We stayed in an RV site at the Plum Creek Park Campground in Walnut Grove, Minnesota. Located about 2 miles from the center of town, this campground offered a nice spot to call home for a couple of nights. We were en route to Yellowstone and looking for a place to stop near Plum Creek and other Laura Ingalls Wilder places of interest in Walnut Grove.
Historical Road Trip
As we set out to plan our epic cross country road trip to Yellowstone National Park, we searched the maps for interesting places to stop along the way. When I was a kid, I absolutely adored the Little House on the Prairie book series, which was based on the life of author Laura Ingalls Wilder. Before long we had pinpointed several spots along our route to Yellowstone that held significance to Laura and her pioneer family. One of these spots was the town of Walnut Grove in Minnesota. The Ingalls family lived in Walnut Grove for several years. (We wrote a detailed Little House on the Prairie road trip recap if you are interested in reading it, or possibly planning your own trip!)
Walnut Grove, MN Does Not Have a Hotel
Yes, you read that correctly. The small town of Walnut Grove, MN does NOT have a hotel. This isn’t really a big deal for the average visitor who plans to pop in for the day. You can head right into town after checking out the Ingall’s dugout site on the banks of Plum Creek. Grab some lunch at Nellie’s Cafe and then wander over to the Laura Ingalls Wilder museum. After you have checked all of those items off your list, you might decide to hop back in your car and continue on to your next stop.
But during the month of July, one of the town’s biggest draws is the Wilder Pageant. Typically held across 3 consecutive weekends each July, the Wilder Pageant attracts a TON of out-of-town visitors. This outdoor amphitheater performance begins at 8:30 pm, just as the sun is setting. The show is not over until close to 11 pm. I don’t know about you, but at that time of night, I’m ready for BED. I want to find lodging as close to the pageant grounds as possible. Plum Creek Park Campground is just .5 mile from the pageant site. It is, by far, the closest lodging available.
We Spent 2 Nights at Plum Creek Park
As I explained above, our time in Walnut Grove took place on the way to Yellowstone. When I booked our campsite back in 2017 I had to call the museum gift shop in town to make the reservation! The friendly woman who penned my stay in her log book then mailed me a paper confirmation. A quick spin on the Plum Creek Park Campground website shows that they now accept reservations online – definitely a plus!
I booked our stay for July in January and had no trouble getting an RV site. Visitors to this campground can enjoy tent camping, RV camping or stay in a small cabin.
Types of Camping Sites
Plum Creek Park campground offers several site types for visitors:
- RV sites (64 sites total)
- Tent (primitive) sites (8 sites total)
- Cabins (6 cabins total)
The RV sites at the campground offer electric hookups and nothing else. I think they offer 30 and 50 amp site options, though I cannot find confirmation of this on their site. There are no full hookup sites on the property. However, they do have a water filling station if you want to fill your water tank(s) with potable water. There is also a dump station that you can use to empty the black and grey tanks.
We lucked out with a fairly spacious and wooded site, right on the end of one of the campsite rows. Across the road from our site was a small creek, hidden by a bit of brush and some trees.
Guests can park 2 vehicles per campsite. Any vehicles over that limit must be parked in the parking area by the office.
As of the time of this publication, prices appear to be:
- RV electric sites from $25/night
- Primitive tent sites from $20/night
- Cabins from $70/night
Campground Amenities and Facilities
- Firewood available for purchase (our campsite had a fire ring)
- 2 bathhouses (restrooms and showers)
- Dump station
- Dumpsters for garbage
- Picnic tables
- Pet friendly (dogs permitted, leashed, must be well-behaved and not left unattended)
- Various recreation areas including pavilions
- Easy access to the lake and hiking trails by foot
Things to Do at Plum Creek Park
Plum Creek Park is actually a county park and offers a lot of fun outdoor activities to both campers and day visitors! The campground is nestled inside this county park and we were able to spend some time taking in the beauty around us! The park covers 215 acres and includes a big lake and hiking trails with pleasurable hiking opportunities.
Guests can enjoy canoeing, kayaking, fishing (Largemouth bass, Smallmouth bass, and Steelhead), biking, hiking, a disc golf course and more.
Named after the famed author herself, Lake Laura is a beautiful water feature that sits off of the entry road to the park. Swimming is permitted, as well as fishing and non-motorized boating. You can bring your own kayak or canoe, or you can grab one from the self-rental area next to the lake. There is a boat access ramp where you can launch your boat.
We visited Lake Laura on a sultry hot July day. The kids enjoyed cooling off in the shallow part of the lake while we watched from the beach area.
Just off the lake there was a big gazebo-like pavilion where we sat and watched the nature and people for a bit while enjoying the shade.
Note: there is NO lifeguard on duty at Lake Laura. Swim at your own risk.
More Activities at Plum Creek Park
Besides the lake, there are various activities that you can enjoy during your time here:
- Hiking (2 different trail systems – 1 circles the lake and another winds along Plum Creek)
- 9-hole frisbee golf
- Baseball field
- Sand volleyball courts
- From their website: A self-guided walking tour of the lower park (“When the Prairie Whispers”) offers individuals the opportunity to identify a wide variety of tree species.
Our Experience and Plum Creek Park Campground Review
Campsite: #46, back-in, electric only
What we liked about the campground:
- This campground has a small, intimate feel. We thought this was a nice change from some of the huge campgrounds we had been to in recent years.
- The wooded sites provided shade and some privacy from the neighbors.
- Check-in process was seamless.
- Lake Laura was a beautiful park feature. We really enjoyed the time that we spent lakeside!
- LOCATION WAS KEY! We wanted a spot to stay that was close to Walnut Grove (the town and the pageant site). This campground was basically in the backyard of the pageant site and just a stone’s throw from town. The location could not be beat.
- The price! The RV site did not have water or sewer hookup and the price reflected that. We paid $60 total for 2 weekend nights in July in 2017.
What we didn’t like about the campground:
- Water and sewer hookups would have been nice, but for our 2 night stay, we made do with electric only.
- The mosquitoes were pretty plentiful after sundown.
We were looking for a great location and this campground was it. It was perfect and the lake and wooded sites added to our short stay.
We would recommend this campground for anyone looking for a clean, well-maintained spot to stay in or near Walnut Grove, MN! There are plenty of recreational opportunities at Plum Creek Park for a wide variety of people!