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Our experience in MN has been much different. My wife is originally from Duluth so we go up there every other year.
In Duluth the best place is the Lakeside Boat Basin right down on Park Point, just past downtown. This is a boat storage place in the winter but in the summer when the boats are in the water they park RV's there. The parking is on a paved parking lot but they have full hookups and it is within walking distance to Canal Park and the tourist district. You do have to cross the lift bridge to get there.
In Grand Maraque (sp) up on the north shore is a city park with a huge RV park. Full hookups.
Just outside Tower, west of Ely, is the Fountain Bay Casino with a very nice RV Park with full hookups.
In Bemidji we stayed at the KOA. Usually don't like KOA's but this one is nice.
In Brainard we stayed in the city park. This one has water/electric only with a dump station.
You are right about a lack of military campgrounds. Minnesota also has a lack of military bases. The only base I've seen up there is an Air National Guard base in Duluth, a former AFB. Very few facilities available there.
We'll probably be back next year so will keep tabs on Camp Ripley.
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