19 RV Parks near Carlton, Minnesota
Jul 2017 - $31.00
I'd be hard pressed to ever give a state park a poor rating. For Jay Cooke, this is despite the fairly dreadful bath building (noted in other reviews). However, I wouldn't be surprised to see it replaced in the next year or two. We had received notification that the campground might be closed for updates this year, but later that was canceled. Hopefully it means it's coming soon as those bathrooms are beyond redemption. The park makes up for that, though. The campground has some sites that are scenic in and of themselves with many white pines. The park also offers a multitude of activities to keep you busy. The willard munger bike trail access is one of them (the spur trail to ride up the bike trail will have you panting, but it's a thrill to ride back down when you return! Just don't accidentally take out a hiker in your enthusiasm!). There are many hiking trails through the park. Don't just go to the swinging bridge - keep going!! The Carlton Trail is really fun one that keeps you close to the river for quite a ways. Although it's not recommended, there is an area where people like to get in the river closer to Carlton but still in the park. There are limited campsites for larger trailers or RVs. Especially ones with electric hookup. You have to really plan in advance to get one of those if you need the space. With that said, site #1 is both easy and on the larger side. We enjoyed that site a lot. There are some non-electric sites that will fit larger setups but beware that some loops offer tight turns and might not be navigable. There are signs about this and it may be noted when making reservations. The dump station hose to use for rinsing out the gray/black water leaked at the top and didn't work at all. Very frustrating in the moment. So, yes, the campground definitely needs work, but the location and activities still make this an awesome destination. (Some ticks and mosquitoes - deet effective) - MNJessieJ
Aug 2016 - $31.00
We visited this park on Sunday through Thursday. It was completely full almost every night. Reservations are strongly recommended even for non-electric and hike-in sites. The park office is fairly new and staff is knowledgeable and helpful.
There were programs to attend at the River Inn interpretive center during the week. We enjoyed hiking along the river, at the Thomson Dam and Oldenburg Point overlook. There are wonderful biking paths too. The swinging bridge and massive rock formations are the main attraction at this park.
The bathrooms are in horrible condition due to age. The seats are loose and sliding around. Also, you can't get out of the stall without brushing up against the toilet because the door opening is too close. The bathrooms are cleaned often, but they still smelled. They have clearly seen better days. The showers were a little better, however hot water was scarce. We had very cool water until someone flushed and then we would get warm water.
Sites here seem to be better suited for pop-ups and tents. They are a bit short for those with big rigs. We camped in a 25 foot travel trailer and had to park our vehicle sideways. Phone service is spotty, but WiFi is available near the office. We were able to use WiFi in the parking lot and benches around the office. Bathrooms aside, this is a great park for camping and recreation. - brendajoro
Jul 2015 - $30.00
We had a wonderful time at Jay Cooke State Park. The weather couldn't have been better and the bugs were at a minimum. This year the park is celebrating it's 100-year anniversary, so fun things are planned throughout the year. The swinging bridge, rock formation, woods and hiking are always great at this park. I emailed the park directly because there is an issue with opening the pictures of the sites. I ended up with a completely sunny site next to the bathroom (#48 ). Also, the bathrooms are very old and outdated. They were kept clean, however, there is not a stall for a disabled person to fit in a wheelchair, only railings. We were close to the new office, so we ended up going across the road to use the new facilities. Much to my surprise, the new Park manager emailed me back promptly to let me know the bathrooms are at the top of their list for repair or upgrade. She also said they will look into making site 48 a non-reservable site because it's so small and open. Actually, the first 3 sites used to get a lot of road noise, but since hwy. 23 is closed 1.5 miles down the road they are just wonderful. We stayed in a popup. - brendajoro
Sep 2017 - $42.00
