Afton State Park is one of Anne's favorite nearby State Parks. With its bluffs, rolling prairie and sandy swimming beach, this St Croix area park is a nice place for a picnic, hike and swim. Other family-friendly amenities include campsites, places to fish and programs led by naturalists throughout the year.
- 8 Twin Cities Metro-Area Minnesota State Parks
- Universe in the Park
- FFTC Family Camping Guide: Minnesota State Park Campgrounds
9 Ideas for Family Fun at Afton State Park
- Hike in to one of 28 rustic camp sites. They also offer one site that is accessible by canoe and four camper cabins for year-round camping.
- Borrow a Free Fishing Kit from the ranger station. It includes everything you need for a day of fishing - rod, reel and tackle. Fishing is free in Minnesota State Parks and residents do not need a license.
- Go Geocaching. The ranger station also has free loaner GPS units - call ahead for loaner items just to make sure the office has it ready.
- Give Birdwatching a try. Check out our handy birding checklist for a list of what to pack, but you can borrow binoculars, guidebooks and a list of birds to look for from the ranger station.
- Check out a Kids Discovery Kit. It will include stories and activities perfect for your grade-school aged children to explore the park. This is another free loaner item available at the ranger station.
- Swim. The beach along the St Croix River is unguarded, so come prepared to watch your kids closely.
- Hike. Anne tells us that the terrain can be a little challenging for smaller kids and reminds us to pack our water bottles.
- Sign up for a naturalist program. Find these listed on the DNR's events calendar.
- Cross Country Ski in the Winter. An annual ski pass is required to use the ski trails.
Pollinator Exhibit at Afton State Park
Afton is one of ten state parks that has installed educational pollinator plantings that include exhibits. The following is a transcript of the audio content of that exhibit:
Look at the area in front of you and notice the flowers that are blooming now. If you look closer at some of these flowers you may see an insect pollinator superhero! A butterfly, a bee, or some other six-legged insect. Sometimes you can even hear them. During the summer months at Afton State Park you can always find some kind of flower blooming in the prairies, each with its own special pollinators. To learn more about the plants and animals that live in a prairie you can walk the interpretive prairie trail to the right of where you are now.