Best Camping In Minnesota State Parks in 2020. #1 of 3 Nature & Parks in Coon Rapids. For those a little uncomfortable with tight spaces, self-guided surface audio tours are available as well. Other inspiring vistas at the park include Eagle Point and Signal Point. With plenty of designated spaces to pitch a tent at Tettegouche, you can take as many days as you like exploring all there is to see. It’s no surprise then that Minnesota is a popular family vacation spot. BESTSELLER NO. You won't find as many mosquitos at Whitewater as some of the more northern state parks, and this is one of the reasons it's a popular place to visit. Official site: http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/state_parks/whitewater/index.html, View of the Mississippi River from the Great River Bluffs State Park. The half-mile trail that leads to Minneopa Falls is evenly graded and easily accessible, allowing every member of the family to enjoy the view of this stunning double waterfall. Address: 780 Minnesota 210, Carlton, Minnesota, Official site: http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/state_parks/jay_cooke/index.html, The inviting waters of the Whitewater River define Whitewater State Park | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane. This story is part of our “ See America, One State Park at a Time ” series. Many visitors opt for the city of International Falls to be their launching point, and once they've hitched a ride into the depths of this unique national park, the adventure continues day and night. There are 75 Minnesota state parks and recreation areas ready for you to explore. 5 Tettegouche State Park Lava flows, like Palisade Head, rise 300 feet above Lake Superior, and a 60-foot waterfall rewards hikers along the Baptism River. These big views and access to the rest of the North Shore make Split Rock Lighthouse State Park one of the best campgrounds in Minnesota. Best Minnesota State Parks for Adventure Sports White water raft past billion-year-old rock formations, or snowmobile at high speeds across the countryside. Between the bluff-lined hiking trails and churning waters of the Whitewater River, what really ties everything together at Whitewater State Park are its spacious and scenic campsites. But the environment surrounding this park has been evolving for much longer. This Midwestern state borders Canada and Lake Superior and is a hotspot for water activities, especially fishing. Established in 1891, Minnesota is home to the nation's second-oldest state park system in the nation. From Devil’s Lake State Park in Wisconsin to Grand Portage State Park in Minnesota, hikers, campers, and outdoor adventurers will want to add these 12 best state parks in the Midwest to their list. This is a list of Minnesota state parks.There are 67 state parks, nine state recreation areas, nine state waysides, and 23 state trails in the Minnesota state park system, totaling approximately 267,000 acres (1,080 km 2). Set against the backdrop of a southern boreal forest, popular activities at Voyageurs include canoeing and fishing the many waterways, visiting historic sites like the Ellsworth Rock Gardens, and exploring the many trails and ecosystems found throughout the park. With a few extra days to explore the many shorelines, inlets, and smaller lakes of Voyageurs, you'll also better your chances of catching one of the most brilliant starscapes you'll ever witness, including the full spectrum of the aurora borealis. The great heritage of Minnesota’s state park system begins at the source of America’s greatest river. Mille Lacs Kathio State Park is a historic Minnesota park situated near the heart of the state and is best known for containing many ancient Native American sites. 6 Gooseberry Falls State Park The North Shore's most popular park (and one of the most-visited parks in Minnesota) has 20 miles of hiking trails along the Gooseberry River and through the surrounding forest. Camping at Soudan Underground Mine State Park consists of 33 electric sites at the Vermilion Ridge Campground. But what really sticks out are the Sioux quartzite rock outcroppings that punctuate the space. Adventure sport fans will find plenty of fun in these Minnesota State Parks: 1. Covering 1330-acres of forested land, the state park lies within the Saint Croix National Scenic Riverway and the Ice Age National Scientific Reserve in the city of Saint Croix Falls, WI , and includes the scenic Dalles of St. Croix River. Discover destinations, find outdoor adventures, follow the journeys of our travel writers around the world, and be inspired. 