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If you're a water sports enthusiast or if you're just looking for a tranquil camping destination, you'll love Council Grounds State Park. Located just to the west of Merrill in Wisconsin's Lincoln County, this 509-acre park sits on the shores of Lake Alexander, a dam on the Wisconsin River.
Swimming, boating, and fishing are by far the most popular pastimes, but Council Grounds State Park campers can also take advantage of seven hiking trails, snow sports opportunities, and much more. Even better, there's a pretty and peaceful family campground that offers all the creature comforts, ensuring you'll have everything you need to enjoy a relaxing stay.
If you don't like water sports, you're in the wrong place. Council Grounds State Park offers an abundance of aquatic activities, so you should be prepared to get wet during your visit.
This will be particularly welcome in summer, when the park's 217-foot beach on Lake Alexander becomes a hive of activity. Swimmers can escape the searing summer heat by wading into the water, but there are no lifeguards on duty, so it's important to exercise caution. And if the water's too cold, there's plenty of room on the sand to spread out a towel and catch a bit of sunshine.
If you'd like to get out on the water, a boat launching area is located near the beach. Water skiing is a popular pastime here, but the lake is also the perfect spot for a leisurely paddle. Canoes, kayaks, and paddleboards are available to rent from The Friends of Council Grounds State Park, including an adaptive kayak.
Fishing is the other main attraction in Council Grounds State Park, either from a boat or from the shore. An accessible fishing pier is near the boat landing area, and there's basic fishing equipment at the park office that you can borrow.
Northern pike, smallmouth bass, walleye, and several other species can all be caught here, so it's definitely worth trying your luck. However, remember that if you're 16 years or older, you'll need a Wisconsin fishing license before wetting a line.
When you need a break from all these water sports, you might like to lace up your hiking boots and explore some of the park's seven hiking trails. The Big Pines Nature Trail is a good place to start, offering an easy three-quarter-mile trek to help you learn more about the local topography and terrain. The Blue Trail, which leads walkers into the Krueger Pines State Natural Area for just under a mile, is also well worth checking out.
If RV camping at Council Grounds State Park sounds like your idea of the perfect vacation, search for a rental RV in Lincoln County and then reserve a site in the park's family campground.
Boasting 52 sites, this wooded camping area has a remote and secluded feel that campers searching for peace and quiet will love. Sites are level and provide a decent amount of space between you and your neighbors, while the trees provide plenty of shade.
Nineteen of the sites here feature electrical hookups, while each site gets its own picnic table and fire ring. Hot showers, flush toilets, and an RV dump station are also provided for added convenience. There's also an outdoor group camp with three sites that can accommodate up to 32 people.
Finally, if you want to camp at Council Grounds State Park with your dog, you'll be happy to hear that pets are permitted in the campground. Just make sure to clean up after your pooch and keep them on a leash at all times.
When your Council Grounds State Park RV camping adventure comes to an end, your vacation doesn't have to be over. There are lots of other wonderful attractions to be found nearby, so it's worth planning a few extra stops along the way.
For example, if you head into Merrill, make sure you wander around the historic downtown area and check out the city's events schedule. There's always something fun happening in Merrill, from craft shows to holiday celebrations. History buffs will want to stop by the Merrill Historical Museum to see exhibits on the area's logging industry and Native American history.
If you'd like to continue exploring the Wisconsin state park system, make the two-hour drive southwest to Black River State Forest. This is a popular spot with hunters and ATV enthusiasts.
And if you'd rather head somewhere a little busier, you can steer your rental RV towards Eau Claire and arrive in under two hours. Once you've settled in, be sure to take the kids to the Children's Museum of Eau Claire.
There's a huge variety of experiences on offer when you rent a camper near Council Grounds State Park, so find your perfect RV rental and get out there to explore the best of them.