Base Camp for Adventure
Glamp & Camp
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Base Camp for Adventure!
Glamp, Camp, and Amp Up the Fun in the St. Croix Valley
There’s no better way to get away from it all than camping… except maybe glamping! Whether you like the rigors of roughing it or prefer the great outdoors with a side of luxury, the best camping and glamping near the Twin Cities are in the St. Croix Valley.
Sleeping under the stars, communing with nature, a respite from the never-ending tasks at home… Ahhhh. Of course, to some, this sounds like sleeping on the cold, hard ground, sharing your personal space with whining mosquitoes, and alternate tasks like pitching a tent and hauling water. Enter glamorous camping, or “glamping.” These sites are popping up all over the world in response to people’s desires to enjoy the great outdoors without some of the challenges that can come with it. Think clean, spacious shelters already set up and luxuriously furnished, like a hotel room in a tent. Set it down a quick, charming drive from Minneapolis and St. Paul, and you’ve got an ideal getaway for city folks (or anyone, really) looking for a wilderness retreat.
If you want to feel like you’ve not only left the city behind but maybe even stepped back in time, there’s nowhere quite like Big Rock Creek in St. Croix Falls. The idyllic setting alone is reason enough to visit. Almost a thousand acres of ponds, streams, forests, and fields are open for your exploration. Historic buildings dot the landscape, some of them lovingly restored, others with exciting futures in the works, all of them with a tale to tell. Thoughtfully located at scenic sites around the grounds – some perched on a hill with a beautiful view of the property, others near the lake – are an incredible geodesic dome and five bell tents, each elegantly arranged with real beds and comfortable seating, as well as rugs, pillows, lamps, and tables, everything you need for absolute comfort and convenience. Big Rock Creek has additional sites available for those who prefer to bring their own RVs or tents, and the amenities are open to all. The lake, complete with a fountain, includes an inflatable raft for swimming fun, as well as kayaks, canoes, paddleboats, and paddleboards, all free to use, and fly-fishing for 3 kinds of trout. Don’t forget the 23 miles of trails through the woods, perfect for hiking, mountain biking (some bikes available for guests, or bring your own), or cruising in the electric rangers available for rent. Make sure to keep an eye out for the breathtaking lotus pond and the famous Scottish Highlander-in-residence, Maggie. Whether you glamp or camp here, you will love calling this place home during your stay!
You can skip the flight to Tuscany and book a lavish glamping tent right along the vineyards here in Taylors Falls instead! These magnificent tents are spread out for privacy, designed for beauty and decadence, and once you get in one you may never want to leave. Each boasts a memory foam bed, sumptuous bedding, and chairs, rugs, lighting, and décor, all carefully chosen and arranged for your comfort and relaxation. Located within the grounds of Wild Mountain Winery, campers have acres of woods and vineyards to stroll through, as well as close proximity to Wild River State Park with its miles of hiking trails, and Wild Mountain’s waterpark and alpine slides. On weekends you have a front-row seat to one of the hottest tickets in town: the Winery’s live music events every Friday and Saturday, complete with wine tasting, wood fired pizza, charcuterie, and more. Bring your special someone to a two-person tent, or make it a party and book the group site that sleeps nine. See “Wild Vines Campground” below for other options in this stunning location, but please note the separate booking site.
There’s no shame in liking your creature comforts. But some of us actually prefer the nitty-gritty of more rustic camping. The exultation of erecting your own shelter. The simplicity of making do without modern conveniences, like so many have done before us. The personal satisfaction in having made coffee out of morning dew and acorns you ground with your own teeth.
Anyway, no matter what degree of roughing it you are partial to, the St. Croix Valley can accommodate. From RVs and pop-up trailers to traditional tents and hammocks, there is a place for you here.
Wild Mountain Winery is home to the aforementioned “Get InTents” plots, but they have marvelous spaces for personal tents and RVs as well. Would you rather wake up in the woods or among the grapevines? Either choice offers wonderful space and privacy not always found in campgrounds. Relax around a table on one of several patios; enjoy the pizzas, breads, and cheeses; and be sure to take advantage of the wine samples so you know which varieties you want to bring home! Even if you choose a different place to hang your hammock for the weekend, plan to drop in for the live music and wine.
