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Father Hennepin State Park, Isle
(4.5/5 based on 20+ reviews on the web)
Father Hennepin State Park is a state park of Minnesota, USA, located on the southeast corner of Mille Lacs Lake. The park is named after Father Louis Hennepin, a priest who visited the area with a French expedition in 1680. The 320acre park has 103 campsites and a sandy beach over one mile (1.6 km) long.Cultural historyFather Louis Hennepin, a Franciscan priest of the Recollet order, was dispatched to explore western New France in 1680. Hennepin is not thought to have been in the exact location of the park, but the park is named after him because he was the first to write extensively about the Mille Lacs area. He called the area Louisiana in honor of King Louis XIV of France. In the spring of 1680 he and two companions encountered a group of Dakota Indians and were captured, about 15mi from today's Father Hennepin State Park. Their release was negotiated eight months later by Daniel Greysolon, Sieur du Lhut. Throughout the experience, Father Hennepin kept a journal describing the lakes, rivers, landscapes, and the lifestyle of his hosts, the Mdewakanton Dakota. In 1683 his writings were published in the book Description de la Louisiane.Local advocates and Catholic groups were instrumental in getting the park established in the years before World War II. The Minnesota Legislature was reluctant to fund a new park, but when 129acre of tax-forfeited land were acquired at little cost, Father Hennepin State Memorial Park was authorized in 1941. However a provision was inserted into the bill barring any state funds from supporting the park for the first five years. County and local funds only went so far, and the park remained largely undeveloped until 1953 when the Minnesota state park system instituted an entrance fee.
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Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • Apparently there are two listings for this attraction on Trip Advisor as the last one I chose actually listed this state park as a hotel! Anyways, this was a great place for swimming, hiking and boati...  more »
  • Very small state park. Rangers were very helpful, and when we decided to leave early due to bad weather, they were very accommodating. Even though the park is right on Mille Lacs Lake, there are no go...  more »
  • Father Hennepin State Park is located just a few minutes from Hunter Winfield's in Isle. It has a nice beach. The grounds are well-maintained. It is very peaceful and good for taking a walk or biking....  more »
Google
  • First time camping with my family, it's been Amazing. Nice park, clean, respectful and very helpful, kind staff, park rangers and all. Would recommend in a heartbeat for family get away. Just Amazing. Thanks for the memories.
  • The fishing off the pier was great-my girlfriend and I hauled in some giant Walleyes one night (catch and release). And then "Father Hennepin" showed up. Some cranky old f**k who kept trashing every little thing we were doing. "You're not gonna catch anything with that setup, little lady" to my GF. "You don't need to watch your bobber so closely, Sonny!" By the second hour of this I was getting ready to cut the f**ker into chum and use him as bait. The only thing that shut him up was when I hooked a walleye bigger than all the fish him and his buddies hooked all night, combined. "*That's* how it's done, gramps." Then we packed up and left. So, I would have given 5 stars for the fishing if it handn't have been for the old man who seemed to think that old age granted him license to offer all types of unsolicited advice. He was annoying enough to drop the rating to 2 stars.
  • Small park on a big lake, but no good fishing spots from the shore. Campground was OK. Spacious sites, but not level. And lots of low-hanging branches. Campground host was not very friendly, but park rangers were very nice and helpful.
  • It's the most beautiful small town state park I've visited in MN. The beach is amazing. And the bear cub walking along the shore at 5 am was indescribable.
  • This is a great state park...it seems the lesser known of the two on Mille Lacs. I stayed a weekend and had a lot of fun with my family.