Campfires, roasted marshmallows, telling stories, and sleeping under the stars. Camping out is a summer staple in Staples.

Want to go old school and pitch a tent? Rustic camping is available at both Dower Lake Recreation Area (DLRA) and Old Wadena Park. Need the comforts of your RV? Dower Lake campground has 14 seasonal sites and 20 electric sites available for rent. Enjoy free firewood, hot showers, and full-utility services. Picnic tables are available as well as an enclosed eating area to host your next family get together or birthday party. It is also one of our favorite places to burry your feet in the sand, let the kids play on the beach or run right off the dock into the water. With softball fields, basketball hoops, frisbee golf and volleyball nets there is something for everyone to do here.

Camping gear and supplies can be found at Staples True Value and Staples Ace Hardware. Stock up on groceries—remember the marshmallows!—at either Jon’s Family Foods or Ernie’s Food Market.

Dower Lake Recreation Area & Campground

26415 Thunder Rd, Staples | 218-894-2553

Dower Lake Recreation Area & Campground has something for everyone. This 54-acre park, softball complex, 9-hole disc golf course, basketball court, swimming beach, sand volleyball court, horseshoe pits, picnic shelter, picnic areas, public lake access and an abundance of nature, you are sure to find something fun to do. Pets are allowed but must be on a leash. There are even a few geocaches hidden in and around the park for a quick treasure hunt for kids of all ages. And don’t forget to try your hand at fishing on Minnesota’s longest fishing pier

Choose to park your RV at one of 20 sites with electrical hookups, camp old school at one of 11 rustic tent sites or stay for the season at one of our 14 new seasonal sites with full water, sewer, and electrical hookups.  

Old Wadena Park Campground

13491 Old Wadena Cir, Staples | 218-631-7604

This is a remarkable park and campground. You can visit here over and over and each time discover a new stream, a bridge, the bog walk, a trail, tube the river, wade in the water, fish, picnic or bring the kids and let them run and explore and try out the water fountain pump. Educational learning stations on wetlands animal and plant life are stationed throughout the bogwalk. There are exhibits of park renderings to explore, historical facts to read up on and the colors in the fall will truly take your breath away.

For hikers, there are numerous trails for walking, a foot bridge that crosses over the Leaf River. There are signs along the trails that help identify the trees and signs that tell you about the many historic sites along the well-kept trails

This is the only park in the County’s park system that may be reserved for a party. It boasts a large open area with plenty of shade for family reunions and weddings, a small shelter, a newly constructed larger pavilion, and electricity that can be accessed by request if the park and/or pavilion is reserved.

Old Wadena Park Campground reservations can be made by contacting the Wadena County Parks Department by calling 218-631-7604.

Note: This campground is camper and RV friendly in parking area only—no hookups provided.

McGivern Park Campground

McGivern Drive, Staples | 218-631-7604

McGivern Park marks the end of the designated Crow Wing River Canoe Trail that winds its way through Wadena County. This location is a favorite pick-up or drop-off spot for tubing, fishing, and swimming. This quaint little park with its mix of hardwoods and pine is also the home of the Staples Sportsmen’s Club and Shooting Range. With its close proximity to the City of Staples, McGivern Park is used often for picnicking and other small gatherings.

Don’t leave McGivern Park without first going for a hike along the Bull Moose Trail. You could also stop at Lawrence Lake while you’re here at McGivern Park; it’s close by. Leaf River is a stream that you may come across during your stay. 

Smaller camper units are welcome, but there are limited campsites available and no hookups provided.

Amenities include: campfires, nearby attractions like The Vintage Golf Course, boating, picnic and barbecue area.

Cottingham Park Campground

25701 Co Rd 7, Staples | 218-631-7604

Cottingham Park and Campground offers tent, camper, and RV sites (no hookups provided)—even campsites specifically designed to accommodate those traveling with horses! The campground features a 2.5-mile trail to Bullard’s Bluff Park for walking, horseback riding, hiking, and ATVing.