Blue Mounds State Park
Blue Mounds is one of the best state parks in southwestern Minnesota for rest and relaxation. Located on the tallest hill in Luverne Minnesota, Blue Mounds State Park is filled to the brim with surprises.
Unique geological features and spectacular views are this parks main draws, with 1,532 acres of untamed natural beauty.
Travelers flock to Blue Mounds to hike, camp, swim, mountain bike, or go cross-country skiing. If youre looking to spend your downtime in restful inactivity, this park offers enough gorgeous views to pair with your reposeful mood.
The Blue Mounds campground has 77 wooded sites open year-round with a rustic and accessible disabled-friendly cabin. Each site in the area houses a fire ring and a picnic table. Water founds and toilets are scattered throughout the campgrounds for your convenience.
PRO TIP: All trails in the area are open for hiking, but only three are designated as hiking only. Among the most notable trails are Flintrock Nature Trail, a beginner-friendly educational trail with interpretive signs that offer insight into the geology in the area, and Single Track Trail, a unique 3-mile mountain bike trail for daring cyclists willing to take on the challenge.
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Try A Yurt If You Can
The newest form of lodging in Minnesota state parks the yurt has become one of the most popular. Seven of the insulated canvas tent-like structures, built in 2015, are available for booking in three locations, and theyre already reserved for most weekends this summer. The yurts, available at Afton and Glendalough state parks and the Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area, have a domed roof with skylight, windows, bunk beds, and a table and chairs or benches, and sleep three to seven people. The sleeping accommodations differ depending on the yurt. The yurts dont have electricity, but they do have wood stoves for heat. To check availability and get more details, go to bit.ly/yurtminn. Speaking of state park sites, remember reservations are required for all Minnesota state park campsites. The state used to keep about one-third of the sites for arrivals at the parks, first-come, first-served. State parks officials strongly suggest reserving campsites in advance.
Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness
Visiting the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness is a right of passage for nearly every Minnesotan. You dont even have to be an outdoorsy type of person. Its simply something that each person should experience at least once in their lifetime .
If youre looking for a truly wild and natural camping experience, the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness is the place to go.
This wilderness and national forest offer over 1,000 miles of canoe routes, as well as plenty of hiking and fishing opportunities. The best part is that the park is only about an hour north of Duluth, making it easy to get to.
Between the forest, lakes, rivers, ponds, and some of the most scenic waterfalls in Minnesota, you will find plenty of places to set up your tent. With hundreds of campgrounds located in the BWCAW, there is no shortage of spots.
Visit Recreation.gov for the latest on fees, quota limits (number of groups entering the area, and current information.
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Grand Portage State Park
Bordering Canada and home to Minnesotas tallest waterfall, Grand Portage is one of the most popular Minnesota state parks on this list. Its also one of the best along the North Shore and one of the most beautiful state parks in Minnesota.
While its one of the smallest parks in the state, the 120-feet High Falls, which pours unstoppably into Pigeon River is this locations main draw.
To bypass the falls, American Indians developed an ancient nine-mile trail from Lake Superior named the The Grand Portage. Today, travelers can take a half-mile trail and boardwalk to reach the falls overlook area.
If youre looking to go nature-hopping, Grand Portage is one of the best Minnesota state parks to visit. A visit will have you venturing amidst hardwood-conifer forests and hiking trails that snake along the banks of the Pigeon River.
The breathtaking scenery and unique terrain attract photographers, hikers, and travelers looking to commune with nature.
PRO TIP: Grand Portage is available for day use only with no options for overnight camping. There are 12 miles of dirt trails with difficulties ranging from easy to expert.
The trails to Pigeon River High Falls are paved and ADA compliant, but they arent accessible by wheelchair during the winter months. Because of the state parks small size, it does not have a campground.
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Snack Choices For Children
Be sure your little ones are well-fueled from dawn until dusk for a camping trip full of activity. Choose treats that are easily transportable for hiking and canoe trips and stay away from anything thatll create a big mess and invite the critters into your campsite.
Trail mix: This offers a quick grab-n-go snack with protein and carbs. One suggestion: Mix peanuts, cashews, almonds, raisins and M & Ms.
Beef jerky: A great source of protein, jerky can take the place of lunch if youre out on the trail.
Granola bars: Any type of bar is a perennial favorite among the little ones. Plus theres plenty of flavors to choose from to keep everyone happy. If youre looking for something more substantial, Clif Bars, LÄRABARS and PROBARS are great options.
Dried fruit: Healthy and easy to transport, you cant beat a quick carb-hit when youre out on the water or on the trail.
