Camping Spots Near Fargo (Within 2 Hours)

camping near fargo

Camping season is here, and spots are filling up FAST! Get ready to get everyone out in nature, and check out these great local camping spots near Fargo. 

Camping Spots Near Fargo (within 2 Hours Drive)

1. Maplewood State Park, MN

Drive time from Fargo: 1 hour

Lodging options: Reservations are available for tents, campers, and camper cabins. Maplewood has three camper cabins (Pike, Crappie and Musky) that sit away from the main campground a bit (1/4 mile), on top of a hill. These cabins have nearby access to a dock and large pond that connects with South Lida Lake, which is perfect for kayaking or fishing (not for swimming though). In these camper cabins, you are truly in the wilderness, while feeling connected to other campers and having shelter. The cabins are fun to rent in the winter as well (and easier to come by!).

Reservation window: 120 days before your arrival date. Reserve the first day you’re able for a summer reservation of a camper cabin, or most electrical sites for campers. 

Things to do: Hallaway Hill is a great introduction to hiking; half-mile one way to a “worth the hike” overlook. There is a swimming beach on South Lida Lake inside the campground. You can also rent canoes and kayaks here. 

 

2. Itasca State Park, MN

Drive time from Fargo: 2 hours, near the town of Park Rapids. 

Lodging options: Lodging includes electric sites for campers, tent-only sites (cart-in), as well as drive-in sites. Itasca does not have true camper cabins. But it does have numerous, different lodging opportunities inside the park; a rarity to find. The Bearpaw cabins are only $110/night, and have a bathroom and kitchenette inside the cabin.

Reservation window: 120 days before your arrival date. Reserve the first day you’re able for a summer reservation of a cabin. Tent sites will be easier to come by. 

Things to do: You can walk in the headwaters of the Mississippi River! Minnesota’s oldest state park is sure to make you feel as though you drove much farther than 2 hours from Fargo, and will feel like a vacation instead of just a weekend of camping. There are many paved walking and biking trails. If you can fit the bikes in/on your vehicle, bring them! Don’t worry if you can’t – Itasca Sports Rental is located inside the park where you can rent pontoons, paddle boards, bikes, and kayaks. There are numerous, well-groomed hiking trails among towering, old pine trees, along with a scenic loop to drive. A swimming beach is also available on Lake Itasca.

 

3. Buffalo River State Park, MN

Drive time from Fargo: 20- 30 minutes, towards Detroit Lakes.

Lodging options: Buffalo River only has sites for tents and campers; No camper cabins. (See “what kind of site to reserve” above)

Reservation window: 120 days before your arrival date. 

Things to do: There are hiking trails, and sometimes there is a sand-bottom swimming pond. Sadly, the swimming pond is closed for the 2021 summer season.

 

4. Lake Carlos State Park, MN

Drive time from Fargo: Just under 2 hours; 15 minutes north of Alexandria

Lodging options: There is a lower and upper campground: Upper being more secluded and wooded. Four camper cabins are located in the upper campground. Upper campground is likely a better spot for tenting, as not all of the sites are electric. 

Reservation window: 120 days before your arrival date. 

Things to do: Lake Carlos is a large and deep lake. Canoes and kayas are available for rent in the park office, and it’s a great lake to fish. The sandy swimming beach is shallow, and a perfect place to enjoy the water with family. 

 

5. Glendalough State Park, MN

Drive time from Fargo: 1 1/2 hours, near Fergus Falls.

Lodging options: Glendalough lodging includes 22 cart-in sites, 4 camper-cabins, and 2 yurts away from the main campground. There are not drive-in sites for campers.

Reservation window: 120 days before your arrival date. 

Things to do: Glendalough offers a true respite from civilization, with no motorized boats allowed on Annie Battle Lake and no vehicles in the campground. Swimming is available on two, sandy lakes. There is a 12 mile, paved bike trail, as well as hiking trails. And the Ottertail Lake Zorbaz is only 7 miles away, if you are missing civilization. This is a true gem for camping near Fargo.

