We love camping at Father Hennepin State Park in Isle Minnesota on Lake Mille Lacs because it is less than an hour drive from our house, it has a beautiful sandy beach, and the deer are so used to people that it is quite easy to get photos of them.
Father Hennepin State Park
Camping at Father Hennepin State Park is a joy. The camp ground is clean and beautiful and never feels crowded. The Lake View Campground has some sites with views of lake Mille Lacs, and the Maple Grove Campground has sites that are a little more wooded and private. The camp sites are a good size, and several of them have a view of the lake. I would caution on choosing the sites down the hill right on the lake in the Lakeview Campground, because it can get very windy on Mille Lacs. The other sites up the hill are more protected from the wind.
There are clean bath houses, and even the vault toilets are bearable in the fall. There are only a couple of showers in the women’s bathhouse in the Lake View campground, and I have had to wait quite awhile to shower. I would recommend getting up early, get in the shower and then go enjoy the sunrise which is always beautiful over the lake.
The trail system in Father Hennepin State Park is easy to navigate and parts of it run along the lakeshore, providing amazing views at each step. There is a huge sandy beach and picnic area in the park.
Be sure to visit the shops and restaurants in the town of Isle, right outside the park. Wahkon MN is not far away, and also has several bars and restaurants.