Summer is the perfect time to get outside and enjoy the warm weather. One of the best ways to do that is by camping at one of Minnesota’s state parks. There are many different parks to choose from, each with its own unique features and attractions. So, if you’re looking for an outdoor adventure this summer, check out one of these best state parks for those epic Minnesota camping experiences.
We all know that camping is a fun activity for summer and one of the top things to do in Minnesota, but there are so many options out there that it’s hard to choose which one will suit your needs.
Camping is a great way to spend time with friends and family, but it can be hard to find the perfect spot. These parks offer a variety of different activities and attractions, so you’re sure to find one that’s perfect for you.
Table of contents: ()
- Best Minnesota State Parks for Camping
- How do I make a reservation for camping in Minnesota?
- What are the different types of campsites available in Minnesota state parks?
- Final Thoughts
Best Minnesota State Parks for Camping
Before we get into it, our personal favorites are the Boundary Waters Canoe and Wilderness area and Voyageurs National Park. Both are absolute staples for camping in Minnesota, and in particular, both of these provide those iconic northern Minnesota summer nights for camping.
However, since neither of those areas are technically state parks, we’re here to provide you with some true state parks in Minnesota.
1. Itasca State Park
Itasca State Park is one of Minnesota’s oldest and most popular state parks. This park offers something for everyone, with trails for hiking and biking, campsites for camping, and fishing and swimming opportunities. Itasca State Park is also home to the headwaters of the Mississippi River, making it a popular destination for visitors from all over the country.
With more than 100 miles of hiking trails and 32,000 acres of pristine forest land, Itasca State Park is a must-see for nature lovers.
Be sure to bring your fishing gear.
2. Lake Bemidji State Park
Lake Bemidji State Park is a haven for fishermen and boaters, with over 1,000 acres of water to explore. There are also plenty of hiking and biking trails if you want to get out and explore the forest. This park is located in Northern Minnesota, right on the shores of Lake Bemidji which makes it a great place to camp near the beach or in the woods.
The most popular trail is the 16 mile Lake Bemidji Loop which is a moderately trafficked trail offering a good blend of wildlife spotting and views of the lake. If you are looking for something a bit more natural with more wildlife, make sure you go on the bog walk to spot a variety of birds and beavers.
If you’re coming from the Twin Cities, the easiest way to get to the park is to take Highway 10 past Forest Lake to then proceed on Highway 64 north to Bemidji.
3. Whitewater State Park
Whitewater State Park is a 277-acre recreational area located about 30 miles south of Rochester, Minnesota. The park is home to Trout Run Creek, where visitors can enjoy fishing, as well as the Whitewater River, which offers swimming and other water activities. There are numerous limestone trailheads scattered throughout the park, providing hikers with plenty of scenic views to enjoy.
Camping is popular at Whitewater State Park, with 4 camping spots and plenty of parking spaces available for the RVers out there as well. You won’t get as many mosquitos here during those summer nights as you will in Northern Minnesota which makes it a great alternative to going up north.
4. Jay Cooke State Park
Jay Cooke State Park is a beautiful park located in northwestern Minnesota near the town of Carlton and is a frequent stopover spot for weekend visitors of Duluth. The state park is an easy pull-off along Highway 35 on your way north to Duluth from the Twin Cities.
This state park is unique in that it offers a beautiful suspension bridge, a historic cemetery, and the St. Louis River which flows through the park and makes for great fishing, kayaking, and canoeing.
The park has 188 campsites, 88 of which have electrical hookups, and can accommodate RVs up to 50 feet long. The campsites are nicely spaced out in the woods and many have a view of the river
High Landing Camp is one of the most popular spots to camp in the park. It is located on a bluff overlooking the river and has a nice view of the surrounding area.
If you are looking for a state park to explore that offers great scenery, history, and plenty of outdoor activities, Jay Cooke State Park is a great option.
5. Tettegouche State Park
Tettegouche State Park is one of the most beautiful state parks in Minnesota. It is located on the North Shore and offers stunning views of Lake Superior. The park has over 20 miles of hiking trails, which are perfect for nature lovers. There are also plenty of opportunities for camping, canoeing, and fishing.
