Mauthe Lake is our go to campground each summer. It has a nice playground, a nice swimming beach, and very nice sites, especially in the upper 500s (wooded sites!) This is a state park campground, so it is not too crazy like some of the privately owned campgrounds seem to be. Mauthe Lake would always be my first choice!!
Beware, the water of Mauthe Lake is brownish tinged (due to iron??) but it does not stain, so do not be alarmed! On hot, 90+ days, the beach will be full, just an FYI!
Finally new shower facility was built in the middle 2000s, and it has a family shower, which works great if you have a small children. The other showers are all individual, which is also nice.
This year we tried to go to Mauthe as walk-up campers, but were turned away because all the sites were taken. We then proceeded to Long Lake Recreational Area, and camped there. This was a nice campground as well. The access to the Lake is not as easy, and I am not even sure if there is a beach for swimming or not. There is no playground equipment at Long Lake at this time. Mauthe lake is about 12 minutes away, so we took one day to go up there to let the kids run around and play!
As far as critters go, one year at Mauthe Lake the raccoons took our soap during the night. At Long Lake this past summer of 2008, the raccoon actually came into the site as soon as it was dark. We always find tons of very interesting insects and arachnids as well. While Camping up North, I do not remember such interesting species. (i.e. one year we had a Luna Moth at our site!)