Traveling Ted is a blog that takes readers along on my adventures hiking, canoeing, skiing, and international backpacking. Many blogs focus on one aspect of backpacking, but I tackle both the outdoor adventure side and international exploration as well.

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You can do tons of research on trying to find a good campsite, but it can be a crap shoot if you have never been there before. Also, there is no guarantee when on a road trip that the spot you want is convenient to where and when you want to stop. Therefore, it is wonderful to stumble upon a good campsite when you least expect it.

Good campsite Theodore Roosevelt

Theodore Roosevelt was the goal, but a good campsite was in order first

Heading west to Theodore Roosevelt National Park

It was 2 a.m., and I was west of Minneapolis on I-94 heading to Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota. I had hoped to be resting by a campfire by 10 or 11 p.m., but traffic was rough through northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin as everyone was heading north for the long Labor Day weekend.


I was hoping to be around a campfire at a good campsite, but it was not to be tonight

I then hit Minneapolis and St. Paul, so here was an hour long stretch of city and suburb where nary a good campsite could be found – at least none that I was aware of. I kept plugging away west, but my eyes were getting tired and dry. Then it started to rain. I did not feel like driving in the rain or setting up a campsite in the rain, but I took the lesser of two evils and decided to stop.

The search for a good campsite and success in Melrose, Minnesota

I started to pull off at each exit that mentioned a campground, but when I got to the split after the exit, the signs for campgrounds were too far off the main road. I wanted to find something within a couple of miles from the Interstate, so I would not have to back track too far the next day.

Finally in Melrose, Minnesota there was a sign for camping without even a mileage sign on it. This looked promising. I snaked through this small town until I came to a town park. The park looked just like any other park in any other small town. The only difference though was this had a small campground at the far end.

Good campsite Melrose Minnesota

A good campsite is found along the edge of the Sauk River

I read the campground instructions and paid the $9.00 fee and dropped it in the box and proceeded to set up camp. There were a few other campers there, but plenty of room in the grass for my tent. I heard water rushing as I set up camp and discovered a river flowed by the camp. Rushing water is the perfect sound to sleep to.

After setting up camp, I put my chair down and had a beer. There was no time to get a fire going as it was near 3 a.m., and I wanted to get on the road by 8 a.m. the next morning. I did not need a fire as the sky was lighting up all around. I pulled up the radar app on my phone to see it was a small thunderstorm system. I was at the tail end of it and it was clear skies after that. I was elated because I had a week on the open road ahead of me and this was just the first of many adventures.


Sunrise on my good campsite in Melrose, Minnesota

I enjoyed the light display while having a couple of beers and soon went to bed. I was up at 7 a.m. and I walked over to check out the river. The Sauk River flowed right out of a lake right beneath a dam. I crossed the street and took some pictures of the scenic lake and then turned around and captured the sunrise over the campground.

Melrose Lake

Taking a walk around Melrose before packing up and leaving the good campsite and heading west

I took down my tent and rolled west towards Theodore Roosevelt content in the fact that I got a few hours sleep in a perfect little campground along the Sauk River in Melrose, Minnesota. This campground has been bookmarked in my memory for future road trips or I might just make Melrose a future destination.

Adventure on!

The goal of Traveling Ted is to inspire people to outdoor adventure travel and then provide tips on where and how to go. If you liked this post then sign up for the email newsletter. Notifications are sent out once or twice a month with what is new with Traveling Ted’s adventures. There is no spam and email information will not be shared. Other e-follow options include Facebook (click on the like box to the right) or twitter (click on the pretty bird on the rainbow above).