RV Camping in William O’Brien State Park: Tips & Things To Do

RV Destinations


Minnesota's state park system has much to offer outdoorsy types and RV road trippers. From beautiful lakes to riparian delights and more, the Land of 10,000 Lakes has its fair share of wonders. And, just when you think you've heard of all of the Gopher State's beautiful locales, you find more waiting to be discovered by RV travelers like you!

One such destination deserving of your attention is William O'Brien State Park in Washington County, Minnesota.

What Is William O'Brien State Park?

One of the most popular state parks in Minnesota, William O'Brien State Park is located about an hour's drive northeast of Minneapolis. Established in 1947 and sitting on land once owned by a successful Minnesotan businessman for whom the park is named (and donated by his daughter in 1945), William O'Brien State Park has a lot going for it.

With lake swimming, fishing, canoeing, and more in warmer weather, and skiing, snowshoeing, and more in winter, William O'Brien State Park is truly an outdoor recreation wonderland sitting on the banks of the St. Croix River!

What Is There To Do at William O'Brien State Park?

As is the case with many Minnesotan state parks, waterways play a big role at William O'Brien State Park, too. But, while lakes play a central role elsewhere, it is a river that takes center stage at William O'Brien State Park.

Canoeing and Kayaking

Whether you've got a kayak or a canoe, the St. Croix River provides opportunities for kayakers and canoeists to get out and take on the river's currents. Didn't bring your own vessel? Rent one from mid-May through mid-October.


If you want to go swimming at William O'Brien State Park, you can — but only in Lake Alice (named for William O'Brien's daughter). Swimming is prohibited in the St. Croix River due to the potential for currents to sweep swimmers away.


The St. Croix River offers opportunities for anglers to catch walleye, bass, trout, and northern pike; simply cast a line from the shoreline! There is also a fishing pier at Lake Alice.


Hikers can keep themselves busy on William O'Brien State Park's 12 miles of hiking trails, which vary between marshy wetlands and tree-covered splendor.


Once the snow starts falling each winter, the hiking trails are groomed for cross-country skiing, skate skiing — any kind of skiing, really!


If you prefer snowshoeing to skiing, head out on the Riverside Trail (located east of the park's visitor center) and start exploring!

Can You Go RV Camping at William O'Brien State Park?

Yes, indeed, you can go RV camping at William O’Brien State Park, at either the Riverway or Savanna Campgrounds. The Riverway Campground is seasonal, so you can only go William O'Brien State Park camping there in an RV there from the end of April through mid-October each year.

There are 124 RV campsites available between the two campgrounds, but only 71 have electric hookups. There are picnic tables, fire rings, and grills at each site, with seasonal restrooms and showers available, along with a seasonal dump station to make use of.

Reserve a Spot

If you're planning on visiting William O'Brien State Park for camping, it's recommended to book a campsite through the reservation system for either the Riverway or Savanna campgrounds as early as possible, especially if you'll need electric hookups. You can make a reservation up to 120 days before your trip date, so plan accordingly!

When Is the Best Time To Visit William O'Brien State Park?

For William O'Brien State Park camping, the best time to visit is practically any time the Riverway campground is open (April 30 to October 19, or thereabouts). When the official camping season begins, temperatures will be chilly, with highs in the 50s and overnight lows just above freezing; you may not have as much competition for campsite reservations then. Come May, though, things will warm up, and average highs will sit in the mid-60s before reaching the mid-70s in June.

From July through September, average highs will range between the mid-70s and low-80s Fahrenheit; overnight lows will be in the 60s during the summer, dipping into the low 60s in September. By the time the campground closes for the year in mid-to-late October, temps will be similar to what they were in mid-spring.

Winter weather is perfect for cross-country skiing, skate skiing, and snowshoeing at William O'Brien State Park, with an average of 18 snow days a month from December through February. Average highs in winter are usually in the low-to-mid 20s, with overnight winter lows in the teens in December and in the single digits in January and February.

Head Out To William O'Brien State Park With Cruise America

Now that you know the ins and outs of William O'Brien State Park camping, all that remains is planning your trip. And, if a trip to William O'Brien State Park is in the cards, then there's no better way to experience it than in an RV rental.

Where can you get an RV that'll be perfect for your next Minnesota adventure? With vehicles in a variety of lengths and floor plans that are packed to the gills with modern amenities to ensure your comfort, Cruise America has the RV you need.

To see why you should go with a Cruise America RV for your next road trip to William O'Brien State Park (or anywhere else!), visit Cruise America today.