Summers for us are super busy with the kids activities and a crazy work schedule for my husband. So when we get the chance to spend time as a family, we like to make as many memories as possible while also trying to recharge our batteries. Having younger kids like ours we find that this is often difficult to do. If we stay home, there is always something to do around the farm or house. Planning a long trip is stressful with our kids who don’t like to be in the car for very long, and until a certain age, it seems like it’s necessary to pack everything but the kitchen sink.
Maplewood State Park is within an hour driving distance for us, so it makes for a great day trip for us and the kids, and it has everything we need to have a relaxing time together.
Driving into Maplewood State Park you are instantly surrounded by trees, most of them Maple Trees (see what they did there!?!) It’s lush and beautiful and instantly gives us the relaxing feel of getting away from the busyness. We love to hike and explore, and Maplewood State Park has a bunch of trails that are perfect for our younger kids to navigate through. This trip though, we went for the afternoon only, and it was swimming we were seeking.
The parking area is a short walking distance from the swimming area and there are bathrooms with changing rooms in the center of the parking area.
It was sunny and hot when we left our farm, and much to our surprise, it was overcast and breezy when we arrived at the park. But kids being kids, it didn’t matter much, and we quickly found the water and started our afternoon of swimming and sandcastle building.
The swimming area is marked with buoys and is fairly shallow. Our 8-year-old isn’t very tall for his age and it was about chest height when he was standing at the edge of it. This day we visited was in the beginning of July and the water was fairly warm for a Minnesota lake. There wasn’t too much seaweed or Lilly pads like there can be in some of the other Minnesota lakes we’ve visited. The lake was also really calm when we were there as far as boat traffic.
Once the kids got tired of swimming, we enjoyed the nice sandy beach area which was perfect for building sandcastles and spending time out of the water. The beach was fairly clean. We even found some small seashells while beach-combing.
There are also several picnic tables swimming area, as well as grills, so that is one less thing you’d have to pack if you were planning on having a meal while at the lake. We were there on a Sunday afternoon and it wasn’t crowded at all. The kids had all the room they needed to splash around and play, and there were several picnic tables still available.
Although this was a quick trip for us, it was just what we needed to end our weekend with some relaxing family time. The kids had a great time spending uninterrupted chore-free time with us, and we were able to recharge a little while watching them play in the water and sand. We will definitely be going back to check out some hiking trails and we also hope to go camping in the park this summer.
If you have the chance to visit, we definitely recommend Maplewood State Park for a nice family get-away, even if you have younger kids like ours!