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On the banks of the St. Croix River, the William O'Brien Campground offers a peaceful RV setting near Minnesota’s border with Wisconsin. It lies within the William O’Brien State Park, which is a popular destination for anglers, birdwatchers, and boaters, as well as hikers who come to explore the park’s rolling, wooded hills.
RV camping at the William O’Brien Campground includes access to more than 100 RV sites, with full hookups offering 50-amp electric connections available. Guests can take advantage of the sanitary dump station, flush toilets, and hot showers, and pets are also welcome to stay with you at the RV park.
There’s a swimming beach where you can cool off in the waters of Lake Alice during the summer months and a rental service offering canoes and kayaks. Boaters can utilize the ramp to access the St. Croix River, while cross-country skiers can take advantage of the designated trails during the snow season.
A highlight of camping at the William O’Brien Campground is being surrounded by the William O’Brien State Park, a 1,520-acre protected area near Marine on St. Croix. Originally inhabited by the Dakota and Ojibwe tribes, the park was named after lumber baron William O’Brien who bought the land. It was later donated to Minnesota by O’Brien’s daughter following his death in 1945. Stretch your legs along one of the trails that wind through the restored oak savanna and bogs of the William O’Brien State Park while keeping your eyes peeled for white-tailed deer, woodpeckers, and woodchucks. If you’re an angler, you can go fishing for walleye, bass, and trout or just enjoy the views along the Saint Croix National Scenic Riverway.
A short drive west of the William O’Brien Campground is the Big Marine Park Reserve, which hugs the southern shores of Big Marine Lake. It encompasses 657 acres of rolling hills and wetlands that were originally settled by Scandinavian immigrants during the mid-19th century. The park was set aside for preservation as a recreational and wildlife-viewing destination in the late 1980s, with a swimming beach, hiking trails, and boat launch for visitors to use. Kids can let off some steam in the creative playground, then settle in for lunch at one of the numerous picnic areas.
Just across the border near Somerset, Wisconsin is the St. Croix Islands Wildlife Area, which sprawls across 1,082 acres along the banks and islands of the St. Croix River. It features a diverse landscape of backwater lakes, old-growth lowland forest, and aquatic vegetation, including extensive tracts of reed grass, river bulrush, and arrowhead. Anglers can try their luck at luring river redhorse, speckled chub, and bass while birdwatchers may be lucky enough to sight great blue heron, marsh wren, and bald eagles. If you’re visiting during the winter months, you can explore along the cross-country skiing trails while hunting is also permitted in designated areas.
The campsites at the William O’Brien Campground are just three minutes' drive from the community of Marine on St. Croix, where you’ll find a small supermarket if you need basic grocery supplies. There’s also a gas station here if you need to fill up your RV rental and a couple of eateries if you want to dine out. Alternatively, you can make the 20-minute drive into Forest Lake, where you’ll find a more extensive choice of supermarkets, services, and restaurants.
While you’re in Marine on Saint Croix, stop in at the Stone House Museum, which details the people and events that have shaped the St. Croix Valley. Browse the old photographs and artifacts belonging to the region’s 19th-century settlers, with the museum housed within the town’s former jail and township hall. A short walk from the museum is the historic Marine Mill and a restored settler’s cabin that offers a glimpse into early pioneer life.
The William O’Brien Campground is just 45 minutes' drive from the “twin cities” of Minneapolis and St. Paul, which are renowned for their cultural institutions and picturesque parks. Art enthusiasts shouldn’t miss a visit to the Walker Art Center where contemporary works are displayed, and history buffs can learn about the region’s industrial past at the Mill City Museum. Also of note is the Minnesota State Capitol designed by Cass Gilbert and the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory within Como Regional Park. If you’re traveling with kids, head to the Science Museum of Minnesota to get hands-on with the interactive exhibits or enjoy the rides and attractions at Nickelodeon Universe within the immense Mall of America.
Whether you want to explore the museums of Minneapolis and St. Paul or get active on the banks of the St. Croix River, book an RV in Washington County and start planning your next vacation.