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Once upon a time in the late 19th century, North Dakota's Fort Stevenson was a crucial supply depot for military posts in the surrounding areas. Today, it's better known as a pretty lakeside park where campers can relax, unwind, and indulge in a host of outdoor recreational activities.
Located near Garrison on the shores of Lake Sakakawea, Fort Stevenson State Park is heaven on earth for people who love water sports. Great fishing and boating are on offer here, while the park also features fascinating historical sites and a welcoming modern campground.
It's a lovely spot to camp in an RV for a weekend, a week, or even longer, so keep reading to find out how best to enjoy your visit.
With a big and beautiful lake right on your doorstep, it won't come as any surprise to learn that many of the most popular activities in Fort Stevenson State Park center around the water. Situated on the north shore of Lake Sakakawea, this 549-acre park has long been a favorite destination for fishing and boating enthusiasts.
There are two marinas in Fort Stevenson State Park. Garrison Bay Marina is located near the western edge of the park. This deep-water marina has 61 electric dock slips and four jet ski docks. There's also a marina store where you can stock up on bait, tackle, food, and that other camping essential: ice cream.
De Trobriand Bay Marina is found on the eastern side of the park, featuring 44 electric slips and four buoyed moorings. Showers, boat storage, and a fish cleaning station are also provided.
Fishing is a popular pastime in the park, with northern pike, salmon, sauger, and more all caught here. Motorized boat rentals are also available for those looking to get out on the water.
If you'd rather explore this beautiful waterway at your own pace, you're well catered for too. Canoes, kayaks, paddleboats, and stand-up paddleboards are all available for rent by the hour or by the day, leaving you free to use paddle power to go wherever the mood takes you.
Of course, there's plenty of fun to be had on dry land as well, especially if you love hiking. There are ten miles of trails to explore in Fort Stevenson State Park, with the trail network winding around the lake and through a diverse native plant life and terrain.
The Flicker Loop is the longest trail in the park at two miles and some change, offering a scenic trek along the lake's western shoreline and through remnant native prairie. If you're a keen birder, you'll like tackling the Eagle Ridge Trail — keep an eye out for woodpeckers and chickadees along the way.
If you'd like to camp in a motorhome in Fort Stevenson State Park, you can rent an RV in McLean County and then find yourself a spot in the park's leafy campground. Featuring four main areas — East Loop, West Loop, North Loop, and Middle Loop — the campground is home to:
The campground is clean and well-maintained, with trees surrounding the sites and plenty of room to maneuver your campervan rental into place. You'll have access to all the amenities you'd expect from a state park RV campground, including clean restrooms and showers as well as a dump station.
Pets are also welcome in the Fort Stevenson State Park campground but must be kept on a leash.
When you're ready to call time on your Fort Stevenson State Park camping adventure and hit the road again, you'll find plenty to see, do, and enjoy in nearby areas.
For example, if you're a nature lover, you'll love exploring the Audubon National Wildlife Refuge. Set on the shores of Lake Audubon, this 14,000-acre preserve is just a 20-minute drive away.
If you'd rather head for a major center, the state capital of Bismarck is around an hour and 20 minutes to the south. If you head in that direction, make sure you enjoy a classic Missouri River steamer experience on the Lewis & Clark Riverboat.
There's plenty to experience and enjoy in this part of the state for campers of all ages. So rent an RV near Fort Stevenson State Park, hit the open road, and start exploring.