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Near the city of La Crosse, the Mississippi River splits into dozens of channels, lakes, and sloughs as it combines with several tributaries. The region is an ideal location for camping trips, with several campgrounds located along the banks of the rivers or on the islands within it. Goose Island is one of the famed isles in the Mighty Mississippi, accessed via a county highway, with a park and campground occupying the majority of the island and making available hundreds of campsites.
When you’re camping at Goose Island Campground, you’ll have access to laundry facilities, hot showers, a dump station, an RV supply store, and a boat launch, in addition to water and electrical hookups for your RV rental. This RV campground is loaded with activities, too - basketball and volleyball courts, a mini-golf course, horseshoe pits, swimming facilities, and an excellent beach to lounge on.
Goose Island Campground also sits just south of La Crosse, one of the Midwest’s most underrated tourist destinations. The next closest city is Rochester, about an hour’s drive west in Minnesota. You’ll never be far from exciting attractions and big-city amenities when you rent a camper near Goose Island Campground.
With the Big Muddy at your doorstep, there’s no shortage of recreational opportunities when you camp in an RV near La Crosse. Most visitors to Goose Island come to paddle its canoe trail; the 7.5-mile watery path encircles the island and can be accessed by one of four boat ramps. If you need to rent a boat, several shops in La Crosse can hook you up with one.
Up in La Crosse, there are several city parks worth checking out, but the very best of them is Riverside Park, where the Mississippi, La Crosse, and Black rivers come together. It has an excellent view of the historic La Crosse bridge over the Mississippi, and there’s plenty of open space for the kids to enjoy. In the winter months, an outdoor ice rink opens up on the park’s north side for public skating. Joggers and hikers will delight in a trip to Grandad Bluff, just a short drive to the east of La Crosse. The easy trails at its summit provide amazing panoramic views of La Crosse and the surrounding Mississippi River Valley.
If that all sounds too developed for your tastes, there’s the Great River State Trail a little bit upriver from La Crosse in Onalaska. The trail is popular with runners, cyclists, and those wanting a pleasant stroll along the 24-mile-long rail trail. Wildlife enthusiasts and bird watchers also frequent the Great River Trail as egrets, herons, and whitetail deer are often seen here.
To get to La Crosse from the campground, you’ll need to drive 15 minutes north on Highway 35. It’s the hub of activity in western Wisconsin, the headquarters of several large corporations, and home to a branch of the University of Wisconsin. Everything you need for an excellent RV camping trip can be found there: well-stocked grocery stores, a variety of restaurant options with everything from upscale French cuisine to the classic American meal of hot dogs and root beer floats, and several truck stops where you can fuel up your rental RV. Need a little more variety? The town of La Crescent, Minnesota, has some restaurants, stores, and amenities to take advantage of when you get a campsite near the Mississippi River.
If you’re bringing the kids along on this motorhome camping trip, the La Crosse Children’s Museum is an absolute must-see. With three floors of hands-on exhibits and a fantastic climbing wall, this is the perfect place for the little ones to burn off some excess energy and learn at the same time. Another fun family activity to enjoy near La Crosse is a race at La Crosse Speedway. It’s a NASCAR sanctioned asphalt track, but with local racers that are driving for bragging rights and who are happy to greet fans in the pit. Those looking for some classic road trip oddities will also love La Crosse’s “World’s Largest Six Pack” - a set of brewery tanks painted and wallpapered to look like a pack of La Crosse Lager from the local brewery.
For a little culture while RV camping at Goose Island Campground, visit the Weber Center for the Performing Arts and the Pump House Regional Arts Center. They’re right next to each other, near the banks of the Mississippi River, in downtown La Crosse. The former has loads of great community theater shows, concerts, and film screenings while the latter features paintings and other works from some of La Crosse’s finest artists.