Everything you need to know about camping in Minnesota state parks, including the best parks to camp at, what to pack, how to stay safe, and fun activities for the whole family.
Minnesota is home to over 70 state parks, each with its own unique beauty and attractions. Whether you’re looking for a secluded spot to pitch your tent or a campground with all the amenities, you’re sure to find it in Minnesota.
Read more: Voyageurs National Park In Minnesota
Best Minnesota State Parks for Camping
Here are a few of the best Minnesota state parks for camping:
1. Split Rock Lighthouse State Park, Minnesota
Perched on the rugged North Shore of Lake Superior, Split Rock Lighthouse State Park is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts and history buffs alike. The park’s iconic lighthouse, built in 1910, stands as a testament to the region’s maritime heritage. Visitors can explore the lighthouse grounds, climb the tower for panoramic views of the lake, and learn about the fascinating history of shipwrecks and lighthouse keepers.
Camping at Split Rock Lighthouse State Park offers a unique blend of natural beauty and historical charm. The park’s campground sits amidst a forest of towering pines, offering a peaceful retreat just steps away from the lakeshore. Choose from a variety of campsites, including some with electric hookups and others nestled in secluded spots.
2. Gooseberry Falls State Park, Minnesota
Gooseberry Falls State Park is a nature lover’s paradise, boasting cascading waterfalls, scenic hiking trails, and a variety of outdoor activities. The park’s namesake waterfalls, Gooseberry Falls, tumble over a series of rocky ledges, creating a mesmerizing spectacle of water and mist. Visitors can hike along the falls, admire the views from various overlooks, and even take a refreshing dip in the plunge pool at the base of the lower falls.
Camping at Gooseberry Falls State Park provides an immersive experience amidst the park’s natural wonders. The campground is nestled within the forest, offering a tranquil setting with easy access to the park’s trails and attractions. Choose from a variety of campsites, including some with electric hookups and others offering more secluded, primitive camping experiences.
3. Tettegouche State Park, Minnesota
Tettegouche State Park is a gem along the North Shore of Lake Superior, renowned for its rugged beauty, diverse landscapes, and abundant recreational opportunities. The park encompasses towering cliffs, pristine lakes, cascading waterfalls, and dense forests, offering a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. Hike to Shovel Point for breathtaking views of the lake, explore the Superior Hiking Trail, or try your hand at rock climbing on the park’s cliffs.
Camping at Tettegouche State Park immerses you in the heart of this natural wonderland. The campground offers a variety of campsites, ranging from those with electric hookups to secluded spots nestled among the trees. Some campsites are located right on the Baptism River, providing a tranquil soundtrack and easy access to the water.
4. Itasca State Park, Minnesota
Itasca State Park is a Minnesota treasure, home to the headwaters of the mighty Mississippi River and a vast expanse of pristine wilderness. The park encompasses over 32,000 acres of lakes, forests, and wetlands, offering a haven for outdoor recreation and wildlife encounters. Visitors can witness the humble beginnings of the Mississippi River at Lake Itasca, explore the park’s extensive network of hiking and biking trails, or paddle through the serene waters of the park’s many lakes.
Camping at Itasca State Park provides a unique opportunity to connect with nature and experience the park’s diverse ecosystems. The park offers a variety of campgrounds, each with its own character and amenities. Choose from electric campsites near the park’s visitor center or opt for a more secluded experience in the park’s backcountry.
5. Voyageurs National Park, Minnesota
Voyageurs National Park is a vast wilderness paradise in northern Minnesota, bordering Canada. The park encompasses a labyrinth of interconnected waterways, dotted with forested islands and rugged shorelines. Known as the “Land of 10,000 Lakes,” Voyageurs offers a haven for paddling enthusiasts, with opportunities for canoeing, kayaking, and boating amidst the serene waters. Explore the park’s backcountry trails, spot wildlife like moose and bald eagles, and immerse yourself in the tranquility of this remote wilderness.
Camping at Voyageurs National Park provides an unforgettable backcountry experience. The park offers a network of boat-in campsites scattered along the shores of its many lakes and waterways. These campsites provide a secluded and primitive camping experience, allowing you to fully immerse yourself in the park’s natural beauty and tranquility.
Minnesota State Parks Camping Tips
Here are a few tips for camping in Minnesota state parks:
- Book your campsite in advance, especially if you’re camping during the peak season.
- Pack for the weather. Minnesota can be hot and humid in the summer and cold and snowy in the winter.