Fruit snacks: If youve got a young one who is resistant to the healthier option, this is a good alternative. Youre on vacation, why not splurge?
Carrot sticks: An excellent source of all sorts of nutrients and dietary fiber, carrots are an easy choice.
Mackenzie Lobby Havey
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How To Plan A Family Camping Trip
Camping can be a fun and affordable way for a family to spend time together. However, it doesnt matter how experienced you are with travel or camping.
No family wants an angry parent or fussy kids to spoil what could have been the perfect trip.
Here are some tips on how to plan a successful family camping trip:
Close All State Park Offices Visitor Centers And Non
- All state park offices will be closed to the public, including information desks and nature stores. The public will be able to get park information and purchase park permits through the Self-Pay and Information Kiosks. Camping reservations should be made and paid for online or over the phone using the reservations system.
- All bathrooms, shower buildings, and vault toilets that are currently open will remain open to the public, and we will reopen currently closed vault toilets where feasible. We will ensure our cleaning protocols meet best practices established to address COVID-19 concerns. Bathrooms and shower buildings that are currently closed will remain closed to the public until further notice.
- Group centers that are currently open to the public will remain open, with social distancing measures implemented. Currently closed group centers will remain closed until further notice.
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Discover New Opportunities For Adventure
There are 75 Minnesota state parks and recreation areas ready for you to explore. Go camping, take a nature hike, pack a picnic…your adventure awaits, so grab a map and get outside.
Stop to chat if you see us in the parks! Were surveying state park visitors this summer to learn how we can make your future visitor experiences even better.
What Are The Different Types Of Campsites Available In Minnesota State Parks
There are three types of campsites available in Minnesota state parks: drive-in, walk-in, and boat-in. Drive-in campsites are the most common type and include a parking space for your vehicle and a camping pad for your tent or camper.
Walk-in campsites are located close to the parks trails and must be accessed on foot. Boat-in campsites are only available at parks with lakes and include a parking space for your boat and a camping pad for your tent or camper.
Split Rock Lighthouse
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Where Can I Camp For Free In Minnesota
Boondocking Sites in Minnesota August Lake Campground. There are two campsites at the August Lake Campground near Ely. Crane Lake. If you love canoeing, camp at Crane Lake near Orr. Marcell Dispersed Camping. Noma Lake Campground. Buckman Coulee Wayside Park. Dodge Center Creek Park. Bemis Hill Campground. Free Camping in Minnesota.
Where Can I Park My Rv For Free In Minnesota
The following are only a few examples of the many free Minnesota RV camping locations available. SUPERIOR NATIONAL FOREST. Superior National Forest Campgrounds This link takes you to the official camping information pages. BROWNS VALLEY. MAHNOMEN. McINTOSH. MINNEAPOLIS/BLOOMINGTON. ORTONVILLE. ROTHSAY. SLEEPY EYE.
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Build A Proper Campfire
Determine where to build the fire. Many campsites have specific spots inside grates or rings, for example. If there isnt a predetermined spot, build it in an area without brush or low-hanging branches. Collect tinder , kindling and larger pieces of wood. Place a handful of tinder in the center of the spot, then use kindling to build a teepee around the tinder. Light the tinder with a match or lighter. Add progressively larger pieces of kindling to the teepee. Once the kindling burns consistently, add larger pieces of firewood to the teepee. Damp weather a challenge? Cotton balls soaked in Vaseline or dryer lint make good fire starters in a pinch.
Spendy But It’s Glamping
Spacious tent: Opt for a roomy abode that offers standing room height and plenty of space to stretch out.
One pick: Nemo Equipment Wagontop 4P LX Camping Tent
High-tech lantern: An extra-bright light with the ability to charge your smartphone is key.
One pick: Black Diamond Equipment Moji Charging Station
Great coffee: No need to skip your morning cup of Joe just because youre out in the woods. This silicone, collapsible device holds a No. 4 filter.
One pick: GSI Outdoors JavaDrip
Comfortable hammock: Many state parks have restrictions on hanging hammocks from trees, so go for the inflatable variety.
One pick: WindPouch GO
Tricked-out cooler: Dont risk your food spoiling and your beer getting warm. Plus, this monster can hold your fish limit. Think marine cooler.
One pick: Yeti Tundra 75
Premium camping stove: Grill, boil and cook to your hearts desire in the great outdoors.
