MidwestWeekends.com — Your Travel Guide to the Upper Midwest

Need spot for a big family gathering

I am hoping to plan a family reunion for a large group . . 150. It is a mixed group of children and adults, as well as economic ranges. I am looking for a place that might have housing facilities, as well as camping, but the big thing is a large space for us to gather and cook meals together. Can you help? Thanks. - Midge, Montpelier, Ohio

A state-park group lodge or a retreat center would fit everyone's budget, but 150 is a lot of people! Perhaps some people could rent cabins in the vicinity.

State parks offer the best deal. In southeast Minnesota's beautiful bluff country, Whitewater State Park has a group center that would be perfect. It has eight heated cabins that sleep up to 132, a central bath facility and a large modern kitchen and dining hall, $5 per person or a minimum of $130 from Oct. 15 to April 15 and $300 from April 16 to Oct. 14.

There's lots to do right in the park, including hiking and swimming. Call the park at 507-932-3007 to reserve.

In west-central Minnesota, popular Sibley State Park near New London has a group center that sleeps 128 people. The staff building has four bedrooms and three baths and sleeps 14, and seven barracks sleep up up to 18 each. There's a mess hall with stove, dishwasher, refrigerator and walk-in cooler, though guests must bring cooking and eating utensils. There's a shower building with flush toilets, a volleyball court, picnic tables and a grill.

in east Minnesota, a little more than an hour from the Twin Cities, St. Croix State Park near Hinckley has two large, modern, split-level guesthouses and two group centers. Norway Point sleeps 215 people, and Head of the Rapids sleeps 125. They're open from May through September.

In southwest Wisconsin, Wyalusing State Park, at the confluence of the Wisconsin and Mississippi rivers, has four buildings that each accommodate 27 people, with indoor bathrooms and a separate kitchen; $4 per person with a $200 minimum. Overflow people can stay in nearby Prairie du Chien.

All of these centers can be reserved a year in advance.

Other options: an environmental learning center, such as Deep Portage, near the Brainerd Lakes area in Minnesota; a church retreat center, such as Camp Onomia  near Mille Lacs Lac in north-central Minnesota; or a conference center, such as Heartwood in northwest Wisconsin.

For details and other ideas, see Cabins for a crowd.

Last updated on January 11, 2010