Would have rated it higher, but the sites could use a little more gravel on them, as our site was pretty muddy. Nice store and TV lounge, got all 4 networks on my bat-wing with a strong signal. Campground was full, but only one person in the office - had to wait both times I needed something. - rr2254545
Jul 2017 - $54.00
I believe KOAs vary a lot - some are premium fancy setups and others are roughing it. This isn't a fancy KOA. It doesn't have any of the fancy premium sites with patios and grills, etc.. It does have a mix of sites, though, from wooded, private sites to pull-thrus which are seemingly on top of each other. Cabins, too, which are a cute option. Some here looked a little aged but I didn't see inside them. It's a bit off the highway, but quite near Cloquet. If your destination is Duluth, I'd probably look elsewhere first but day tripping is possible for sure. Our site was #23 which was plenty big enough for our 32 foot trailer and truck to fit on. It was unimproved - just grass, but had 2 fire rings for some reason and an ok picnic table. Site 24 was so close to us. I felt badly as their awning was only a few feet from the side of our camper. The map of the campground leads you to believe these few sites are much wider than that. There was a little bit of garbage on the ground of our site near the fire ring. I can't erase that from my mind and it leads me to have an overall impression of trashy when I think about it. However, in reality, we thought the park was decent. They have some of the nicest bathroom facilities I've ever encountered at a KOA. The workers were all pleasant (a shock to me as my usual impression is the opposite for KOA workers). We had our dog and the dog walk was near a railroad track. We ended up walking some residential roads, too, with the dog. For a stop over it is a workable choice. If you have young children, there is a pool and a small rec room. Nothing fancy but enough. Perhaps in the wooded section you'd feel compelled to stay longer, but otherwise in and out was enough. Dump station easily accessible at entrance. - MNJessieJ
Jul 2017 - $42.00
Typical KOA. Spots are close together. The hot tub wasn't working (low water level) but pool was nice. We had a pullthru with E/W. The attendant led us thru a very tight roadway to get to the site and I had to be extremely careful not to hit a tree. Lots of branches scraping alongside the trailer though. Wasn't impressed. Sites were setup so we faced our neighbors patio too. Weird. - spanielrage
Jun 2017 - $28.00
First Impression: Quaint. Secluded. Rustic. Thirty spacious sites tucked away in a small forest. A few sites in a meadow. Safety: no concerns. Access: Don't trust GPS. Don't trust Microsoft maps or Mapquest; they can't even find the address. Google maps on wife's phone took us right in. Poor roadside signage. Office: Casual, family staff. No store. Credit cards accepted. Must call for reservations and directions. Facilities: No amenities. No laundry room. Restrooms are porta-potties; no showers. No propane sales. Playground consists of a few swings and see-saws without the sees (or saws). No off-leash dog run. Campground: In a flood plain (St. Louis River). Roads are narrow, dirt/gravel with gentle turns in meadow but sharp, tight turns in forested section. Low hanging branches. Big rig challenging. Prevosts will have problems in the woods. All sites are spacious, pull-through but mostly back-in. Tents can go almost anywhere. No yurts or cabins. Sites are level, gravel/dirt/grass in "ok" condition with grass landscaping. Utilities at rear of site with either 20/30A or 20/30/50A (at extra cost); monthly meters. Low water pressure with "ok" taste. NO SEWER; pump truck available for a fee. Dump station. No patios. Old picnic tables. Open ground fires not permitted but fire rings are at some sites. Buy wood in office. Good satellite views in meadow; not-so-much in the forest. No cable TV. No CG Wi-Fi. Verizon phone at 5-bars; 4G at 4-bars. Distant railroad, no aircraft, but interstate noise notable when outside. No recycle bins. Bug Report (early June): Small brown ants; mounds all over the place. I sprayed and sprinkled (ant "food"). Runners: CG roads adequate for running, no fitness room so no treadmills. Yoga: If you don't mind, place mats on the grass. Conclusion: Marginally overpriced. We're here because a big, Duluth air show has other CGs booked. - StephenK
Aug 2016 - $27.00
Our site was gravel/grass but spacious. We had a back in site with W&E 50A.
Although there is no sewer connection at the sites, the park offers free of charge, a sewer truck to empty your tanks.
Campground is built along St Louis River with access to Knife Island.
Staff was very friendly and often asked if there were anything they could do for us.
