Savanna Portage State Park--McGregor, MN
Where do we start?
Well, first this was a trip without kids so—there’s that. You know, we love our kids and watching them explore and go on special adventures with us—we live for it, really. But there is something about the ease of just being two adults with no extra bodies to keep track of or not having to hear the word "mom" 382 times when we are trying to have a conversation that makes a getaway seem more magical!
We set off to a new to us park—Savanna Portage in McGregor, MN. We didn’t really know much about it, but liked that it was up north and seemingly had some good hiking trails. It’s about a 2.5 hour drive from the cities and besides almost running out of gas—the drive was a breeze. Especially since we were heading out on Sunday while everyone else was coming back from up north. (Pro-tip: book sites during the week if you can. Traffic is non-existent, sites are very quiet and towns are less busy!)
Once we settled in and ate dinner, we did what any normal parents on a kid free vacation would do. Drank and went to bed at 10:30. I think I remembered us dancing by the fire though—our party hearty meter has a ways to go.
Our full day at Savanna started with some amazingly delicious hash—recipe under “camp food” tab (so easy—even could be done over the campfire!) Then after researching the 7 or so trails the park had to offer we settled on the 5 mile loop that included an overlook at the continental divide. This is where water to the West flows into the Mississippi and water to the East runs into Lake Superior. It was an amazing view and hike that we highly recommend. However, two things: be prepared for bugs (mainly flies for us) and consider doing it on your bike—less buggy and a faster round trip. We thought that perhaps in the fall with less bugs and more foliage it would be a prime time for that particular hike! It has a considerable amount of hills and mainly a grass and dirt trail that had just a handful of muddy spots—so a good pair of hiking boots would serve you well. We would consider it family friendly for families with older kids that can keep up and endure the 5 miles or if you have the ability to carry small children in a Kelty backpack or on a bike.
After a quick cat nap and enjoying the peace and quiet at the site (another perk of kid free!), we went to Bann’s bar and restaurant in McGregor (this was recommended to us) in search of some good greasy food and hopefully some good people watching. I’d say we got both. We got there before the rush, but enjoyed the atmosphere of people at least three decades older than us, the Jeopardy game show blasting through the patio speakers and the cheap, but delicious food. It was a bit quiet on a Monday evening, but I bet on the weekend it’s the place to be if you like a good meat raffle or Bingo.
After eating, we went to a hole in the wall market to get some bait so we could go fishing. We paid $5 dollars for dead, stringy no good night crawlers. Nope, we’re not bitter about it at all. They were at least a bit good though since we each caught a fish. Quite possibly the smallest fish ever, but it’s always exciting to catch something! The kids would be proud us.
We boasted about our catches and felt the pride (and ran out of worms) and then we headed back to the site for a fire, drinks, snacks and cribbage. It’s amazing--the peaceful quiet and tranquility that a trip away with just your significant other can bring. We came up with so many great plans, ideas and projects for our future. I even landed on a topic and plot for my children’s book! Ahh, love the feeling of a clear mind to let the ideas flow (and a bit of whiskey always helps).
Our last morning at Savanna we ventured out for one more hike around the lake. It was a shorter hike at 2 miles, but just as buggy. I tell you, I will forever wonder why God created the mosquito and the fly! They were relentlessly dive bombing our bodies the entire hike. At one point I think I had two mating flies caught between my glasses and my face! Ridiculous. BUT, besides that it was a beautiful hike. It further solidifies my thought that we need to come back in the fall to experience it with less bugs and some fall colors!
All in all, we give this place all of the thumbs up and will for sure be returning and suggesting this park to everyone. I'm going to boldly say----I think this is my favorite park so far--beating out Banning! Ooftah---never thought anything would beat Banning in my heart, but this was just so so good! It’s a not long, but long enough drive to be out of the cities and up north. It’s got beautiful trails, lakes for fishing, secluded sites, wildlife, insanely clean and well-kept bathrooms and showers and very helpful park guides. We stayed in the electrical site 15E and would stay in this site again.
Feeling so rejuvenated and fresh after these days away and thankful for grandparents that step in to take our beloved little humans while we took this little adventure and made some memories!
We’ve got one more trip planned for the summer, then on to fall camping season!
Here’s a recap of our trip!