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Located among the glacial hills of Leaf Mountain is a lovely area caped with maple trees, elms, basswood, and oak. Named after its scenic woodland setting, Maplewood State Park protects 9,250 acres of land and attracts campers, horseback riders, hikers, and nature lovers throughout the whole year. The park also boasts pristine lakes and ponds where guests can relax, watch wildlife, or fish.
One of the top attractions during the summer season is definitely the picnic areas and sandy coastline of Lake Lida. During the winter, on the other hand, the park undergoes a transformation. The lake surface freezes and snow completely covers the grass prairies, which makes the place ideal for cross-country skiing.
Maplewood State Park is also near the town of Pelican Rapids, which will come in handy if you need to go to a grocery store or gas station. If you're planning on camping at Maplewood State Park, you can look for RV rentals in Pelican Rapids, or in another nearby city like Frazee (23 miles away) or Fergus Falls (27 miles away). Once you're ready to explore the wonders of Maplewood State Park, just book an RV in Otter Tail County and start packing for your adventure.
In addition to the beautiful natural surroundings, a key component of the park’s allure is the array of engaging activities on offer. Seasonal water-based activities include swimming, boating, and fishing at the lake. If you don't have your own watercraft, you can rent a boat at the park office. If you have your own boat, check with the park staff about any restrictions pertaining to motorized boating. In terms of fishing, the lakes are mostly filled with rainbow trout, sunfish and crappie, but there are a lot of other underwater dwellers, so you should have a fruitful fishing trip.
Once your interest in lakes and ponds has run its course, feel free to hit some of the park’s trails. There's a two-mile self-guided track which is great for guests who aren't seasoned hikers. A more challenging trail totals 25 miles, offering a great opportunity to test your mettle. Finally, if you prefer to traverse the paths on the back of your horse, a specially groomed 20-mile track is available as well. During winter, different tracks become available, ones that are specifically tailored either for cross-country skiing, snowmobile riding, or snowshoeing.
State park camping is a chance to observe and reflect, and keen wildlife watchers can learn a lot simply by paying attention to their environment. Typically, you can spot forest critters like raccoons, squirrels, and chipmunks as they wander around. Near the lakes, you can expect to see beavers as well. As the park’s landscape is diverse, different bird species come here to roost, and various mammals, reptiles, and amphibians are found throughout the park. Depending on the location and the season, you can see muskrats, red foxes, ospreys, turkey vultures, shouldered hawks, and many more.
Maplewood State Park RV campgrounds boast over 70 drive-in sites, and almost half of those offer 50-amp electric hookups. The length limit for RV rentals is 50 feet. Maplewood State Park campers have access to a dump station, drinking water, and shower and bathroom facilities.
Other amenities you can find here include a picnic table and a fire ring. First-come, first-served sites aren't available here, so be sure to reserve your site in advance. You can pick a site with a scenic view or you can opt for a space in the shade.
Once you decide to step outside the park's borders and see what else Otter Tail County has to offer, you can pay Pelican Rapids a visit. The town is just a few minutes away, which is convenient if you need to refuel the rig or stock up on supplies. Pelican Rapids also has several restaurants, fast-food joints, and pizzerias in case you want to eat out. One of the main attractions here is a giant pelican statue, the largest one in the world probably nearly 16 feet tall. The statue was built in 1957 and it's standing at the bottom of the Mill Pond dam.
To learn about the history and wildlife of the county in more detail, you should drive to Fergus Falls and visit Otter Tail County Historical Society. Here, you'll hear the stories of what life was like for the Native Americans and early settlers back in the 1900s. For those who would like to take a part of Otter Tail County back home with them, they can always go to the historical society's gift shop and find the perfect souvenir.
Some 15 miles from the park in the area of Vergas is a small zoo. Parents who are on vacation with their kids often come here, as their toddlers can play, learn new things, and pet the animals. You can also ride camels here and take selfies with the animals, so it’s definitely going to be a trip to remember.