Would stay here again. - Calibrateguy
Sep 2010 - $30.00
Neat place to stay in RV, the sites are shaded and mostly level gravel. Nice folks run the place. Only electric and water sites but they have free weekly pumping service. There are only portable toilets and no showers. Stayed here many nights. There are some nice tent sites also. Many trees and neat geologic features. - ttankie
Sep 2017 - $25.00
This is a great inexpensive basic city owned campground from which the Duluth area can be enjoyed. Hook ups are water and electric with only a very few 50 amp spots. Most spots are 30 amp only. Be sure to ask for 50 if that's what you need. The grounds are clean and well kept, check in is a breeze and roads are paved. Dump station was ok but a little tight for a big rig. There is a USG factory very near by and creates a low frequency "hum" around the clock. This sound was not a problem for us. Duluth is about 20 minutes away and a wonderful city to visit as is Cloquet. This little park is first come first served but well worth a look, especially if you arrive during the week. - Beech35p
Sep 2015 - $25.00
This small municipally owned campground was a pleasure to stay at. The park is on a small island on the St. Louis River. There are only 21 sites and all have electric and water plus at least one other site has sewer as well. On-site hosts were very accommodating and are there around the clock. Sites are well-spaced (except for 11 and 12 which are too close) and offer some shade during the day. Some sites have asphalt parking areas and the others are gravel. Big rigs appear to have no trouble getting into most sites. Biking and walking trails are available from the campground. One drawback is the large factory immediately next to the campground that had constant operational noise. The little railroad that serves local industries also ran nearby but it wasn't a bother inside the motorhome. There is no campground wi-fi, but our Verizon card worked well for internet and our over-the-air TV antenna brought in plenty of stations. This was our second time at this campground and would definitely stay here again when coming through. - Jay Rutherford
Aug 2015 - $20.00
The park hosts were extremely kind and helpful. We just stayed one night en route. It is on the St. Louis River. Nice setting. The campground was full so they put us in overflow. They charged us less because of that. There was some industrial nearby which created some noise but nothing bad. Would definitely stay here again. - JulieDR
Aug 2017 - $43.00
It was jammed full on a weekend in mid August. Portable toilets were often without toilet paper and need emptying due to so many campers. Seems overpriced for the situation. $43 for a pop up seems high for what you get. Not sure we would use it again. - Dave54
Aug 2017 - $43.00
We spent 3 nights at Buffalo Valley while visiting the Duluth area. It is a sports complex with 3 baseball diamonds, volleyball courts, and horseshoe pits. There is a bar and restaurant onsite, which is good because the campground is about 10 miles from downtown Duluth. There are no nearby restaurants to grocery stores that we saw. They have 3 camping loops. The loop of about 20 sites behind the bar/restaurant with full hookup and was dominated by seasonal rentals. There is a loop on the hill that is wooded with water and electric hookups--both back in and pull through sites along with a few tent only sites. We stayed in this loop, and our site was relatively level. Down the hill is the Bison/Buffalo loop. Most of these sites are full sun. After a day and a half of rain, this area had some standing water when we pulled in. The only bathhouse is near the bar/restaurant. It is relatively new and immaculately clean. There are portajons sprinkled throughout the campground. There were no sewer hookups in two of the loops, but there is a mobile dump service on site. There is also a dump station. The manager goes out of his way to ensure you are happy. We stayed during the week, but it sounds like they are very busy on the weekends with ball tournaments and other events. Planning on holding a rally for our RV club here next year. Manager can arrange transportation into Duluth for those who do not tow a vehicle. Best choice of area campgrounds from my perspective for such an event. - RagTopDay
Jul 2017 - $43.00
Buffalo Valley is about 10 miles from downtown Duluth, but has easy access to I-35, so was ideally located for day trips up the North Shore. BV's RV sites, utilities, roadways, dump station, grounds, restroom & shower building were all well maintained. Note - the showers cost 50 cents for 5 minutes, so bring plenty of quarters with you (also, the motion-detector lights don't come on until after you've entered into the building.) The staff was friendly and accommodating. We were originally assigned RV site #27, but it had rained heavily and this site had low areas with standing water. I called manager; he said we could move to any open site, so I chose #30 which was high and dry with lots of shade. It was a bit of a walk over to BV's restroom/shower building, but several kybos (toilets) are placed all around the CG, which I found were kept cleaner than most. There is a Buffalo campground and a Bison campground (also referred to as the Back- 40). Both have the same site numbers; so it can be confusing. A large number of construction workers were staying in Bison. Buffalo's sites are mostly shady where Bison has very little shade. Part of BV's complex also contains their Buffalo House Restaurant, three ball diamonds, a horseshoe area, basketball and volleyball courts, access to bike trails. - OTR-again
Jun 2012 - $30.00
