Earlier this month my husband and I, along with our two kids spent an unusually warm March day at Charles A. Lindbergh State Park in Little Falls, Minnesota. This state park is located right off of Highway 10, between our house and Minneapolis, a drive we make often. We look at the sign all the time and it was time to finally check this park off the list. While this state park lacks the “wow factor” that many of the other Minnesota State Parks have, it does offer a lot of history.
I always thought this park was named after the pilot Charles A. Lindbergh, Jr. He was known for flying the first trans-Atlantic solo flight in his plane, Spirit of Saint Louis, in 1927. I was surprised to learn the park is actually named after his father, Charles A. Lindbergh, Sr., who was a progressive Republican Congressman that represented central Minnesota from 1907-1917. He lost the Governor’s race in 1918. The land the park sits on was farming land that belonged to the Lindbergh Family. You can still see a few of the original buildings at the park, and while we did not visit the visitor center, I read it is full of information on the family and the history.
One of the highlights of the park is the “Jenny Landing Site” a short and easy hike from the parking area will get you here. Charles A. Lindbergh’s bought his first airplane, “Jenny,” for $500 four years before his historic trans-Atlantic flight. He flew the old, World War I surplus plane, from Georgia to Texas, barnstorming, before heading north towards his parent’s farm in Little Falls. He landed Jenny on this site in July of 1923. While the site is really just a field, it was still fun to see. I took a moment to imagine what it would have been like back then, seeing an airplane land! Amazing!
There is not only a lot of history in this park, there is also a lot of beauty. The park is located on the Mississippi River and has 8 miles of hiking riverside. The park also has beautiful, Pike Creek that you can hike along. There are a couple beautiful bridges that cross the creek, and the scenery is peaceful and refreshing. All the hiking we did while at the park was relatively flat and great to do with small children. Our daughter had a lot of fun running up and down the trails and it was also easy enough for mom and dad when we had the kids in backpacks! Nothing too strenuous.
In addition to hiking our kids had a great time playing in the park. It is a very basic park, simply a slide and swings, but it totally did the trick. The park is located next to the picnic area where there is a really neat tower. The kids definitely enjoyed this part of the day and mom and dad were happy to get in the car with two tired out kids when it was time to head home.
This was a great park for a day trip with kids and I am sure we will be back to explore more. The park also offers everything you would expect from a Minnesota State Park: camping, group camping, a canoe and boat launch, visitor center, and a picnic shelter. Charles A. Lindbergh State Park also have two unique camp sites that are cart or canoe in, which sounds fun! Perhaps that will be our plan for next time!
Have you been to Charles A. Lindberg State Park? What do you suggest we do next time? Or better yet, what Minnesota State Park should we visit next?
Much Love & Happy Travels,
Research for this post was done on the MN State Parks Website