WLA Features: Robbins Island Regional Park
By Bailey Hovland
You’re driving down Highway 71 toward Willmar, with the windows down and the radio up. There isn’t a cloud in the sky and the lake water looks like glass, mirroring the beautiful day. The shoreline of the lake turns into fields of green, where soccer players rush up and down the grass. Just beyond their game is a grove of trees, shading frisbee golfers and walkers and bikers as they get their exercise in. Foot Lake’s sandy beach sparkles in the sun to the West, and Willmar Lake’s boat access provides a break in the reeds to the East. You take a right and pull onto the small asphalt road. Welcome to Robbins Island Regional Park.
Robbins Island is a 55-acre community park that has stood the test of time in the WLA, named after lumber John S. Robbins, a fuel, and farm machinery merchant who acquired the property in the late 17th century. In the spring, summer, and fall, the park offers an outdoor retreat for all to enjoy. And in the winter, the park transforms into an award-winning light display called Celebrate the Light of the World, illuminating the snowy landscape. In other words, Robbins Island is where it’s happening in the Willmar Lakes Area.
Without leaving town, Willmarites and visitors can experience the great outdoors in a number of different ways. Robbins Island has abundant walking trails and a road that circles the park, providing plenty of new routes for runners, bikers, and hikers. Take an afternoon to explore the trails and go hunting for Minnesota flora and fauna. Minnesota’s beautiful state flower, the Lady Slipper, can be found on the sides of the trails if you look hard enough!
One of the popular parts of the park is the Willmar Destination Playground, giving families and kids the space to run around and spend time together outside. Built for all children, this playground has it all: rubber flooring for soft landings, swings that are accessible for children with disabilities, and enough obstacles to keep kids entertained for hours. This 19,000-square-foot play space provides fun for everyone, thanks to a community that invested in the playground and built it (quite literally) from the ground up.
The shelters can be rented for your next barbecue, pizza party, or beach day, taking your festivities outdoors and making sure you don’t have to clean your home to host a great party. Plus, Willmar recently renovated a shelter outfitted for all four seasons, ensuring you have a location for any celebration: high school graduation, Thanksgiving gatherings, or even holiday parties.
The soccer fields are almost always busy, with local leagues kicking around the ball in the evenings and middle schoolers practicing their trick shots during the day. The sandy beach is the ideal spot to take in the sun on a warm summer day or strike up a sand volleyball tournament. And the rolling hills feature a frisbee golf course, appreciated both by amateurs like myself and more experienced disc golfers.
Robbins Island brings the community together, creating a space that everyone can enjoy. So the next time you’re driving down Highway 71 and peeling by Willmar Lake, take a right turn into Robbins Island. Bring your frisbee golf discs, rollerblades, volleyball, or hiking boots for an afternoon of outdoor fun.
Fish our lakes
The possibilities are endless on our 30 recreational lakes…boating, swimming, fishing, water skiing, tubing, canoeing, kayaking, paddle boating, hydro biking, paddle boarding and so much more!
Explore our Trails
Surrounded by beautiful lakes and scenery…who wouldn’t take a hike or a leisurely bike ride to enjoy the view? With miles of trials to choose from, you can always find new places to explore.
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