- Be prepared for mosquitoes and other insects.
- Leave no trace and pack out all of your trash.
Gear Up for Adventure in Minnesota’s State Parks
Minnesota’s state parks offer endless opportunities for outdoor fun. From hiking and fishing to swimming and wildlife viewing, there’s something for everyone. As you plan your next camping or day trip, be sure to come prepared with the right gear to make the most of your park adventures.
Hit the Trails in Minnesota State Parks
Hiking Boots: Prepare to immerse yourself in the pristine natural beauty of Minnesota State Parks with a comfortable pair of hiking boots. Whether you choose a classic men’s design or a supportive women’s variety, make sure they offer stability and traction for navigating diverse terrains. Don’t forget a spacious backpack to carry your essentials like water, snacks, and a camera for capturing breathtaking sights.
Cast a Line in Minnesota State Parks
Fishing: Cast your line beneath a peaceful sunrise with a top-notch fishing rod and reel combo. Minnesota’s waters teem with trout, bass, walleye, and many more. Buy a license from the MN Department of Natural Resources and organize your lures and bait in a handy tackle box. Keep your catch fresh in a reliable fishing cooler, and prioritize safety with a comfortable life jacket.
Make a Splash in Minnesota State Parks
Swimming: Make a splash in refreshing lakes and beaches across the state park landscape. Keep everyone safe with a reliable life jacket, both for adults and children. Choose a stylish men’s swimsuit or a comfortable and supportive women’s model to enjoy a day of aquatic fun.
Paddle Away in Minnesota State Parks
Canoeing & Kayaking: Embark on an unforgettable waterborne adventure with a sturdy canoe or a nimble kayak. Glide through serene lakes and meandering rivers, embracing the tranquility of nature. Many parks offer rentals, but if you bring your own, remember essentials like paddles and life jackets.
Roll Out on Two Wheels in Minnesota State Parks
Biking: Cruise through scenic park trails with the wind in your hair, whether on a rugged mountain bike or a versatile hybrid bike. Remember safety first with a comfortable helmet, and explore paved and unpaved paths while enjoying stunning landscapes.
Spot Birds and Wildlife in Minnesota State Parks
Birdwatching: Immerse yourself in the symphony of nature with a pair of high-quality binoculars. Spot majestic bald eagles, hauntingly beautiful loons, and elusive owls with ease. Enhance your experience with a comprehensive birdwatching field guide, allowing you to identify feathered friends with confidence.
Relax Around the Campfire in Minnesota State Parks
Campfire: Gather around a crackling campfire with friends and family, sharing stories and laughter under a shimmering night sky. Prepare a delicious feast on a handy campfire grill and savor the warmth of the flames. Relax on comfortable campfire chairs and create lasting memories under the breathtaking starlight.
Rangerled program in Minnesota State Parks
Many Minnesota state parks offer ranger-led programs on a variety of topics, such as nature hikes, campfire talks, and astronomy programs. Ranger-led programs are a great way to learn about the park and its natural features.
The state parks of Minnesota promise endless opportunities for adventure and fun. With the right gear from top outdoor brands, you’ll be ready to make the most of every moment. Browse our selection and gear up today!
Minnesota State Parks Camping with Kids
Camping with kids in Minnesota state parks can be a great way to create lasting memories. Here are a few tips for making your trip a success:
Choose a campground that is family-friendly
Some campgrounds offer amenities such as playgrounds, swimming pools, and nature programs that are perfect for kids. You may also want to consider a campground that is located near activities that your kids enjoy, such as hiking trails, lakes, or fishing spots.
Plan your activities in advance
This will help to ensure that you have enough activities to keep your kids entertained and that you don’t spend too much time trying to figure out what to do next. Some popular activities for kids to enjoy in Minnesota state parks include hiking, fishing, swimming, canoeing, kayaking, and biking. Ranger-led programs are also a great way to learn about the park and its natural features.
Bring plenty of snacks and drinks
Kids can get hungry and thirsty quickly, so it’s important to have plenty of snacks and drinks on hand. Be sure to pack a variety of healthy options, such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. You may also want to pack some treats to enjoy as a family.
Make sure your kids are dressed appropriately for the weather
Minnesota weather can be unpredictable, so it’s important to be prepared for all types of conditions. Be sure to pack layers of clothing, rain gear, and sunscreen.