6. Turtle River State Park, ND

Drive time from Fargo: 1 hour, 30 minutes West of Grand Forks near the town of Arvilla.

Lodging options: There are 12 camper cabins for $65/night. There are also 65 drive-in, electric sites and 26 primitive, tent-only campsites. 

Reservation window: Reservations can be made 95 days before your arrival date either online or by phone (800-807-4723).

Things to do: The river has many locations for wading, but it’s not exactly for swimming. But there are lovely, well-established, short hikes over bridges and streams. It truly is lovely here. A wonderfully planned and cared-for State park gem. This park is large, and so bikes are also fun. However, there are no separate bike trails and you will always be on roads with traffic. There is a dog-park, off-leash area as well. 

 

7. Jamestown Reservoir, ND

Drive time from Fargo: 1 hour, 40 minutes, 2 miles north of Jamestown. 

Lodging options: There are two campgrounds, each of which have 3-4 camper cabins for only $50/night. Pelican Point campground is located near the water on the west side of the reservoir. Lakeside campground, on the east side, doesn’t appear to be on the water, but very close. 

Reservation window: 6 months before your arrival date at Recreation.gov. 

Things to do: Jamestown Reservoir beach is nearest the Lakeside Campground, and appears to be a very nice, sandy swimming area (and reportedly another swimming beach as well). This park definitely caters to boaters/fisher-people, with 7 ramps. 

 

8. Lake Ashtabula, ND

Drive time from Fargo: 1 hour, 25 minutes. North of Valley City. 

Lodging options: There are 4 campgrounds on Lake Ashtabula:

    • East Ashtabula Crossing has 32 electric, drive-in sites and 6 walk-in, tent sites. No camper cabins.
    • Eggerts Landing has 37 electric, drive-in sites, some of which are right on the water. There are 4 walk-in, tent only sites. No camper cabins. 
    • Mel Rieman Rec has electric sites, 4 walk-to tent sites, and a few tent only, non-electric drive-in sites away from the camper hookups. No camper cabins. 
    • West Ashtabula Crossing has approximately 12 tent-only, drive-in sites right on the water, and 5 electric hook-ups on the water as well. There are also 20 other electrical, drive-in sites as well. No camper cabins.

Reservation window: 6 months before your arrival date at Recreation.gov

Things to do: Lake Ashtabula was created by the construction of the Baldhill Dam on the Sheyenne River in 1944, and is situated in one of the most scenic river valleys in the region. 

East Ashtabula Crossing is also a popular campground and features a swimming beach. Within walking distance campers will also find a fishing pier, restaurant and hiking trails. 

Eggerts Landing is the most popular campground with thick forests, secluded sites and lake access with a swimming beach. A dump station, fishing pier, boat ramp, restaurant and additional hiking trails are within walking distance. 

Mel Rieman Rec is a popular day-use area. The day-use area is adjacent to the campground and has a visitor center, playgrounds, picnic facilities, concessions, fishing spots and a boat ramp. Their website also notes a swimming area.  

West Ashtabula Crossing fills up on most summer weekends. Campers will find a swimming beach, playground and restaurant less than one mile away.

 

9. Fort Ransom State Park, ND and Little Yellowstone Park, ND

Drive time from Fargo: 1 hour, 25 minutes. South of Valley City on the Sheyenne River. These are two different spots for camping near Fargo, located about 15 minutes apart. 

Lodging options:  

Little Yellowstone Park is run by Barnes County, just south of the town of Kathryn.  There are 35 campsites – 16 electrical and 19 more secluded primitive (non-electrical) campsites. Some of the nicest sites are located in the upper portion of the park. These do not have electrical hook-ups, but provide seclusion and are perfect for tents and small campers. Reportedly no showers available, but sinks and restrooms. 

Fort Ransom is a state park. There are two yurts and a farm house, both which sleep 6, and have a full kitchen and bathroom, for $125/night. This park also has two small campgrounds, one on the east side of the Sheyenne River and one on the west. There are also equine campgrounds north of these. Full showers/restrooms located within the park. 

