Washington County has the distinction of offering the most camping opportunities in the Twin Cities metro area: two state campgrounds and two regional campgrounds. The long-time private campground in the county (St. Paul East RV Park) has been sold to a senior housing developer.
Afton State Park Campground (Hastings)
Afton State Park has 28 backpacker sites—meaning rustic campsites you get to by hiking in with your stuff. In this case about a mile from the parking lot.
The Park also has two group camping sites, three canoe-in sites (you supply the canoe or kayak), two yurts and four camper cabins.
Sounds like adventure is calling, eh?!
This is a great way to introduce your kids (or anyone else—including you) to backpacking, backcountry camping and canoe camping. The yurts and camping cabins are available all year long.
Lake Elmo Park Reserve (Lake Elmo)
Lake Elmo Park Reserve offers camping for everyone: hike-in, primitive, modern and groups—105 sites total. Horses are welcome at the primitive sites, too. Showers on-site.
The hike-in sites here are much less ambitious than at Afton, just 100-300 yards away from your car.
Take advantage of the Park’s swimming beach, miles of hiking and biking trails, and paddling on Lake Elmo or Eagle Point Lake.
St. Croix Bluffs Regional Park (Hastings)
St. Croix Bluffs has 62 campsites with partial hookups and 11 primitive sites. A group site is also available. Enjoy exploring the St. Croix River while you’re here, both along the shoreline and in a boat (bring your own). Showers!
William O’Brien State Park (Marine on St. Croix)
Another of Washington County’s State Parks, William O’Brien has great camping, too. 124 total campsites in its two campgrounds (many with electric), including four camping cabins (three available year-round). And showers—yay!