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.
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William O'Brien State Park Reviews
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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.

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1 day in Marine on Saint Croix BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES June, teens, kids, popular PREFERENCES: June, teens, kids ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 23 days in Minneapolis BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES April, popular PREFERENCES: April ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 18 days in Minneapolis BY A USER FROM UNITED KINGDOM August, popular PREFERENCES: August ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 45 days in Los Angeles, Minneapolis & New York City BY A USER FROM INDIA May, popular PREFERENCES: May ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 19 days in Minneapolis & Salt Lake City BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES April, outdoors, popular PREFERENCES: April, outdoors ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 31 days in Minneapolis BY A USER FROM NORWAY June, teens, kids, popular PREFERENCES: June, teens, kids ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 28 days in Minneapolis BY A USER FROM CANADA June, relaxing, romantic, beaches, museums, slow & easy, popular PREFERENCES: June, relaxing, romantic, beaches, museums ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Slow & easy 14 days in Minneapolis BY A USER FROM NETHERLANDS April, teens, popular PREFERENCES: April, teens ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 15 days in Minneapolis BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES March, outdoors, historic sites, shopping, popular PREFERENCES: March, outdoors, historic sites, shopping ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 4 days in Minnesota BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES July, relaxing, historic sites, shopping, slow & easy, popular PREFERENCES: July, relaxing, historic sites, shopping ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Slow & easy 32 days in Minneapolis BY A USER FROM SAUDI ARABIA March, popular PREFERENCES: March ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 60 days in Minnesota BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES May, teens, kids, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: May, teens, kids ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium
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