BEST PLACE TO CAMP - 2004
unnamed island in the Mississippi River in Minneapolis
Who says you have to leave the city to go camping? As many as 500 people "camp" in Minneapolis every single night. Granted, most of the homeless hot spots leave something to be desired. The highway overpasses--a mainstay--are noisy, smelly places. The grass median on Royalston Avenue is very popular, though that has more to do with its proximity to social services and bars than intrinsic naturalist appeal. But in certain hidden corners of the city, there are some great places to pitch a tent, crack a beer, and enjoy some solitude. The best spot is a little unnamed island in the Mississippi River in Minneapolis. It sits across from the Riverside Power Plant in Northeast. There's nothing fancy here: trees, sand, a rope swing. But it has a glorious view of the downtown skyline and, when the river is running high, great smallmouth fishing. While it is not legal to camp on the island, that too has an upside: At least you don't need to muck around with permits or reservations. One word of caution: You might want to bring a rake, because sometimes this little slice of paradise is covered with goose shit.