Nurturing Family Bonds in Stillwater

Nestled along the scenic St. Croix River, Stillwater, Minnesota, offers a charming blend of small-town warmth and modern amenities, making it an ideal haven for families seeking a nurturing environment. In this article, we will explore the key elements that contribute to a vibrant family life in Stillwater, focusing on its top schools, parks, and attractions. 

Top Schools 

Education is a cornerstone of family life, and Stillwater takes pride in its excellent school system. The Stillwater Area Public Schools district is renowned for its commitment to academic excellence and holistic development. The district includes multiple award-winning schools, providing students with a well-rounded education. 

Stillwater Area High School (SAHS):

Overview: SAHS is the flagship high school in the district, known for its commitment to academic achievement and well-rounded education. The school serves students from 9th to 12th grade and offers a comprehensive curriculum that includes advanced placement (AP) courses, honors programs, and a range of elective options. 

Extracurriculars: Beyond academics, SAHS provides numerous extracurricular activities, including sports, arts, and clubs. Students have opportunities to participate in athletics, music, drama, and community service, fostering a sense of community and teamwork. 

Oak-Land Middle School 

Overview: Oak-Land Middle School is dedicated to serving students in grades 6 to 8. The school focuses on the unique needs of middle schoolers, providing a supportive environment for their academic and social development. 

Programs: The school offers a variety of academic programs to cater to different learning styles and abilities. Additionally, students can engage in extracurricular activities such as band, choir, and various clubs.

Afton-Lakeland Elementary 

Overview: Afton-Lakeland Elementary is an integral part of the district's commitment to fostering a strong educational foundation for young learners. The school serves students from kindergarten through 6th grade. 

Focus on Early Education: Afton-Lakeland Elementary places a strong emphasis on early childhood education, providing a nurturing environment for young students to explore, learn, and develop essential skills. 

New Heights School 

Overview: Our K-12 program is uniquely designed so schoolwork is completed at school allowing time at home to be devoted to family, friends, hobbies or other outside interest. 

New Heights offers a standards-based curriculum, which is taught in a more relaxed, relational way.  Students in grades 6-12 take traditional “general” courses, including: Math, Language Arts, Science, Social Studies, and Art each year, as well as a variety of elective offerings, while elementary students follow a traditional K-5 curriculum emphasizing reading, writing and math. 

Marine Village School 

Overview: We are committed to keeping our school size small, with one class per grade and class sizes that will always remain under 25 students. Our small school size provides meaningful classroom instruction, deep dives into study topics and more time for outdoor learning. 

Marine Village School draws upon the St. Croix Valley’s deep cultural, ecological, and historical strengths, paving the way for student engagement and success. We promote a love of learning, respect for the environment, a sense of wonder, and responsibility to others – giving our students a life-long sense of accomplishment and self-worth. 

Private School Option:  

St. Croix Preparatory Academy 

Overview: St. Croix Preparatory Academy is a charter school that offers an alternative to public education. The academy focuses on a classical education model, emphasizing a well-rounded curriculum and character development. 

Curriculum: St. Croix Preparatory Academy provides a challenging academic curriculum, incorporating classical literature, history, and languages into its programs. The school's commitment to character education helps students develop a strong sense of responsibility and integrity. 
St. Croix Catholic School 

Overview: it’s our mission, in partnership with parents, to develop this child into a virtuous, faith-filled leader God intended. St. Croix Catholic offers a strong liberal arts education, coupled with opportunities to devel 21st century skills.  

Focus: At St. Croix Catholic School, the teaching of the Catholic faith is an essential foundation for the students’ moral and spiritual development. The students learn and develop respect, self-discipline, compassion, and integrity, which naturally lead to academic success. The school respects the rights and responsibilities of parents as the primary educators of their children. 

The Stillwater Area Public Schools district is dedicated to providing a safe, inclusive, and academically enriching environment for students at all grade levels. The district continually invests in professional development for its educators, ensuring that they stay abreast of the latest teaching methodologies and technology to best serve their students. 
Families moving to Stillwater can take comfort in the fact that the local schools are not just centers of education but also vibrant hubs of community life. The commitment to excellence, coupled with a wide range of extracurricular opportunities, ensures that students in Stillwater receive a well-rounded education that prepares them for the challenges of the future. 

 Parks and Recreation 

For families who appreciate the great outdoors, Stillwater offers an array of picturesque parks and recreational spaces. Lowell Park, located along the riverfront, provides a serene setting for picnics, family gatherings, and leisurely strolls. The park's lush greenery and river views make it a popular spot for relaxation and recreation. 

The St. Croix Boomsite Wayside, offers a short and beautful riverside walk. With woods and caves to add come adventure and true river life moments. You can fish in the summer and walk to the “secret falls” each winter, mind you the water might be frozen, but what a beautiful view.  

Oak Glen Park, on the other hand, caters to the more active members of the family. With its playgrounds, sports facilities, and well-maintained trails, Oak Glen Park is a hub of energy and excitement. Families can spend quality time together participating in various sports or simply enjoying a weekend hike. 
Afton State Park, just a short drive away from Stillwater, offers a more immersive natural experience. Families can explore miles of hiking trails, engage in birdwatching, or enjoy a day of camping. The park's diverse ecosystems provide an educational opportunity for children to learn about the environment and conservation. 


Stillwater's historic downtown area is brimming with charming shops, boutiques, and restaurants, providing the perfect backdrop for family outings. The Stillwater Trolley offers a delightful way to explore the town's history, architecture, and hidden gems. Families can hop on the trolley and embark on a guided tour, creating lasting memories while learning about Stillwater's rich heritage. 

The Teddy Bear Park is a whimsical destination for younger children, featuring unique play structures and a vibrant, welcoming atmosphere. Parents can relax on benches while watching their little ones explore and interact with the creatively designed play equipment. 

The calliope music from the historic Stillwater Lift Bridge adds a touch of nostalgia to the town. Families can enjoy watching the boats navigate the St. Croix River or take a boat tour themselves to appreciate the beauty of the river valley from a different perspective. 

To further enhance your family experience in Stillwater, consider consulting with a local expert who understands the nuances of the community. Richard McDonough with Lake Sotheby’s International Reality a seasoned real estate professional, is well-versed in the Stillwater area and can help you find the perfect home for your family's needs. His commitment to client satisfaction and extensive knowledge of the local real estate market makes him an invaluable resource for families looking to make Stillwater their home. 

Contact Richard today to explore available properties and gain insights into the real estate landscape in Stillwater. Make informed decisions for your family's future with Richard McDonough with Lake Sotheby’s International Reality expertise by your side. 
Stillwater, with its top-notch schools, beautiful parks, and diverse attractions, stands as an idyllic destination for families seeking a rich and fulfilling life. From quality education to recreational opportunities and cultural experiences, Stillwater has it all. Families can make the most of their time in this welcoming community by taking advantage of the resources and expertise available, such as those provided by Richard McDonough. 

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