Maplewood State Park
Location: Pelican Rapids, MN
Management: Minnesota State Parks & Trails
Size: 71 drive-in sites, 32 electric sites, 3 backpack sites
Cost: $17 for non-electric sites
Environment: Glacial morain. Hardwood forests, Birch trees. Numerous lakes.
Cell Phone Reception: Good
Privacy: Varies by campground. Details below.
Dog Rules: Dogs on Leash, 6 foot maximum length of leash
Amenities: Varies by campground. Details below.
Trails Nearby: 27 miles of trails. Many link directly to the campgrounds.
Maplewood State Park is the 6th largest in Minnesota, but honestly it did not feel crowded one bit. The campground are spread out, and none feel too big like some other state parks I've camped at.
Grass Lake Campground - Main Loop
Best Sites: 15, 16, 7
Avoid: 8, 9 (very wet, sometimes standing water)
Notes: All of these campsites are electric, and the campground itself is really designed for RVs rather than tents. I would not tent camp here. There is a fish cleaning station and a dock out to the lake, so it's a prime spot for some fishing. Plenty of water and vault toilets available. There is a dump site at the park entrance. There is pretty much zero privacy to these sites, and they are all very close together.
Lake Lida Campground
Best Sites: 73, 75, 78, 79, 90
Notes: Loved every single site in this campground. It's one of those magical places. Sites 70 - 74 are right up against a breathtaking stand of birch trees. Site 77 is an interior site. Sites 75, 76, 78, 79, 80, and 81 all have lake views. Be aware, though, that very few of these sites have level ground for a tent pad. Still worth tenting! But be aware you may list a bit during the night. There is a hand pump for water and a vault toilet on site. With so few sites and being so far removed from everything else, this campground is a mini-oasis. I highly recommend camping here for an idyllic experience.
Grass Lake Campground - Hollow Loop
Best Sites: 39, 41
Avoid: 33, 34 (bog!)
Notes: This is a small auxiliary campground off of the Main Loop. It is in a stand of woods with a small lake nearby. I DO NOT recommend camping here. I'm sure that the bugs in the summer with so much standing water around are truly awful. It is quiet, which is nice, but there is no water on site. My notes when I drove through were: woods, bugs, bog.
Grass Lake Campground - Knoll Loop
Best Sites: 46, 48, 50, 52
Avoid: 53, 51, 54. Sites 51 and 54 are very close together which is a good option if you have a small group.
Notes: I also quite liked sites 59, 47, 55, and 49. This is a lovely campground, but it does sit on a hill. If you hate walking up and downhill to get to the vault toilets, this may not be for you. I stayed at Site 46, which is right on the water. My dogs loved taking a swim while I sat and watched from the picnic table. It connects directly to a nice hiking trail, which was a huge plus. I really liked this campground and would recommend staying here. There was a great breeze off the lake, so I imagine bugs aren't so bad at the sites overlooking the lake. Best location for hiking.