venture a little further afield, and tackle some steeper trails will be rewarded with stunning vistas of the Mississippi River. Choose between the two-mile-long Great River Bluffs State Park Trail or the four-mile-long King’s Bluff Loop for some truly breath-taking scenery.
Being an otherwise relatively flat state, when you rent a camper in Great River Bluff State Park you access to some of the best, and most challenging biking routes in Minnesota. The most popular cycle trail to complete here is the Mississippi River Trail, which starts at the river’s source and runs down to its end in Louisiana. Although you may not have time to complete the whole 85-mile trail, many choose to hire a bike here for the day and complete a small section of the scenic bike trail.
Once you have had your fill of picturesque hikes and exhilarating bike rides, why not embark on a riverboat cruise, and experience the state park from a new perspective. Take in the spectacular scenery from the waters, whilst keeping an eye out for over 200 different species of bird that live in the area. Expect to see anything from waterfowl to eagles and hawks!
RV camping near Great River Bluffs State Park could not be more beautiful thanks to a primitive campground found in the middle of the grounds. This small campground offers travelers the choice of 31 back-in RV sites arranged in an accessible loop formation. Although there are no hookup facilities, the modern washroom facilities, complete with hot showers and flushing toilets, are more than enough to serve the whole campsite.
One of the best aspects of this campsite is its proximity to all of the park’s attractions, meaning once you are parked up, you won’t have to move you rental RV. Almost all of the hiking trails and a small playground are walking distance from the campsite, including two lookout platforms, a quick five-minute walk away.
For those that prefer motorhome camping with a bit more luxury, consider staying closer to Winona, for a slightly more modern RV park. Pla-Mor is just a fifteen-minute drive away from Great River Bluffs State Park and offers over 80 sites with full hook-ups for your Winona camper rental. In addition to these, there is a large swimming pool on-site, basketball court and even a bingo hall for those rainy afternoons!
For a wider selection of activities, drive into the nearby town of Winona, a charming town full of independent eateries, museums, and galleries. Whilst there, do not miss the chance to visit the Minnesota Marine Arts Museum which houses rotating exhibitions of art and artifacts relating to nautical themes. As well as a selection of local artist’s work, the museum has been known to have works from internationally renowned artists such as Vincent Van Gogh, Paul Cezanne, and even Claude Monet.
Alternatively, head downstream to the town of La Crosse, also abundant with one-off city attractions. The Dahl Auto Museum is one of the most unique attractions in town, and a must-visit for any automotive enthusiasts renting an RV nearby. This museum celebrates the Dahl family who has been automotive dealers for over 100 years. Learn about their influence in the industry as well as the history of the Ford Motor Company through immaculately restored classic cars and informative displays.
If you are looking for an activity to entertain both adults and children, look no further than the Children’s Museum of La Crosse. Dedicated to encouraging play as a vital form of learning, this museum houses three floors of interactive exhibitions for adults and children alike. Take a daring climb up the ‘Mount LeKid’ climbing wall, watch a fascinating performance in the theater room, or use the afternoon to play dress up in their costume room!