The wide expanse of Itasca State Park is nestled two hours outside of Fargo, North Dakota and four hours north of Minneapolis, Minnesota. Studded with over 100 lakes, rolling hills, and thick patches of forest, this glacial region crowns the headwaters of the Mississippi River as it winds over 2,000 miles south to the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico.
Opened in 1891, Itasca State Park is considered Minnesota’s oldest state park, but it's refused to slow down in its old age. Activities abound for those in search of adventure, or for those RV ramblers looking to relax and unwind, there's plenty of space to spread out and find a bit of peace and quiet. Keen to go camping in an RV at Itasca State Park? Book an RV in Clearwater County and gear up for the ultimate adventure.
The Great Outdoors
No matter what season brings campers to Itasca State Park, there's something for everyone. The warmth of summer is perfect for biking and birding, with many visitors come to witness the changing of the leaves, as the green expanses give way to the yellows and reds of fall. The park boasts over 50 miles of hiking and walking trails, including over one mile of accessible hiking trails and an accessible boardwalk for all to enjoy.
Those who prefer the water over the land can reserve one of the campsites lining the shores of Lake Itasca. Campers are welcome to cast a line from the bank or venture out onto the fishing pier. Boats, from pontoon to motor, are available to rent, along with paddleboards, kayaks, and canoes. Park Tours are offered year-round and include both land excursions and a lake tour.
As the blues and greens of Itasca State Park give way to white, the fun doesn’t hibernate. Skiing, snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing allow explorers to take in the snowy sights and winter wildlife. As cozy as your RV rental might feel after a snow day, the Jacob V. Brower Visitor Center’s warming area offers a more social way to beat the cold and is available around the clock during winter months.
Camping at Itasca State Park
Two RV campgrounds are available on-site at Itasca State Park, offering over 200 spaces, including 160 with electricity. The Bear Paw campground hugs the east arm of Lake Itasca. These sites cater to those with a love of water. Campers can enjoy the sounds of gently lapping waves as they gather their equipment for a day of fishing or test their tires before hitting the bike trail that runs along the shoreline.
The aptly-named Pine Ridge Campground is located in the heart of one of the park’s many forests. Within the campground is the trailhead of the LaSalle Hiking Tail, a looping walkway that meets up with a larger paved route at the Pioneer Cemetery. Campers mingle amongst the trees that create a natural boundary between neighbors and offer a mixture of peaceful solitude and community.
Both campgrounds offer several accessible sites, recycling centers, playgrounds, firewood, fresh drinking water, and multiple showers and restrooms, but neither accepts motorhomes over 60 feet long.
Exploring the Area
Visitors who are RV camping at Itasca State Park will find a host of activities to keep them occupied on-site, from the scenic outlooks of Preacher’s Grove and Peace Pipe Vista to the historic sites of Nicollet Cabin and the Aiton Heights Fire Tower. The Mary Gibbs Mississippi Headwaters Center is a great stop for those wanting to wade in the water as it makes its own trip down south. If you get hungry on your hikes and find yourself far from your home-on-wheels, you can always refuel at one of the two eateries in the park.
The Jacob V. Brower Visitor Center, the largest indoor exhibit in the park, offers visitors a look into the long history of the park and the people who came before. Focusing on historical artifacts and wildlife, the center has informative stations to keep adults entertained and hands-on exhibits to keep the little ones engaged. Also located in the Jacob V. Brower Visitor Center is a gift shop, a great place to pick up a few presents for friends and family back home, and maybe just a few keepsakes for yourself.
If 32,000 acres isn’t enough room for you to wander, there are several large parks within driving distance, including the rocky terrain of Paul Bunyan State Forest and the Chippewa National Forest, which is part of the Leech Lake Reservation. While you are out, be sure to stock up your campervan rental, as groceries and gas stations are in short supply.
Where will the open road out of Itasca State Park lead you next? Maybe to the east of Minnesota through the interconnecting parks and forests that lead to Duluth and the tip of Lake Superior. Or maybe your RV rental is headed north on the four-hour journey to the border of Canada. Or perhaps you feel the same call as the headwaters and are headed south, following the twist and turns of the Mississippi River, together. No matter where you venture to next, renting an RV near Itasca State Park gives you all the comforts of home and the ultimate freedom to explore the Land of 10,000 Lakes.