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Mille Lacs Kathio State Park is a historic Minnesota park situated near the heart of the state and is best known for containing many ancient Native American sites. During the mid-1800s, the state park was a sought-after logging spot. The trees cut down here would then be sent down to local sawmills via the Mille Lacs Lake.
The area has a humid continental climate, which causes the summers to be hot and the winters to be brutally cold and snowy. Mille Lacs Kathio State Park is a short drive away from major cities such as Brainerd and St. Cloud.
Visitors to Mille Lacs Kathio State Park will find many outdoor activities to do while here. Birdwatching is one to try. This state park is a favorite nesting spot for many species, such as loons, bald eagles, finches, and nuthatches. Some of the best trails in the park for birdwatching are the Rum River Trail and Kathio Highlands Trail. Should you prefer easier birdwatching adventures, birdwatchers could stop by the park’s visitor center that has many bird feeders that are often visited by a handful of different species.
You could also go hiking in the park. Mille Lacs Kathio State Park is filled with numerous trails that will take you through forests and by many of the park’s famous archaeological sites. Some trails will also guide you to the park’s observational tower which you can climb up to get panoramic views of the area. Along the way, you might also be able to see some of the park’s abundant wildlife roaming around, like beavers and coyotes.
Another way to enjoy the great outdoors while at the park is to go fishing. This state park rests along the shoreline of Ogechie Lake, which covers over 409 acres and is filled with species such as bass, bullhead, walleye, and carp. There is no boat ramp, so you will more than likely need to fish along the lake’s small beach. However, there are a few kayak and canoe rentals available.
When you book an RV rental in Mille Lacs County, you will find many RV campgrounds nearby. One option is Petaga Campground. This campground is only a few minutes away from Mille Lacs Kathio State Park and has 25 RV sites. Some amenities included with your stay are electric, water, restrooms, showers, and picnic tables. This is also a pet-friendly camping spot.
You could also keep your motorhome at Pete’s Retreat Family Campground and RV Park. There are 99 sites available that come with features such as 20, 30, 50 amp electric, water and sewer hookups, fire rings, and picnic tables. This campground also has a fish cleaning house, snack bar, game room, and restrooms/showers.
You’ll discover many nearby attractions to venture to with your motorhome when you’d like to explore the surrounding area. In St. Cloud, there’s the Munsinger Gardens. Situated next to the Mississippi River, this botanical attraction is home to hundreds of different plants, including a few tropical species in its greenhouse. Munsinger Gardens also hosts numerous events throughout the year, such as music festivals and art fairs. There is a garden shop on the grounds where you’ll find a variety of garden-themed merchandise for sale, such as gardening books and seeds.
An hour away from Mille Lacs Kathio State Park in Minneapolis is the Minneapolis Institute of Art. This art museum contains over 90,000 pieces that range from abstract paintings to clothing from the 1700s. Museum-goers can tour the various exhibits themselves or sign up for one of the many guided tours available that focus on different art themes. When you’re done exploring, visitors could stop by the museum’s cafe or shop in its small store.
In St. Paul, visitors could also stop by the James J. Hill House. Built-in 1891, this mansion was the home of James J. Hill, a railroad tycoon. Tours can be taken of the home where visitors will be able to view chandeliers, stained glass, antique furniture, and old mechanical systems used for electricity and plumbing. In addition to this, the home also offers tours of the surrounding neighborhood, which is filled with many other interesting historical structures. Admission tickets are required, and prices range based on age.
While in the area, drive your camper to Grand Rapids and check out Old Central School. This three-story structure once served as a schoolhouse and as the first library in the city before it was converted into a marketplace. While here, you’ll find a variety of different shops to browse through that sell everything from home decor to artisan chocolate.