After trialing at CACM’s agility trial in St. Cloud, MN, the dogs and I camped for several days at the St. Cloud/Clearwater RV Park at 2454 County Road 143 in Clearwater MN. The park is located between St. Cloud and Clearwater, thus its name.
Camping at the RV Park was a refreshing experience for me compared to some other campgrounds on our nationwide trial expedition. The family friendly park has numerous shade trees, spacious sites, a camp store, new salt water pool, mini-golf, game room, and more.
Meet Cooper, Mary and Chelsey
I was greeted by a beautiful, friendly Boxer named Cooper and by Mary Peterson, who owns and operates the park with her husband Elden. Formerly a KOA, they purchased it in 2012. “It was what God wanted us to do,” according to Mary. “Wed been looking for something for a few years, someplace close to our kids. Once Elden found it, everything happened very quickly.”
Some of her kids are definitely having fun RV’ing and helping at the park now too. Chelsey, Mary’s granddaughter, said she spends most of her summer there. “Some are more involved than others,” Mary said. “We love seeing them all whenever they can visit.”
Many types of sites to choose from
Our site was on grass and had water and 30 AMP electric, with free use of the dump station. It was near the pool and playground but back just enough to give the dogs some peace. It had partial shade over the RV, depending on the time of day, and a large shade tree covering the picnic table. The RV park also has pull-through sites that include full hookups with water, sewer and 30 or 50 amp service, electric-only hookups and “bare-bones” sites for tents. You can also rent an RV or your choice of cabins.
Nearby our site were some tent sites that included small covered picnic shelters with a 100amp electric box. Imagine a family gathering here. Rain or shine, the food would be covered and warm.
Mini-golf, swimming, playground
Staying at the St Cloud/Clearwater RV Park was special for me because my daughter Audrey and two grandsons Rory and Conor came to visit us on a few occasions. They live less than an hour away so yes, this venture had ulterior motives in addition to this blog. We naturally took advantage of several activities.
We opted to play miniature golf at $1 each. Rory and Conor were free, being 5 or under. Installed in 2013, it’s a shaded course with hostas instead of grass between the greens. If you’re looking for a fancy course with waterfalls and bolders, this isn’t the place. But it was very fun for us. My grandsons had never played mini-golf before and had a grand time as they loudly cheered everyone any of us got the ball in the hole. In addition to practicing motor skills when hitting the ball, they also enjoyed learning as they looked for the number of the next green.
Swimming was also very fun. New in 2016, the salt water pool is extremely clean, and the water, well, soft! It was in the high 60’s to low 70’s on both days that we swam, but fortunately for us the pool is heated. (We would probably not have been swimming in a lake if it was that cool.) While I was there, the pool was dutifully cleaned every morning before visitors arrived. There were numerous lounge chairs around the pool, and clean restrooms with showers less than 50 feet away.
The boys also had fun on the playground as they swung from the bars and tried to scare us doing their dare devil antics. In addition to the “bigger kids” playground, there is an area for smaller tots too with baby swings and a smaller slide.
Not to leave out the dogs, we took them for a walk in the dog walk area. The wider mowed path goes through woods and circles back to the campground. It was a little buggy back there, so we were glad it wasn’t a very long trail.
Given all the fun we were having at this RV park, little did we know that just a few weeks prior to our stay the place looked like a disaster. On June 11, 2017 straight line winds attacked the area during a rare morning thunderstorm. “Remarkably everyone stayed safe at the RV park,” according to Mary Peterson. “But there were so many trees down. I didn’t think there would be any left once they were cleaned up.”
“To our amazement, many of the campers pitched right in with chain saws and muscle to help clear all the trees,” Mary said. “We are so grateful. It is essential that things are ready for full camping by the 4th of July. And they are!”
Gnomes, which appear throughout the campground, are a reminder of the storm. Several are guarding the place as they plant themselves on tree branch stumps — a tree that once stood in front of the office and now has just a few main branches left.
Fenced dog area, agility equipment coming soon
Despite it all, Mary Peterson said they’re continually upgrading the park. This year they’re adding something dog friendly: a fenced in area for dogs to play. It will also include a few dog agility obstacles such as a jump, tunnel and small dog walk. “We have the fence but just haven’t had time to install it,” she said. “It’s planned for this fall.”
So agility peeps, here’s a place you’ll soon be able to practice if you’re on the road and plan to attend the CACM trial. Now this is my kind of RV park!