One of the most popular attractions at Tettegouche State Park is the 60-foot tall High Falls. This waterfall is located on the Baptism River, which flows into Lake Superior. Visitors can access the falls by following the river from the park’s main entrance. The hike is about 1.5 miles and takes about 45 minutes to complete.
There are several campgrounds at Tettegouche State Park, which offer a variety of camping options. The park’s campgrounds include both RV and tent sites, as well as group campsites.
There is a completely free electric vehicle charging station at the visitors center for those that want to keep their car connected to the grid while they camp for a night or two.
6. Gooseberry Falls State Park
Gooseberry Falls State Park is a must-see for waterfall lovers, with over 15 waterfalls to explore. There are also plenty of trails for hikers and cyclists. The park is located in the northeast corner of Minnesota, in the town of Two Harbors roughly 45 minutes north of Duluth.
The park’s waterfalls can be found on both the east and west sides of the park. There are a variety of trails for hikers of all levels, as well as a campground, picnic areas, and a visitor center.
This is the busiest state park in Minnesota so come prepared or even consider camping in off-peak times. Summer is when it gets very crowded. It’s busy for a reason. It’s extremely beautiful. So, book a reservation for camping well in advance.
To get to this state park, you’ll also have the opportunity to drive along the North Shore Scenic Byway which features beautiful views of Lake Superior.
7. 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.
8. Glacial Lakes State Park
Glacial Lakes State Park is a beautiful park located in the heart of the glacial lakes area. This park is perfect for those who love nature and want to get away from it all. The park offers plenty of hiking and biking trails, as well as opportunities for fishing, swimming, and camping.
Glacial Lakes State Park is home to the Glacial Lakes Trail, a 62-mile long trail that winds through some of the most beautiful areas of the park.
If you’re looking for a more rustic camping experience, there are plenty of primitive campsites scattered throughout the park. These sites offer few amenities, but they do provide a great way to get back to nature. If you’re looking for a little more comfort, there are also several cabins available for rent. These cabins come with all the amenities you need, including bathrooms and kitchens.
9. Banning State Park
Banning State Park is a captivating historic site located in Southern Minnesota. The park was once home to a flourishing sandstone quarry and is now known for its educational opportunities and stunning scenery.
Visitors to the park can paddle in the rapids, climb the sandstone cliffs, and hike on the sprawling trails. There are popular hiking routes that commence on the Quarry Loop Trail, where hikers can walk along with interpretative signs and sandstone quarry ruins close to rugged river banks.
Banning State Park offers a variety of camping options for visitors, from primitive backcountry camping to modern campsites with electrical hookups. There are also four group campgrounds that can accommodate up to 150 people each. If you’re looking for a more secluded camping experience, the park has over 20 miles of backcountry trails to explore.
10. Sibley State Park
Sibley State Park is a large park located in west-central Minnesota just north of Willmar, Minnesota. This park is perfect for visitors who want to enjoy both nature and recreational activities. Sibley State Park offers miles of trails for hiking, biking, and cross-country skiing, as well as opportunities for camping, fishing, and swimming. The park is also home to a number of beautiful lakes, making it a popular destination for those who love to fish.
Sibley State Park is a great spot for kids given the number of playgrounds, basketball courts, and softball fields around the park. There are also plenty of campsites to choose from, including modern campsites with electrical hookups and primitive campsites
Lakeview Campground and Games Lake County Park are the most well-known camping areas at this state park.
If you are visiting from the Twin Cities, it’s incredibly easy to get to this state park. Just take Highway 94 towards St. Cloud and exit on Highway 23 heading west. You’ll be there in just under 2 hours of driving time.
How do I make a reservation for camping in Minnesota?
To make a reservation for camping in a Minnesota state park, you can visit the state park reservation website or call 1-888-MINNDNR (646-6367).
You will need to know the name of the park, the type of campsite you want, and the dates you want to camp. You can also reserve group camping areas, yurts, and cabins.
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 park’s 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.
Summer is the perfect time to get outdoors and enjoy all that nature has to offer. And what better way to do that than by camping at one of Minnesota’s beautiful state parks? There are plenty of parks to choose from, so we’ve narrowed it down to the best for summer camping. So, pack your gear and find the perfect park for you.
What do you think? Are there any parks that we missed? Let us know in the comments below. Have a great summer adventure!