Grand Marais… our favorite Large Swamp.

We have been very State Park oriented all summer, and with good reason. The state parks are nice, reasonably priced, generally offer some kind of feature or attraction, and the hiking trails are well mapped out. We might have booked State Park sites exclusively, but you Midwesterners are campers.. and I overslept on a booking day last spring. Missed opportunities.

While we are not fans of daily campsite switches, sometimes it’s just how it goes. This time we had one night at Cascade State Park, one night at a city campground near downtown Grand Marais (the touristing portion of our journey) and then one night at Judge C. Magney State Park further north.

We stopped at Cascade State park and were LOVING how remote and dense the woods were. Navigating through the narrow roads in the winding campground had me making squeaking noises, not unlike the branches on the roof of the rv. Mobile coverage for our phones was spotty but we had a moment of hope pop up as we were backing into our site.

But that was it.

One moment.

We pulled forward and back and all over to try to regain signal but ultimately, it was not going to be consistent enough for me to get online for work. We had to go to get service so I could work a few hours before settling in for the night. A short haul up the road landed us at Grand Marais and a strong internet signal. It was there that the dread of navigating to and into our site in the dark was weighing on me. One quick phone call to the city campground allowed us to shift our plans to have 2 nights in Grand Marais and a Saturday stay at Judge C. Sorry Cascade.. you got the itinerary boot for wifi and some power.

The campground right in town on the shore has full hookups if your neighbors don’t kick out your plug while using every free space that they spy. ( A short walk around the bay will take you past 2 places with good fresh fish, some amazing views, probably some live music from someone busking and a neat school with all kinds of classes like blacksmithing, fiber weaving, woodworking, etc. You can even take a sail on their boat, Hjørdis. Just book in advance or you’ll be left on the shore like us. Check them out here:

Very few things are more Minnesotan than the big spoon at the sculpture garden in Minneapolis, the Honeycrisp apple, and Sven & Ole’s Pizza.

For the first time in maybe my entire life, we didn’t get any while we were in town. This newly opened world is still struggling to adjust in so many ways, including staffing. They were only open a few hours a day for a few days a week and had a whole window covered with their pleas to let them train you to work there for 20 bucks an hour. 4 people is only 1/10th their usual summer season staff.

It’s a mad mad world out there.

We did; however, get the World’s Best Donuts Donuts.

When you are in the car and thinking deep thoughts you sometimes blurt out things like… “I wonder what a Grand Marais is. Petite chaise.. grand chaise… Grand Marais? ” And in these moments… google is your friend.

This has to be our favorite “Large Swamp” ever.

Judge C gets their own post apparently.. more soon.

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