Fargo-Moorhead-area camping options offer opportunity to get back to nature
FARGO, N.D.—With Memorial Day weekend underway, camping season has officially begun.
The weather is warm enough to enjoy being outside and to be one with nature.
Whether you're looking for a nearby staycation or itching to plan a camping trip, there are five campgrounds in the F-M and surrounding areas, so local outdoor enthusiasts don't have to travel far to get their camping fix.
Sitting alongside the Red River in Lindenwood Park is Fargo's only public campground, Lindenwood Campground.
The campground has 47 sites available for campers, with water and electricity. Recreational vehicles, campers and tents are all allowed in the sites.
"Pretty much every summer weekend is full," said Lindenwood Campground manager Sam Larson-Frobig.
Some campers will book all the way out in January, she added. During the 2017 camping season, the campground had a total of 5,357 nightly reservations.
People from all over the country stay in the campsites, Larson-Frobig said. The campground is a popular stop between destinations for people who are traveling, especially if they're heading to Canada, she added.
"A couple weeks ago a military family from North Carolina stayed at the campground after a long day of driving," Larson-Frobig said. "They had all of their belongings with them and were on their way to Alaska, where the military man was being stationed."
Every summer, groups of cyclists on cross-country bike tours camp at Lindenwood as they're passing through, she added.
Campground conveniences include two playgrounds, a paved drive, picnic tables, fire pits, bike rentals and bike trails.
The bike and kayak rentals are two of the campers' most-loved things in the park, Larson-Frobig added.
The campground manager said her favorite thing about the campground is talking to the campers, hearing their stories — where they're from, where they're going.
Also available at the campground is an Information Center with a service desk, showers and restrooms.
Concessions and firewood are available for purchase at the Information Center, because outside firewood is prohibited.
Pets are permitted as long as they are on a leash and no alcohol is allowed inside the campground area.
A campsite is $30 a night and campers are limited to no more than a 14-day stay in a 30-day period.
The campground is open from May to Oct. 15, weather permitting.
Red River Valley Fair Campground
The Red River Valley Fair is home to more than just concerts, rides and fried food. Also situated in the fairgrounds is the Red River Valley Fair Campground.
The campground has 91 total campsites available, with 75 of the sites offering full hookups to sewer and electricity, and 16 spots that are electricity only.
From spring to summer, the campground is usually close to full capacity, if not at full capacity, said RRVF marketing coordinator Katy Stenerson.
The campground hosts people from all over the country, from construction workers to traveling nurses, she said.
The campground started to get busy in April this year because of the late winter, she added. They didn't have water until the end of April, and that's when they opened.
Both RVs and campers are allowed in the sites, but tents are not permitted.
Campground amenities include a bathhouse equipped with showers, restrooms and shared Wi-Fi.
The campground is pet-friendly with a one-time fee of $15. The owner must also fill out paperwork to ensure the animal's vaccinations are up-to-date. Alcohol is allowed in the campground.
The campground has a daily rate of $30 and a variety of weekly and monthly rates depending on if the site has a full hookup on a hard surface, a full hookup on gravel or electricity only.
The fair runs July 10-15 and the camping rates stay the same during that time.
Campsites are rented on a first-come, first-served basis and all rates must be paid up front; there are no reservations.
Exact opening and closing dates of the campground are flexible due to weather. On average, camping usually opens mid-April until early December.
Buffalo River State Park Campground
Fans of the prairie will enjoy the Buffalo River State Park Campground that sits alongside the Buffalo River in Glyndon, Minn.
The campground offers 44 total campsites with 35 sites for RVs and trailers only and 9 sites for tents.
Each of the 44 campsites are full every weekend in the summer, said Buffalo River State Park manager Brian Nelson.
Reservations are recommended if camping Friday to Sunday and the best time to come out is Sunday night to Thursday night, he said. The campground is usually only half full then.
On-site recreation includes hiking trails, a picnic shelter, fishing in the river and a man-made, chlorinated swimming pond and beach. The swimming pond is open from May 26 to Aug. 19.
Hot showers are available in the campground, as well as flush and vault toilets and a sanitary dump station.
Each campsite has a fire ring and only approved firewood can be burned, which can be purchased at the state park.
The campground is pet-friendly and intoxicating liquor may not be consumed or displayed in the state park, per the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources' Rules.
The nightly camping fee for sites with electricity is $25 and the fee for non-electric sites is $20. A park permit will also need to be purchased to stay at the campground and is separate from the camping fee.
Wagner Park Campground
Near the scenic Willow Creek in Barnesville, Minn., the Wagner Park Campground features 28 sites for both RVs and campers with full hookups, including water, electricity and sewer. Another 50 sites without utilities are available for tents.
The campground is busiest during the summer months, with an extra emphasis on Labor Day weekend and Potato Days, the community's festival in August, said Barnesville City Administrator Mike Rietz.
"Some people use the campground for long-term stays and others come from another part of the country, either visiting family or working," he said.
Georgia and Arizona were two of the farthest locations he's seen.
"We have a lot of people camp if they're working construction in the area; they find it convenient to use our campground if their project is in the F-M area," he said.
Last year was the campground's best to date, and they've seen revenue steadily increase every year for the past 10 years, Rietz said.
"We have a lot of returning campers that say our site is a comfortable place to stay," he said. "They say that they're well taken care of and that it's easy to get to as it's right off the interstate."
The positive feedback from campers and the fact that they come back to the campground again is Rietz's favorite thing about the campground.
"I like being able to provide a comfortable place for people to stay," he said.
Blue Eagle Lake is within walking distance from the campsite and has a public swimming beach, paddle boat rental, a fishing pier, playgrounds and picnic facilities. The Willow Creek golf course is within 10 miles from the campground.
Campground amenities include fire rings, bathroom facilities, a central water faucet, coin operated showers and a sanitary dump station. Wi-Fi is available for campers to purchase.
Pets are allowed but they must be on a leash and alcohol is permitted.
The 28 sites with water, electric and sewer hookups are $25 plus tax per night. The 50 sites without utilities are $12 plus tax per night. Long-term rates are available by arrangement-only for the camper who wants to stay 14 consecutive days or more.
The campground is open from April to mid-October.
Governors' RV Park & Campground
Just 15 minutes west of the F-M metro area is the Governors' RV Park & Campground in Casselton. The campground is the busiest during construction season from May to September, said Lowell Gunderson, owner of the campground.
All 45 sites offer full hookups to sewer and electricity. Both RVs and campers are allowed on the sites and a grassy area is allocated for tents.
The campsites share a property with the Days Inn Governors' Conference Center, which allows campers to utilize some of the hotel's on-site recreation.
Campers are given access to the hotel's indoor water park for up to four people a day. A restaurant, pub and laundromat are also available at the location.
Access to the water park and hot tub is one of the most-loved things about the campground, the owner added.
Gunderson's favorite thing about the campground is the convenience of having everything on site, from the laundromat to the restaurant and pub.
Campground amenities include showers, free Wi-Fi, water, electricity, sewer and a dump station.
Pets are permitted on the campsites and alcohol is allowed.
Full hookup camping costs $39 per night, $175 per week and $525 per month. Tenting costs $20 per night.
Long-term tenting is prohibited and the maximum stay in a tent is three nights. There is no max stay for RVs and campers.
The campground is open April to November, weather permitting.