In case you didn’t know, our family experienced a huge move. I call it huge because we spent the last few months packing, moving, cleaning, unpacking (which isn’t completely done) to preparing our old home to go on the market and it was a ton of work! We needed a break from the endless duties of moving and Itasca State Park seemed to be the perfect family camping trip getaway! We started our Itasca State Park family camping trip with quite an adventure!
During The Drive
It was pretty scary seeing the clouds form into a tornado like scene from Wizard Of Oz! We hit the edge of the storm and hardly had anything worth being afarid of because it was mostly a normal rain with a touch of wind. Ryan had no issues driving forward through the downpour. It made for a fun memory and a handful of stunning photos.
It was a bit of a drive which normally should be slightly over 3 hours, but turned into 4 for us due to my top notch navigation skills. I choose the longer route instead of the shorter one and I admit, I messed up. The ride home was much more enjoyable.
The views are beyond breathtaking once you enter into Itasca State Park. You have to drive about 5 miles to the campground office. During that drive there are mini lakes which we were able to see deer and other wildlife like a Mother bear with her two cubs!! Sorry, I couldn’t snap a photo fast enough to share with you all.
Itasca State Park Campground
Every single time we camp at a State Park in Minnesota we are impressed with the views, trails, lakes and the camp sites. This time around we were once again very impressed with the campgrounds. I would have liked to be surrounded by more Evergreens instead of being able to fully see my camp neighbors, but it wasn’t too bad. In fact my girls made friends with the other little girls next to us. It’s one of their favorite things to do when we go camping and they still bring up stories of their friends they have made at different campgrounds while we are camping.
I was really surprised by how perfect the ground was since we have had so much rain lately. There weren’t puddles of water and mud all over the place. There is nothing fun about camping in a muddy campsite. The restrooms were some of the cleanest I have seen at a campground, too.
There was a nice play set near the campsite but it was not very “little” kid friendly. I would have liked to see a smaller scaled slide and a toddler sized swing for the younger kids. I do have to say the park was covered with a fresh layer of wood chips and it was also free from any trash on the ground. I love taking my kids to the park and it is great when I don’t have to worry about them picking up litter.
Itasca State Park Trails
I wish I could just build a log cabin and live in the State Park! I love sharing the wonders of nature with kids as we stroll through the trails. There is 37,000 acres of lush wilderness at Itasca State Park. The drive North was worth every second to spend the weekend in the park.
Itasca State Park Beach
I am not a lake swimmer at all, however I do enjoy getting out in the sun and spending time with my family. The beach area at Itasca is a fun way to get time off from the campground. The beach is filled with a large sandy area with room to spread out. There was a swimming zone section where the little kids were playing and there were a bunch of people paddle boarding, canoeing and boating across the open water.
There is also a much better playground off to the right side of the beach for all ages of children. We spent an hour at the beach then we moved onto the Mississippi Headwaters area.
Visiting the Mississippi Headwaters area was one of my favorite parts of the whole trip. The Mississippi river starts right there in the middle of Itasca State Park. You can tiptoe across the mighty rocks that cross over the stream or kick back and let the water flow bring you to the Mary Gibbs Mississippi Headwaters Center. It was such a neat place to cool down from the heat of the day! If you venture off to Itasca State Park you have to make sure to check out the Headwaters.
Overall, I felt as though our trip to Itasca State Park was one of our best family trips to date. The views are amazing and the fact that we got to see real life black bears was a big bonus! I would highly recommend all levels of campers to stay at Itasca State Park campground. I wish we would have stayed longer so I could do more biking and hiking on the countless trails.