I arrived late on a Friday evening. It was quite difficult to find, but this was due to road construction and detours, a common Minnesota phenomenon. Upon arrival, I find this is primarily a seasonal campground with many dilapidated trailers and unkempt sites. Bent Trout Lake was small, but beautiful. I had site #3 which was a back-in site. My backing into the site made more difficult by three sheriffs breaking up a drunken domestic disturbance. Again, this wasn't a situation the park could help. The bathrooms were filthy and old, with spiders everywhere. I knew if my wife and daughters joined me the next day our family camping days would be over, so I only stayed one night of my stay and thankfully found a site at another campground. This points up a common problem with seasonal campgrounds - they don't try as hard anymore, and that was definitely what I found here. This campground desperately needs to step into the 21st Century then maybe it won't look like a set from Friday the 13th. - User2584
Aug 2008 - $30.00
Very nice campground for families. The bathrooms need to be updated but they were clean. There were golf carts riding around and they do not watch for people or cars. Other then that nice place. - mnme
Aug 2017 - $21.00
We spent the summer visiting family and our first stay here worked out so well that we came back again a few weeks later. A number of sites are filled with seasonal, maybe some year-rounders? The lady in the office is very friendly and helpful, and she also lives onsite. If you don't like trains, this isn't the place for you. Not only did we hear trains in the distance, but on weekends the tourist train from Duluth pulls up outside the campground for the turnaround point. We thought it was great! Other than that, this area is very quiet. We enjoyed walking along the river and through the Gary-New Duluth area, along with learning about the history of the area. There were a couple of downsides. One was the grass/dirt site and the amount of rain during our stay. Where we had to park to reach hookups put our front step in front of a big puddle. We found a gravel pile on the edge of the property and filled it in, which helped. The other odd thing was the location of the hookups for the direction we had to pull in. We ended up buying an extension for the sewer hose. There's so much to see and do in Duluth, this is conveniently located to all of it and yet "away from it all". - Roaming Together
Sep 2016 - $25.00
This park is off the beaten path and can be somewhat difficult to find. Our GPS was leading us to it until we discovered that a bridge was being worked on and would delay our travel over 2 hours. An alternate route required a much longer trip through road construction, but with little choice, given the time of day we chose the alternate route. As it turned out, this was fortuitous as we discovered that the bridge had insufficient clearance for our MH.
As an earlier review noted, only cash is accepted. Checks may be honored, however it would be best to clear this before arrival. The interior roads have some tight turns which may make it difficult for larger rigs to negotiate.
This is a mostly seasonal park with a few transient sites that is literally on the river's edge. The seasonal people were friendly and helpful and the units were well kept.
Most of the transient sites were 50 amp full hook up. Although there is no cable, ample OTA television channels were available and ATT cell service was good.
Our site was a back-in site that was just long enough for our 33 ft. MH. Our traveling companions were in the same size MH with a TOAD and were in a pull-through site that wasn't quite large enough to leave the TOAD connected. - Lakewood90
Jul 2014 - $22.00
This is a seasonal campground with about 8 sites available for short term campers. 6 are pull-through and other 2 are back-in sites. The interior road and all of the sites were on packed dirt and gravel. All sites have full hookup with 20/30 amp service. The electrical voltage is OK, hovering around 120. All of the utilities were up front so you might need a long electrical cord to reach the utility box. The sites were relatively level but the trees need trimming. You might have to maneuver around the trees to get into your site. There was one washer ($1.25) and one dryer ($1.00). The one bathroom and shower was located within the laundry room. The campground did not have Wi-Fi or cable. Verizon air card and cell phone worked well here. The seasonal residents and campground host were extremely friendly. It was very quiet at night. The road from I-35 to the campground (Commonwealth Road) is extremely pot-holed. There are few amenities on Commonwealth Road. Follow the signs to Boy Scout Landing station, and then turn left from the boat launch area to the campground. We would return to this campground if we were in the area. Our rig is 32' long. - adsaxs
Sep 2014 - $35.00
We called about availability and got their "after hours - (4:30)" recording stating there was lots of availabilities. Being new to this area and unfamiliar w/the park, we did not realize the closeness of things! Trying to get the big rig in with a tow was a bit tricky and we had no idea of where if any there were any 50 amp sites so we just used a 30 amp converter. The site was not level - our front tires way off ground so decided not to even put slides out or level. We would not try and get in there again with a big rig. The park would be great for smaller size campers though! - Foxes
Jul 2009 - $27.00