Pack some games and activities to keep your kids entertained
Even with all of the fun activities that Minnesota state parks have to offer, there may be times when your kids need a little extra entertainment. Pack some games and activities that your kids enjoy, such as board games, card games, and coloring books.
Take breaks often
Camping with kids can be tiring, so it’s important to take breaks often. Be sure to schedule plenty of time for rest and relaxation. You may also want to consider taking a break from camping to visit a nearby town or city.
Teach your kids about camping safety
It’s important to teach your kids about camping safety before you go on your trip. This includes teaching them about fire safety, wildlife safety, and food safety.
Products that may be helpful for camping with kids in Minnesota state parks:
- Kids’ hiking shoes or boots: It’s important for kids to have comfortable and supportive footwear when hiking in Minnesota state parks. Consider purchasing a pair of kids’ hiking shoes or boots before your trip.
- Kids’ fishing gear: If your kids enjoy fishing, you may want to purchase them their own fishing gear. This could include a fishing rod, reel, line, and tackle box.
- Kids’ life jackets: If your kids will be swimming or boating in Minnesota state parks, it’s important to have them wear life jackets.
- Kids’ sunscreen: Sunscreen is essential for everyone, including kids. Be sure to pack sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher for your kids.
- Kids’ bug spray: Bug spray is another essential item for camping in Minnesota state parks. Be sure to pack bug spray that is safe for kids and that contains DEET.
- Kids’ camp chair: A kids’ camp chair can provide a comfortable place for your kids to relax and enjoy the outdoors.
- Kids’ sleeping bag: A kids’ sleeping bag will help your kids stay warm and comfortable at night.
- Kids’ headlamp: A kids’ headlamp is a great way for your kids to have light at night without having to hold a flashlight.
- Kids’ binoculars: Binoculars are a fun way for kids to explore the outdoors.
- Kids’ field guide: A kids’ field guide can help your kids learn about the different plants and animals that they see in Minnesota state parks.
- Kids’ camping games: There are many different camping games available for kids. Some popular games include scavenger hunts, flashlight tag, and hide-and-seek.
By following these tips and packing the right gear, you can help to ensure that your camping trip with kids in Minnesota state parks is a success.
Minnesota State Parks Camping Reservations
To make reservations for camping in Minnesota state parks, visit the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources website.
Minnesota State Parks Camping Fees
Camping fees in Minnesota state parks vary depending on the park and the type of campsite. You can find more information on the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources website.
Minnesota State Parks Camping Gear Checklist
Here is a checklist of essential camping gear:
A tent is essential for camping in Minnesota state parks. It provides shelter from the elements and a place to sleep. Be sure to choose a tent that is large enough to accommodate your group and that is rated for the weather conditions you expect to encounter.
Sleeping bag are essential for staying warm and comfortable at night while camping in Minnesota state parks. Be sure to choose sleeping bags that are appropriate for the weather conditions you expect to encounter.
Sleeping pads provide insulation and cushioning from the ground while camping in Minnesota state parks. Be sure to choose sleeping pads that are appropriate for your sleeping style and body type.
Camping chairs provide a comfortable place to relax and enjoy the outdoors while camping in Minnesota state parks. Be sure to choose camping chairs that are sturdy and durable.
A camping table provides a place to prepare food and eat meals while camping in Minnesota state parks. Be sure to choose a camping table that is foldable and lightweight so that it is easy to transport.
Camping supplies are essential for cooking meals while camping in Minnesota state parks. Be sure to pack a camping stove, cookware, utensils, and tableware.
Flashlight or headlamp
A flashlight or headlamp is essential for providing light at night while camping in Minnesota state parks. Be sure to pack a flashlight or headlamp with extra batteries.
Insect repellent is essential for protecting yourself from mosquitoes and other insects while camping in Minnesota state parks. Be sure to pack insect repellent with an SPF of 30 or higher.
Sunscreen is essential for protecting yourself from the sun while camping in Minnesota state parks. Be sure to pack sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher and reapply it frequently.
A first-aid kit is essential for treating minor injuries while camping in Minnesota state parks. Be sure to pack a first-aid kit that contains bandages, antiseptic wipes, pain relievers, and other essential supplies.
A Bear horn is an essential piece of camping gear for any trip to a National Park. Bear horns are used to scare away bears if you encounter one while camping.
Minnesota State Parks Camping Etiquette
Here are a few tips for camping etiquette in Minnesota state parks:
- Be respectful of other campers.
- Keep your campsite clean and tidy.
- Dispose of your trash properly.
- Be quiet during
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