A day on the river is a perfect way to spend a sunny summer day in the Midwest. Boating on the lower St Croix River in Minnesota is a fun family past time, great for bonding with family members, making memories, and for relaxing. Keep reading to learn more about the area and read my tips for a fantastic and fun family excursion on the river.
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The lower St Croix river is the area of the river near Stillwater, Minnesota, and down towards Hudson, Wisconsin. The river divides the states of Minnesota and Wisconsin as it runs along the border of them. I grew up visiting this area to go boating with my family and now my husband and I take our kids here for fun, relaxation, and enjoyment of the beautiful river area. It’s a gorgeous area to visit loaded with lots of potential for fun.
We love to visit the area where there is a spattering of islands near the Soo Line High Bridge, just south of Stillwater, and near Hudson, Wisconson.
What is there to do on the St Croix River?
Boating around the river is fun because you can look at the gorgeous homes along the river. It’s fun to see all the wild animals. Plus, of course, the swimming/tubing/skiing (there are restrictions on when towing someone behind the boat is allowed).
We love to just zip around the river on the boat and take in all the beautiful scenery and the birds. We also love to dock our boat on the islands and explore. Walking around the islands is fun and very relaxing. We love to get off the boat on the islands with the trees.
Note: There are many shells and even some glass on the sand of the islands, so wearing shoes is a good idea to protect your feet from getting cut.
It’s fun to search for treasures, wildflowers, and walk beneath the many trees on the island.
Camping is allowed on the islands as well. We have not done this but it sounds fun. There are also some bonfire pits scattered about the islands.
We also love to drop an anchor in the deep water, toss our float noodles in the water, and swim about right off the boat. Our boys love to jump off the boat in the deeper waters. Bring float noodles or float on lifejackets for easy relaxing in the deeper waters.
Boating on the river is a great past time now with needing social distancing due to COVID-19 guidelines as it’s easy to stay back from others both on the river and on the island.
Other Things to do in the area:
Riding one of the big paddle boats is also fun, as is visiting historic downtown Stillwater. Walking along the river is enjoyable where people can also view the Historic Lift Bridge going up and down to allow the big boats through every half hour. Stillwater is a great town to shop in or take time to eat at one of their amazing restaurants. They also have a great candy store there as well called Candyland. I am an author and I love the Stillwater downtown and river area so much I included it in my young adult romance novel “Hungry Hearts”.
What to Pack for a Day on the St Croix River
Our favorite thing to do for a lunch meal while on the river is to pick up subs on our way to the river. Local travel can be very easy and fun if it’s planned right. Making homemade sandwiches is great too, but much more time consuming. We often have to plan to get on the river early so we get a parking spot. To make it easy, we usually pick up subs on the way there and pop them in the cooler. We bring out own chips and drinks to make the cost of buying subs for the five of us more economical.
What to pack:
- pick up sub sandwiches on your way (Jimmy John’s or Subway are our favorite picks)
- sliced watermelon
- veggie tray with dip (Walmart)
- chips (we get the multi-pack of individual bags)
- cookies (we love Oreos or chocolate chip cookies to enjoy on the river)
- bottles of water
- bottles of sports drinks or soda pop
- a bag for garbage
- paper plates
- napkins or a roll of paper towel
- bug spray
- hand wipes
- a picnic blanket
- beach towels
- pool noodles or floats
- day-old bread to feed the ducks/birds
What You Will See
While on the St Croix River you will see many types of birds. We saw female mallard ducks, loons, seagulls, and several other birds both small and large. The island we were on had butterflies and beautiful wildflowers as well as the freshwater mussels in the water (leave them alone as moving them can hurt or kill them).
Just beyond this island the river gets very shallow so be careful and bring a depth finder to ensure your boat doesn’t get stuck in shallow water. We did see a tow service boat puttering about so if you do get stuck or have boat trouble, there is help. There is also a gas pump that sells gas on the river at the marina.
The bridges are very neat to see as well. The Historic Stillwater Lift Bridge raises up to allow larger boats to pass. It goes like clockwork every half hour. Our boat is small enough to fit under the bridge even while it is in the down position unless the water is too high, then we don’t fit. It’s really fun to watch the bridge raise, especially from a boat. We also drove our boat by the Soo Line High Bridge. Last year a train went by while we were near it, which was really fun to see.
Types of Boats
Through the years I’ve seen many different types of boats on the river. It’s entertaining to see the many styles and kinds of boats on the river. We even enjoy just sitting in our boat or on the island to watch all the various boats go by. We saw houseboats, cabin cruisers, pontoons, speedboats, fishing boats, paddle boats, paddleboards, jet skis, and sailboats.
To learn more about the St Croix, visit this government website at: https://www.nps.gov/sacn/index.htm
I hope you found this review useful in planning your trip to the St Croix river.
Copyright ©2020 Julie Hoag Writer. All Rights Reserved.
I’m a Minnesota author. Check out my book … if you live in Minnesota I’d love to sign the book for you;) It’s available in paperback, ebook, audiobook, and CD. My next book is set to be published in 2021.Hungry Hearts
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