One pick: BioLite CampStove 2 Bundle
Mackenzie Lobby Havey
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If You Need To Eat Wild
OK, most everyone has an idea of wild blueberries and mushrooms , but its a big world of possibilities. Who knows when they might become necessities. The plant world is robust. The entire dandelion can be steamed, but the best recommendation: Pinch the flower away the stem , and enjoy. The cattail plant is edible. The young tips and white stalk can be chopped. A guidebook called The Happy Camper by Kevin Callan has some solid advice. Callan suggests using the shoots as a substitute for potatoes in stew. Speaking of complements, the tubers at the end of arrow root can be eaten raw or added to soup, too. The water plant tends to grow along the edges of slow-moving rivers. Many species of pine have edible nuts in the cones in late summer and fall. Foraging for edibles is allowed on many public lands, but regulations vary. Collecting anything other than edible fruit and mushrooms is prohibited in state parks.
The Best Campgrounds In Minnesota State Parks For Families
When it comes to finding the best camping spots in Minnesota, there are plenty of places to choose from. However, if youre looking for a family-friendly option that offers plenty of activities and amenities, these campgrounds are some of the best in Minnesota.
It can be hard to find a good place to camp with your family. There are so many different Minnesota campgrounds to choose from, and its hard to know which one is right for you.
Not only is it tough to decide where to go camping, but it can also be expensive. Camping fees can add up quickly, and if youre not careful you might end up spending more than you planned.
The solution is simple check out these best campgrounds in Minnesota for families. These campsites located in state parks and designated wilderness areas offer plenty of activities and amenities, making them perfect for a fun-filled vacation. Plus, theyre all affordable, so you wont have to break the bank just to enjoy some time outside.
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Wabasha Prairie Park Reserve
If youre looking to get away from the city and enjoy some of Minnesotas natural beauty, consider camping at the Wabasha Prairie Park Reserve.
This park provides extensive opportunities for outdoor recreation that include biking, fishing, boating, and canoeing. Campers are provided access to modern facilities that include showers, restrooms, picnic areas, and a concession stand.
There are also several hiking trails available for campers who want to explore the parks scenic landscape.
Registrations For 2022 Are Full Please Email Or Call The Campground Office To Be Placed On The Waiting List
Information is subject to change. Please check back periodically for updates.
If youre the general public and would like to be added to the email list to receive campground updates, please send your name and email address to with the subject line Campground Information.
If you have additional questions, please contact us at or 651-642-2379.
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William Obrien State Park
For a camping experience that is both affordable and modern, consider William OBrien State Park near Marine on St Croix. This park offers a variety of different camping opportunities, including RV sites with electric hookups, a rustic cabin tent-only campground, and group campsites.
Visitors can also access the St Croix River by driving one mile up the road to Wabasha Beach, which offers camping opportunities for those who want to be closer to the water.
There is also a concession stand and restrooms available to campers. Visit the State Park system website for current activities, planning resources, and make reservations.
Split Rock Lighthouse State Park
Split Rock Lighthouse State Park is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Minnesota, and for good reason. This park is home to the historic Split Rock Lighthouse, which was built in 1910 and is now a National Historic Landmark. In addition to the lighthouse, the park offers plenty of trails for hikers and cyclists, as well as camping and fishing opportunities.
The Superior Hiking Trail is a 296-mile long trail that runs along the rocky north shore of Lake Superior in Minnesota. The trail is open to hikers, backpackers, and cyclists, and offers some of the most beautiful scenery in the state.
One of the best things about the Superior Hiking Trail is that it allows hikers to explore the entire north shore of Lake Superior. The trail passes through a variety of landscapes, including forests, cliffs, and beaches. It also offers plenty of opportunities for wildlife sightings.
All of the campsites offer picnic tables and fire pits, and some sites also offer electrical hookups and showers.
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There Are Still Great Options For Finding Last
If youre willing to drive a few miles out of your way, if youre able to camp without running water or Wi-Fi, you still have many terrific choices in the North Shore area. The spontaneous North Shore camping road trip is not dead.
Look for Superior National Forest campgrounds where you can show up almost any day of the week and find quiet open sites. For example, Ninemile Lake Campground is just a 30 minute drive from Highway 61, is on a walleye lake, and is close to great trails. Kimball Lake Campground is just twelve miles up the Gunflint Trail from Grand Marais. Some Superior National Forest campgrounds do accept reservations, but they still have plenty of first-come, first-served sites as well.
A rough trail, used by shore-casting trout anglers, circles Kimball Lake at the campground.
Minnesota state forest campgrounds, like Eckbeck and Finland, have no reservations at all. Those two campgrounds are very popular with hikers as they are close to Superior Hiking Trail trailheads. Read this blog post about alternative, inland North Shore campgrounds up the Cramer Road for more ideas.
You can find essential, additional information on these just-off-the-beaten path campgrounds in Camping the North Shore.
Its still possible to find your perfect place in the woods, even at the last minute. Youll just have to think outside the state park.
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