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With an area spreading across 15,000 acres, Savanna Portage State Park is one of the largest state parks in Minnesota. Boasting scenic forests, pristine lakes, rolling hills, and vibrant marshlands, this a true haven for RV campers, hikers, history buffs, and anglers.
The park is just 17 miles northeast of the small town of McGregor, which makes it a perfect rural retreat for state park camping enthusiasts or families on vacation. The park has lovely trails winding through northern hardwood forests and large bogs that were once glacial lakes. The trails can be used for hiking and biking or skiing and snowshoeing in the winter. One of the main attractions is the Savanna Portage Trail, which was used by natives, explorers, fur traders, and voyagers for over 200 years. Visitors can now traverse this iconic path and even spot some avian and mammal dwellers along the way, like warblers, deer, wolves, skunks, and bears.
Renting an RV is one of the best ways to experience the park and explore the surrounding area at the same time. Book an RV in Aitkin County, or some of the nearby towns like Floodwood (50 miles away) and Cromwell (30 miles away).
Savanna Portage State Park is a place where you can stretch your muscles, relax, cool off, and learn new things. There are multiple trails to choose from, so you can opt for an easier one just to test if you have what it takes to finish a more challenging one. There are also pathways for mountain biking, so if you can conquer the craggy, hilly terrain, the park will reward you with a spectacular panoramic view.
The park is also home to multiple lakes where you can swim or just relax sunbathing on the shore. Loon Lake is typically packed with trout, and fishing is permitted, so pack your gear and your boat (rentals are also available at the park). These are brook trout, which are quite small, so you might need to catch a few or a dozen if you're planning a dinner for you and your friends or family.
Guests are encouraged to take a tour of the visitors' center. The place offers a lot of insight into the history and culture of this area. As stated the area was one of the main traders' routes for 200 years, and there are detailed historical descriptions on the interpretive displays, placed around the visitors' center.
There are over 60 sites at Savanna Portage State Park for RV camping. Eighteen sites have electric hookups and are available during spring, summer, and fall. Water is also available from May until early October, and the same goes for the bathroom facilities. The campground is open year-round, but less than half the sites remain open during the off-season. You'll also need to reserve your site in advance.
Showers and toilets typically open up during the second week of May. The length limit for vehicles is 55 feet. Facilities that are unavailable near the campgrounds during winter will be available at the park’s office.
Motorhome camping at Savanna Portage State Park means you're a bit far removed from urban and populated areas. As a result, it will take some 20 minutes to drive in order to reach McGregor if you need to purchase provisions or fuel for your camper rental.
Once you've recharged your batteries during your rustic retreat, you might be up for visiting the bustling state capital, Saint Paul. It's a two-hour drive away, but the amount of things you can see and do here is worth it.
The first place on your list will undoubtedly be Saint Paul’s Zoo and Conservatory. Animals, gardens, art, food, an amusement park: this place has everything. If you're traveling with your children, this will be a golden opportunity for them to see different animal species and learn about wildlife. You'll also get to enjoy a beautiful display of exotic plants in the Enchanted Garden, Orchid House, Fern Room, and the other gardens in the conservatory. You can also grab a bite to eat if you're hungry.
When it comes to dining options in Saint Paul, you can expect French, Thai, Japanese, Mexican, and Italian fare, to name just a few. Next, you can head to the part of the town known as Cathedral Hill, where you can see and enter the Cathedral of Saint Paul. This is an example of Beaux-Arts architecture at its finest, completed back in 1915. The interior is admired for its marble columns, rose windows, and evangelist statues.