For the 50+ Traveler

Are you in search of a new place to camp in the Midwest? Southeast Minnesota is where you will experience rolling hills and nature that you will not find anywhere else. This area of Minnesota is 30 miles from where I reside in Iowa. I've always thought it is one of the most overlooked areas for camping in the United States.

With the scenic bluffs along the Mississippi River and incredible biking trails, it's an ideal spot to set up your camper. Here are several campgrounds that you should plan to experience at some point in time. They all offer clean campsites and a natural setting for campers to experience. Camping is increasing in popularity, and I would encourage you to reserve your campsites as soon as you make camping plans.

1. Maple Springs Campground: Preston

Maple Springs Campground offers beautiful campsites in a forest setting. Full-hookup campsites are available, and a dump station is on site. Hiking and biking trails are nearby, as are kayak and bicycle rentals. You can also stroll along the stream as you wander through the campground. Be sure to look up, down, and around. There are numerous photo opportunities and experiences all around in this beautiful campground in Southeast Minnesota.

This campground works best for self-contained units, as there are no showers or laundry facilities on site. A bonus is that this is a great campground for a work vacation, as the Wi-Fi is terrific.

2. Old Barn Resort: Preston

The Old Barn Resort campground in Preston, Minnesota, offers campsites for campers of all types. If you have a tent or an RV, you will find a campsite that meets your needs. Full-hookup sites are available, and some of them do include sewer hookups at the site. Public restrooms are available, and showers are available for a small fee. With 274 campsites and an 18-hole golf course nearby, you will have an opportunity to find your ideal campsite and swing a club or two.

The Root River Bike Trail System is accessible in the campground, as is Root River tubing. With a heated indoor swimming pool on site, this campground makes a great place for an extended family camping adventure. You can be as busy as you choose when staying at the Old Barn Resort campground.

3. Trailside Campground: Houston

Large grass campsites sit in the Trailside Campground, west of Rushford. Full RV hookups, restroom, and shower facilities are also available for campers. If an extended family reunion is on your radar, the shelter house would make a great gathering place for family members. Level campsites with access to the Root River Trail make this an ideal campground for active outdoor enthusiasts. If you are looking for a smaller campground with easy trail access, this campground will quickly become a favorite of yours.

Great River Bluffs State Park, Minnesota.

4. Great River Bluffs State Park: Winona

The Great River Bluffs State Park campground offers incredible hiking that offers views of the Mississippi River Valley. With an RV length limit of 60 feet, several units can stay in the campsites in the campground. The showers and restrooms are handicap accessible and offer campsites that are close to these facilities. Make sure you have your binoculars with you, as birding is very popular in this area of Minnesota. Bald eagles frequent the area, as do other migratory birds. Pack your hiking gear and don't be afraid to hike the trails while camping in this beautiful campground. A tip that I would give you is to visit in the fall. The fall foliage is stunning, and the views from several peaks that overlook the Mississippi River are fantastic photo opportunities.

5. Bluffview Campground: Rushford

Bluffview Campground offers 19 large campsites with access to the Root River Trail System that runs through Rushford, Minnesota. If you are Norwegian, like I am, or curious about the Norwegian heritage, you can experience a lefse factory, Norland Lefse, along the trailhead. Anytime I can connect food with a bike trail, I'm excited to hop on a bike and share the trail. If you want to take a break from cooking over the campfire, several restaurants are within walking distance.

One of my favorite places along the Root River Trail in Rushford is the visitors center. It is located in a building on the National Register of Historic Buildings, a historic 1867 railroad depot. When you camp in this campground, you will place yourself in the heart of rural America, where you can enjoy a slower pace.

Weir waterfall on the Root River in Lanesboro, Minnesota.

6. Eagle Cliff Campground And Lodging: Lanesboro

One of our favorite campgrounds in the midwest is Eagle Cliff Campground and Lodging near Lanesboro, Minnesota. A variety of campsites are available along the river as well as in the valley with beautiful views of the bluffs of Southeast Minnesota. The Root River Trailhead is one mile from the campground. You can follow the trail signs in the campground to take you to the trailhead. The charming town of Lanesboro is three miles away. Ride your bicycle into town and explore for the day. River tubing, canoeing, and kayaking are also fun activities in the area. Spring and summer are exceptional times to visit for fun on the water. The colors are exceptional during fall.

7. Whitewater State Park: Altura

The Whitewater State Park Campground offers campsites for RVs up to 50 feet and numerous wheelchair-accessible sites. Modern restrooms, buildings, and showers are also available for campers. This state park campground is an ideal park for the novice hiker, with several easy and moderate hikes throughout the park. Several trails lead through wooded valleys and forests that provide shade, with a limited number of mosquitoes. When you camp in any of Minnesota state parks, make sure you have a Minnesota State Park Permit.

8. LazyD Campground: Altura

The White River Valley is home to several stunning campgrounds, including the LazyD Campground in Altura. With 125 campsites for all campers, there is one that will meet your needs. Each site also has picnic tables and fire rings for your enjoyment. One-hour trail rides make this an extra special campground for outdoor fun. This trail ride offers an extraordinary view of the scenic Whitewater Valley before you ride deep into the forest.

There are standard tent sites as well as full electric and water campsites. A swimming pool, laundry facilities, sanitary dump station, Wi-Fi hotspot, and clean restrooms with coin-operated showers are offered for campers to use.

Sugar Loaf Bluff in Winona, Minnesota.

9. Pla-Mor Campground: Winona

Six miles south of Winona, Minnesota, you will find the Pla-Mor Campground. With 80 campsites that welcome all campers with several shaded sites. Water, electric, and sewer hookups are available throughout the campground. A swimming pool, playground, and a large shelter house make it a fantastic campground for a family reunion weekend. The Mississippi River is nearby, offering all river activities, incredible hiking, and outstanding views from the bluffs in the area.

Pro Tips

Each of these campgrounds offers campsites that will provide an opportunity to experience the natural setting in Southeast Minnesota. Before you set up camp in any of these campgrounds, I would suggest that you visit a grocery store to stock up on all of your favorite camping foods. Many of these locations are in rural settings, and it's not a short walk to a grocery store. Some of these campgrounds have small camp stores that stock many essential items. If you want specific items, stock up before you are settled into your campsite.

Bring your bikes, kayaks, canoes, and hiking boots. Some of these campgrounds offer Wi-Fi, and some do not. If you want to disconnect and relax a little more, choose a campground that has less connectivity. Southeast Minnesota is an area of the United States that is an outdoor enthusiast's paradise, including an incredible experience camping under the stars.