While we thoroghly enjoyed the park itself we were horrified to discover ticks on us and our dog. From merely walking through the campground, on the road, we all found ticks when we returned to our trailer. The park is beautiful and serene but I can never stay there again because of the ticks. It was unbelievable. - TravellinTam
Jul 2008 - $28.00
The best thing this place has going for it is its location and natural setting in the woods. Beyond that, it needs some work. We enjoyed having a quick drive to Duluth and other area attractions. We also enjoyed sitting at our site among the trees and usually only hearing wildlife, although occasionally you could hear the distant hum of I-35. The facilities themselves are in need of upgrades and care. First, the utilities for most sites are on the wrong side of the camper, forcing you to run your electric and water across the site and underneath the camper. Several sites are unlevel and in some cases too close to their neighbors (while others enjoyed a lot of separation.) Be sure to know the layout of your site before booking as some are so close together that they are really only meant for group camping with one camper backed in, one pulled in. Even more sites were so small that only a tent would fit, let alone your car- and I'm not referring to the walk-in sites either! It's almost as though the sites were put anywhere space could be found and without the needs of campers in mind. There are bright streetlights that are left on 24-7 (so much for being "green") and are annoying at night when you're trying to watch the stars. Some of the lights are burned out (lack of maintenance) which was fortunate for us since one was right at the front of our site. The front office was hardly ever open so if you need firewood or other basic supplies, expect to go in town. The dump station was difficult to use because the road was lower than the drain; I had to constantly raise my sewer hose up and down in order to empty the tanks. Our biggest disappointment was with the bathrooms. They were clearly NOT cleaned on a regular basis as we observed the same trash (whiskers, toothpaste, hair) in the sinks and showers for several days before they were cleaned. The shower curtains themselves were stained with black mold. There was no hand soap or any way to dry your hands. We watched the cleaning lady one day sweep out the restrooms (not mop) while her car was running, so that shows you how much attention was paid to maintaining the bathrooms. Overall we were disappointed. This place could be so much more if it was maintained better and some of the sites were reworked. It's really a shame because if they did make the improvements, it would be one of the nicest places around in a beautiful part of our country. Too bad. - Fdwt994
Aug 2017 - $29.00
We pulled in, no call ahead. Owner came right over. Stayed one night. Cash or check only. Nearby train tracks but they weren't a bother. We could navigate the interior road with our toad attached. Our site was a pull through long enough for 45 ft coach and toad. We had good shade. - Ramblin-Roll
Jun 2017 - $30.00
Very clean and well kept campground. The owner is very accommodating and will go out of his way to help any of his guests. Every one there is very friendly. Many seasonal campers and one big family atmosphere. I travel from Ontario Canada, a 12 hr drive just to be there for a couple of weeks. - willy martin
May 2016 - $30.00
This is a small town campground that is easily accessible without a lot of amenities. The camp was mowed, convenient and has lots of shade but not so much we couldn't access satellite tv. Verizon was spotty. There are lots of long term people set up. The only negative was that one long term camper had a large white tent set up that was unsightly. The owner was very friendly and even refunded an overcharge without any issues. Cash or checks only, they do not take credit cards. There are train tracks and highway noise but it is wasn't anything that bothered us. We will definitely stay again when in the area. - Advice
Aug 2017 - $42.00
The park itself isn't that bad, and it's very close to downtown Duluth, which is nice. The inner roads of the grounds are easy to navigate, but we were packed in pretty tightly. There were a lot of campers on the property. We did have an issue with our water pressure at one point, and we aren't completely sure if it was due to too many people on one line, or if it was just a fluke for about 30 minutes or so. It was, as is the case with many things, almost immediately after we asked if there was a problem that our pressure was reasonable again. - joshnichols84
Jul 2017 - $47.00
We stayed 3 nights in a pull through site #7, which was level, under some trees. The office staff was very friendly and nice! The pull through sites are closer to each other than the back in sites. Some of the back in sites were not level. It had rained before we arrived, and while we were camped at Indian Point Campground. There is not much gravel in the campsites, and no gravel or paved interior roads. As a result, it was extremely muddy in the sites and on the interior roads. Our truck was a muddy mess! The park sits next to the St. Louis River, and there is a walking path by the river. There is also a 24-mile biking paved path just outside of the park that we enjoyed with our bicycles. - Lindy White
Jul 2017 - $30.00
Our site was lovely!!!! Sites are pretty close together and sporadically placed. Site was pretty level. Had great cell phone reception (Verizon). Very nice and quiet campground. The bathrooms and showers needed some work. They have a nice walking trail that leads to a dock, however, the dock was broken. Staff were all very friendly. I would stay here again, but will look for something different first. - jejmjj5