Summer is coming. There’s no better time to hit the road with the windows down and no better destination for your group of dudes than the St. Croix Valley.
If you factor in the classic road trip, the list actually includes seven memory-making man-ifestos. It’s a quick jaunt from the Twin Cities (only about 45 minutes), but it will leave you with more time for action at your ultimate destination. So, pack up your bags and your boys and get going! You earned it.
6 Ways to Take a Memorable Summer Mancation in 48 Hours
1. Bro Bonding — St. Croix Valley Style
First stop: your bachelor pad for the next few days. Nothing will get you more in touch with your primal side than a guys’ weekend of camping.
Camp Waub-O-Jeeg, Taylors Falls, MN
Located on the banks of the St. Croix River, Camp Waub-O-Jeeg features wooded campsites for all types of campers. RV hook-ups keep you in comfort, drive-in sites keep your car close by, group sites keep your friends close by, and hike-in sites keep you surrounded by nature. When you need to re-up on beer or supplies, there’s a general store on the premises and hot showers in case the stench becomes a bit too much to bear.
The North Campground is comprised of fairly wide open, spacious and grassy sites, each with a picnic table and fire grate and some with views of the St. Croix River. The South Campground is more secluded and wooded. Altogether, there are 85 sites to choose from, including RV and group sites. The Nature Center, swimming beach at Lake O’ the Dalles and some of the area’s most scenic hiking trails are among Interstate Park’s most noteworthy amenities.
Not the camping sort? Set your sights on the Dalles House Motel in St. Croix Falls, WI. It’s the perfect crash-pad after a long day of fun and is conveniently located near many area attractions.
2. Tee Off
Hitting the links with your best buddies is the perfect way to unwind after a long work week.
St. Croix Valley Golf Course, St. Croix Falls, WI
Touted as “the best kept secret north of the Twin Cities,” this 9-hole gem sits adjacent to Interstate Park and draws grand views of nature. The terrain is wooded and hilly with an above average slope rating of 122. Four sets of tees allow you to golf within your comfort zone or challenge yourself.
Krooked Kreek Golf Course, Osceola, WI
As you might have guessed, the prominent feature of Krooked Kreek is the crooked creek that winds its way throughout, presenting some intriguing water hazards. The front nine of this 18-hole course contains large greens with little grade, while the back nine throws down smaller greens with some pitch and undulations.
3. Reel ‘Em In
Chisago County and Polk County combine to host over 400 lakes and streams. And that doesn’t even count the mighty St. Croix River.
The Upper St. Croix, just north of the St. Croix Falls dam, boasts a quiet and scenic wilderness presence and accommodates fishermen of all skill levels and preferences, from shoreline panfish and delicious trout to elusive muskie and battling bass. The smallmouth are especially active both north and south of the dam.
Find Your Lake
The area is literally riddled with lakes and streams, all of which offer anglers a good shot at the freshwater fish they crave. Our faves? North Center Lake in Center City, MN typically keeps hooks busy with crappie, northern and bluegill, but may surprise you with walleye, largemouth bass or sunfish. If you’re looking for a bass lake, try Balsam Lake in WI. The largemouth are in abundance while northern and panfish are also common. If you’re willing to work for it, you may snag a walleye.
Gear up at St. Croix Outdoors. Grab fishing licenses, live bait, tackle, rods, reels, nets, and maybe even some tips from the locals!
4. Brews & Burgers
Imbibe manly beverages and eat manly food. There are no restrictions.
Tippy Canoes Sports Pub & Grub, Osceola, WI
The large patio gives you a taste of fresh air, day or night, while the Northwoods décor lends a rustic atmosphere indoors. The tap beer selection goes beyond the ordinary domestics and the burger menu features five specialty burgers and a build-your-own in addition to the Burger of the Week special. If there’s a game on, they’ll be showing it and you can typically catch some live music on Fridays.
Al’s Center Saloon, Center City, MN
The limited menu and modestly-sized establishment keeps Al’s doing what it does best: outstanding burgers and friendly service. Just place your order at the bar and enjoy one of their 47 beers on the patio, at the pool table or at the pinball machine. If you’re in the mood for Scotch, Al’s has the most extensive list around clocking in at 33 varieties.
5. Get an Altitude Adjustment
Shirk tradition and go extreme. Challenge yourself and test your limits. And if you need a little coaxing, your buddies will be there to give you a push.
Wild Mountain Free Fall XP, Taylors Falls, MN
Ever wonder what it would feel like to fall from a two-story building? Wild Mountain brings you exactly that experience, minus the splat at the bottom. Free fall from 18 or 27 feet and feel the rush.
The Aerial Challenge is, as Trollhaugen describes it, “Ewok Village meets Ninja Warrior.” Tippy platforms, floating bridges and suspended steps put your balance to the test as you navigate the course among the tree tops. The Zip Line Park is made up of 3,000 feet of line with altitudes up to 50 feet high. Choose from six different zip lines or take the entire tour through the rolling woodlands of Trollhaugen.
Rock Climbing at Interstate Park, Taylors Falls, MN
The ancient glaciers that knifed their way through the hard basalt in the area left some pretty amazing bluffs behind, just begging to be climbed. When you view the world-renowned geology below, you’ll be impressed with what you see.
6. Baseball, the Way It Was Meant to Be
Osceola Braves, Osceola, WI
Just off the humble and historic main drag in downtown Osceola sits Oakey Park, the home of the Braves. A gravel parking lot edges the ballfield down the third baseline, a playground stands ready behind the first base bleachers, and the outfield wall— an unassuming chainlink fence— is crowned by majestic oak trees rising high above the modest scoreboard. The grandstand behind home plate is eight rows of wooden planks painted green and remains much the same as when it was built 50 years ago. There are no jumbo-trons, no insanely long beer and bathroom lines, no $9 hotdogs. In fact, a beer will run you only two bucks.
The league is competitive, with a level of play that’s unexpectedly good. It’s pure and raw baseball played by talented players who love the game, not their contracts. Perhaps that’s why this small-town ball club pulls in an average of 700 spectators for their weekend games.
As you enter the stadium, the theme song to “Field of Dreams” running through your head, you’ll see, just as your grandfather did when he was a kid, why baseball is America’s pastime.
The article "6 Ways to take a Mancation in 48 hours" was produced by Linda Shober Marketing + Design, and written by Karen Lawrence. Linda Shober Marketing + Design is located in the St. Croix Valley specializing in providing content, strategy, management, design, and creative for digital and traditional marketing projects.
Top photo Sunset on Deer Lake in St. Croix Falls, WI. Photo © Melissa Ward