Not only are there plenty of sites and hookup options for both motor homes and tents, but Wildwood in Taylors Falls has activities to keep the whole family occupied, including a swimming pool, mini golf, horseshoes, playground, basketball and volleyball, bike and hiking trails, and a pool table. All the onsite recreation makes it the perfect setup for older children to play while their younger siblings nap. If you plan to stay a few days and explore beyond the property limits, ask about the VIP pass.
A popular spot for camping on the Wisconsin side, Interstate WI has two campgrounds and a primitive group camp. Visitors rave about the wide variety of well-maintained hiking trails, many of them easy enough for kids and beginners, and the amazing views. It’s a great place for rock climbing and also offers boating, fishing, and a small beach and playground. Check out the Pothole Trail and visit the Ice Age Interpretive Center to learn more about this unique area.
From spring to fall, people flock to this park in Taylors Falls for hiking, fishing, canoeing, and rock climbing. Famous for its glacial potholes, this is also the place to book and board the popular riverboat cruises. To stay close to the action, try one of their 37 campsites for tents or RVs, including many with electric hookups and a few rustics on the river. There are also four walk-in group sites, but choose your companions carefully – there are no showers in the group camp!
As unique as its name, this private campground is very heavily wooded with lots of glorious shade in the summer. On-site laundry and Heggies pizza delivered to your site are a couple of things that set this place apart. They also have board games to borrow plus ping pong, basketball, and two playgrounds. If you love the woods and want to be close to all the charms of downtown Taylors Falls, give them a try!
Because there’s nothing quite like sleeping right at the water’s edge, both the Wisconsin and Minnesota sides of the St. Croix River have primitive shoreline campsites available at no charge on a first come, first served basis. Equipped with a picnic table and fire ring, these sites are private and peaceful, and the ultimate in getting away from it all. Be sure to read the regulations regarding these spaces, and come early to claim yours!
The beauty of camping is that it turns your everyday activities into an adventure. You can walk, talk, sit, eat, even sleep, and while at home it would be said you’re doing nothing, if you do it at a campsite, you’re camping! You’re adventurous and outdoorsy and making fantastic memories! YOU’RE THE KING OF THE WORLD!
Hmm. Maybe too far again. The point is, you have options. Stay at your campsite, enjoy the amenities offered, relax, and unwind. Or, if that’s not your style, let your campfire burn out and tell your sleeping bag you’ll see it later, and head out to see what else the St. Croix Valley has to offer. Spoiler alert: It’s more than you think!
Locals and seasoned tourists will point you here first as one of the great places to spend a summer day with family and friends. Try all four of the exhilarating water slides, frolic with the kids at the Wild Adventure Island Waterpark, and enjoy a great view of the valley before leaping off a 2-story tower onto a giant air bag in the FreeFall XP experience. They also have go-karts and a pair of alpine slides that are not to be missed.
To get your vacation off the ground, quite literally, the zip line tours and aerial challenge courses at Trollhaugen in Dresser, Wisconsin, are unbeatable. With 6 different zip lines and 7 different aerial course circuits, including one for children ages 3-6, no one will be getting bored here. Leave your fear of heights at home and bring your adrenaline! Be sure to make your reservations in advance.
Riders of all ages and experience levels will find a just-right loop or five to conquer on this 8-mile trail that winds you around and about beautiful St. Croix Falls. Enjoy some views of town and residential areas interspersed with the tranquil calm of the woods, but don’t expect to relax too much – being in a valley means we have hills, and your legs will be feeling it!
There are so many hiking trails in the Valley you could wander for weeks and never be in the same place twice. The Ice Age Trail is 1200 miles long and spans the entire state of Wisconsin, but it starts right here in St. Croix Falls, and the 9-mile SCF Segment is a local favorite. Pick up a fresh grab-and-go lunch from Juneberry Café in Taylors Falls before you head out, and thank yourself later!
Click here for other memorable excursion ideas. For other dining options during your visit, take a look here. And to find the perfect gifts and keepsakes, check out our local shops here. There are dozens more recommendations throughout this website, so look around and see what strikes you. Your campsite is a perfect home base for the many other adventures awaiting you in the St. Croix Valley. We look forward to welcoming you!
This article was written by Andrea Schmidt and produced by Linda Shober Marketing + Design, a marketing firm located in the St. Croix Valley specializing in providing content, strategy, management, design, and creative for digital and traditional marketing projects.