Reservation window: 

Little Yellowstone Park: There are only 8 sites open for reservation. All other sites are first come, first serve.  

Fort Ransom: Reservations can be made 95 days before your arrival date either online or by phone (800-807-4723). 

Things to do:

Little Yellowstone Park: “Waterfalls” with camping near Fargo? My friend says this is basically a little creek that runs down the hill. But fun for kids and adults to walk in. Take a hike and see! 

Fort Ransom: Dogs must be on-leash throughout the park. But there is an “Off Leash” area located at the southern tip of the park. There is river access and a walking trail located in this area of the park. You can also rent kayaks and canoes. The run is 5.2 miles downstream and staff transport you and the boats back to the park. 

 

10. Big Stone Lake State Park, MN

Drive time from Fargo: 2 hours south, near Ortonville, MN.

Lodging options: The campground has electric and non-electric sites near the lake. No camper cabins. 

Reservation window: 120 days before your arrival date. 

Things to do: Big Stone Lake is 26 miles long and is located on the South Dakota-Minnesota border. This is a popular fishing lake. The area also includes the Bonanza Education Center which provides a place to discover the past and ways to preserve it. In the southern section of the park, called the Meadowbrook Area, there is a campground, swimming beach (within walking distance of the campground) and hiking trails.

 

11. Roy Lake State Park, SD

  • Drive time from Fargo: 1 hour, 45 minutes, near Lake City, SD. 
  • Lodging options: 2 campgrounds
    • Roy Lake East has two beautiful camper cabins with a large front porch, AC, lakeside views, and a large site near the swimming beach and playground. You’d better book early to get these! There are also two tent-only drive-in sites with lakeside views. 
    • Roy Lake West actually has numerous “modern” cabins with kitchens and bathrooms, very near the water. These are in the process of getting remodeled/updated; Some are quite old. They also have some lodging suites with similar amenities with variable price options; These are not as affordable as camper cabins.
    • There are numerous basic and electric sites, some sites lakeside, all are drive-in sites. Your neighbors are close by in all sites, as there are nice showers/bathrooms in both campgrounds.  

Reservation window: Reservations may be made within 90 days of arrival. For summer weekends, most campsites and cabins are reserved within a week of reservations opening.

Things to do: Fisher-people will find the facilities they need: boat ramp, fishing dock, fishing pole checkout and fish-cleaning station. Each campground has a swimming beach.  Fort Sisseton is 15 miles away. A historical festival occurs (usually) the first weekend in June. Fort Sisseton has a visitor center with interpretive displays and is a good way to spend a morning exploring history with the kids.

Happy camping! 

Did we miss any camping spots near Fargo you love? Contact us at [email protected] and let us know!

Looking for more summer fun? Check out our Ultimate Guide to Summer to find all the fun events and activities happening in our area!

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Erika has worked in the educational setting as a physical therapist for 17 years, after attending UND and NDSU. After recognizing difficult behaviors in her third child, she became an advanced trainer of the Nurtured Heart Approach®. Professionally, Erika is also a mentor, course-captain, and clinical instructor, and has served students in the Autism magnet program for 10 years. She recently served on the Pediatric Advisory Board for Curriculum Development at UND, and on a task force with the Department of Instruction to create the first school-based PT/OT guidelines in the state. She also is a mentor with BioGirls, leads a group of teenage boys at confirmation, leads a Girl Scout troop, and has coached baseball. For the past two Mother’s Days, Erika has hosted a Neighborhood Chalk Party, an event designed to further build relationships in neighborhoods on the principle of “it takes a village to raise a child.” She was born and raised in Hankinson, ND, and has lived in the Fargo area for over 25 years with her husband (who you may know as the radio DJ on Bob 95 FM: "Chris, John and Cori in the Morning"). Together they have four children: girl-boy-boy-girl, ages 10-16. Erika is passionate about empowering kids, preventative health, hiking, and national parks.

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