William O'Brien State Park, Marine on Saint Croix

4.4
#54 of 84 in Nature in Minnesota
William O'Brien State Park is a 1520acre state park of Minnesota, USA, along the St. Croix River. Its hiking trails traverse rolling glacial moraine, riparian zones, restored oak savanna, wooded areas and bogs. It is a popular place for birdwatching, picnics, camping, cross-country skiing, canoeing, fishing, and other typical outdoor recreational activities.The park is located approximately two miles north of the town of Marine on St. Croix, Minnesota.HistoryThe St. Croix river valley was inhabited by Dakota and Ojibwa. European trappers commercialized the fur-trade in the 17th century. Extensive logging took place in the mid-19th century; white pines were the target and most other tree species were ignored. Once the white pine was gone the lumber companies were happy to sell, and a lumber baron named William O'Brien bought up much of the land for his personal estate. In 1945, 20 years after William O'Brien's death, his daughter Alice offered 180acre along the riverfront to the state. The donation was eagerly accepted, as Minnesota did not yet have a state park near the Twin Cities, and the park was ratified by the legislature two years later. The proximity to the metro area was a mixed blessing. Land was added to the park at every opportunity, to reduce crowding and to prevent housing developments from being built right up to the boundary. In 1958‚ S. David Greenberg donated Greenberg Island in memory of his parents. Accessible only by canoe‚ the island has become a haven for wildlife and wildflowers. The park was expanded into the bluffs west of Highway 95 and a second campground added. A large tract was added in 1973, leapfrogging a rail line, and another 120acre came in 1986. William O'Brien remains one of the top five most-visited state parks in Minnesota.
Make William O'Brien State Park part of your personalized Marine on Saint Croix itinerary using our Marine on Saint Croix trip planner .
Source
Create an itinerary including William O'Brien State Park
map
William O'Brien State Park Reviews
Rate this attraction
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.0
40 reviews
Google
4.6
TripAdvisor
  • My family and I love this State Park. In the summer they have swimming and camping and hiking and in the winter they have cross country ski trails as well as hiking. It’s quiet but safe and the sites ...  more »
  • I very much like the hiking trail at William o Brien state park. The trail winds around Lake Alice and goes along the St. Croix river. The loop is around 1.6 miles. The gravel is just right. It gradua...  more »
  • The park was beautiful and the beach was perfect. The benches on the beach was nice to sit on. The woods and flowers were very pretty. The visitor center was fun and many things to look at  more »
Google
  • My stay at the Savannah Campground in William O'Brien State Park has been relaxing, enjoyable and one I will long remember. The scenery is more than breathtaking, the activities exciting and numerous and the staff helpful & friendly. I highly recommend William O'Brien and will be visiting often. It's now on my official list of favorite places to be. Period.
  • Great place to hike or ski. Wonderful trails and a nice visitor center. Purchase a one-year pass and visit the state parks as often as you wish.
  • The park offers a nice combination of prairie and forest. There are several hiking trails available connected together which allows you to extend your walk as much as you want. When we went we saw different wild flowers, birds, a snake, a frog, and a bunny! There is a pond with beaver but they say the best time to see them is near sunrise or sunset. We saw their nest but didn't see them. I recommend to visit the visitor center. They have a nice exhibition of the different animals you can see around.
  • Great park there's a river and a lake so you can do all sorts of fun activities such as camp, hike, swim, go fishing and kayak or conoe. The river is the St.Croix river. I give the park 5 stars because it has lots of great trails and lots of wildlife.
  • Alright park. Went there with our dogs hoping it would be a beautiful place to see fall color like the park in red wing, mn but we were disappointed. I personally would not be returning to this park and will take the time to drive to temperance park.

Plan your trip to Marine on Saint Croix

  • Get a personalized plan

    A complete day-by-day itinerary
    based on your preferences
  • Customize it

    Refine your plan. We'll find the
    best routes and schedules
  • Book it

    Choose from the best hotels
    and activities. Up to 50% off
  • Manage it

    Everything in one place.
    Everyone on the same page.

Where to stay in Marine on Saint Croix

Browse hotels, guesthouses, and unique homes and book your stay on the world's leading accommodation sites.
Live like a local, find unique places to stay
Millions of travel reviews on TripAdvisor

Plans in Marine on Saint Croix by other users

5 days in Minnesota BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES March, popular PREFERENCES: March ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 2 days in Minnesota BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES September, popular PREFERENCES: September ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 1 day in Marine on Saint Croix BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES September, popular PREFERENCES: September ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 5 days in Marine on Saint Croix BY A USER FROM PUERTO RICO July, popular PREFERENCES: July ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 5 days in Minnesota BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES July, popular PREFERENCES: July ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 3 days in Marine on Saint Croix BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES July, romantic, popular PREFERENCES: July, romantic ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 3 days in Marine on Saint Croix BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES July, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: July, outdoors, relaxing, beaches ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 1 day in Marine on Saint Croix BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES September, kids, outdoors, beaches, historic sites, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: September, kids, outdoors, beaches, historic sites ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 2 days in Marine on Saint Croix & Hudson BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES September, popular PREFERENCES: September ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 1 day in Marine on Saint Croix BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES June, slow & easy, hidden gems PREFERENCES: June ATTRACTION STYLE: Hidden gems PACE: Slow & easy
View more plans