8 Glendalough State Park Once a private retreat that hosted guests including former presidents, the park in west-central Minnesota centers around Annie Battle Lake, where no motors or electronics disturb fishing, kayaking, canoeing and swimming. Surrounded by old-growth forest and with the recent addition of Lake Vermillion, Soudan Underground Mine State Park also provides plenty of recreation above ground. Photo: Beth Mancuso. Address: 36750 Main Park Drive, Park Rapids, Minnesota, Official site: http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/state_parks/itasca/index.html. Midwest Living November/December 2020 Recipes, 50 Quick and Easy Holiday Decorating Ideas. The Twin Cities of Minnesota, comprised of Minneapolis and St. Paul, are the cultural centers of the state. Fort Snelling State Park offers extensive trails that are great for biking or hiking. © Copyright 2020 PlanetWare Inc. All rights reserved. Agate Beach, where the river meets Lake Superior, is a fun place to agate-hunt. A popular excursion at Tettegouche involves hiking up to where the Baptism River falls into Lake Superior, creating the impressive 60-foot High Falls. Throughout the year and with every season, the designated natural spaces of Minnesota offer unique opportunities to explore, as well as different perspectives of the people that came before us. Tettegouche State Park also has designated sections for rock climbing, a rare attraction in the Minnesota State Park system. The King's Bluff Nature Trail also includes a self-guided tour that sheds some insight on the surrounding prairie and woodland landscapes. Explore the most popular state parks in Minnesota with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you. The hike to Wolf Creek Falls is my favorite; the waterfall is beautiful any time of year. Overlooking the wide banks of the Mississippi River, Great River Bluffs State Park is scenic at almost any time of the year. The hilly terrain is home to bears, wolves, and other wildlife. Make sure you hike to the Upper and Middle Falls. Much of the park is created by the confluence of four major lakes on the Canadian/US border. Minnesota is known as the land of 10,000 lakes, and that name is no joke – it really does contain over 10,000 lakes! A Minnesota-based photographer shares some of her go-to spots for hiking, camping, fishing and canoeing in a state with a wealth of parkland. this link is to an external site that may or may not meet accessibility guidelines. A wide array of camping is available at Blue Mounds State Park, including walk-in sites for tent camping and drive-in sites able to accommodate RVs up to 50 feet in length. All Rights Reserved. List Of Minnesota State Parks.There are 68 state parks, seven state recreation areas, eight state waysides, and 22 state trails in the Minnesota state park system, totaling approximately 267,000 acres (1,080 km2).A Minnesota state park is an area of land in the U.S. state of Minnesota preserved by the state for its natural, historic, or other resources. Crosby Farm Park Just across the river in St. Paul, this park has some of the prettiest walking trails in town, which lead right up to the river. Minnesota’s most popular state parks have a lot to offer in terms of accessibility, facilities and scenic beauty. After checking out the falls, you can't leave without taking a quick trip along Bison Drive, where you might see the resident bison herd that roams over 300 acres of the park. You can reach the visitor centers for Voyageurs by car, but the Kabetogama Peninsula and heart of the park is only accessible by boat, plane, or crossing the frozen lake in the winter. See our best campgrounds in Minnesota article for details. Photo: Beth Mancuso, Glendalough State Park. Named after its key feature, Split Rock proudly displays its historic lighthouse atop a rocky bluff for all visitors to enjoy. Best Minnesota State Parks For Camping. If you have a little extra time on your hands, the more remote Middle Falls is a five-mile round trip and provides more stunning waterfalls to view, plus a glimpse at the shimmering waters of nearby Lake Superior. The preservation of parks within our state and country is … 2 Blue Mounds State Park In summer, the prairie comes alive at Blue Mounds with prickly pear cactus, wildflowers, birds, bison and fireflies. Cascade River State Park is a scenic Minnesota park that has a series of waterfalls, Lake Superior shoreline, picnic sites, and trails for hiking and cross-country skiing. Minneopa State Park has some of the most unique natural sights to see in all of Minnesota. Here are the top 10, as ranked by overnight visitors in 2015. Another reason is the stunning scenery, including the prominent Chimney Rock that avid hikers can scale for a bird's-eye view of the bountiful landscape. The pebble beach shoreline is a great place to admire the lighthouse, and thanks to the adjacent History Center, you can even explore the historic structure from within. Address: 43605 Kipp Drive, Winona, Minnesota, Official site: http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/state_parks/great_river_bluffs/index.html, Cliffs along Lake Superior in Tettegouche State Park. The Sioux quartzite cliff provides fun hiking and incredible views at the southwest corner of Minnesota. Interstate State Park is currently the oldest state park in Wisconsin is one of the most loved state parks and is a perfect escape for a motorhome camping trip. Popular hiking routes begin with the Quarry Loop Trail, which takes hikers past interpretive signs and sandstone quarry ruins adjacent to the rugged banks of the Kettle River. Located at what was once Minnesota's first iron mine, Soudan Underground Mine State Park goes deep into northern Minnesota history, giving visitors a look into a world located a half-mile beneath their feet. If you have time, venture out of the main section to Big Creek Falls (also part of the park) in Sandstone, 90 miles north of the Twin Cities. The state of Minnesota is home to 67 state parks, in addition to six parks, monuments, and recreation areas that are part of the National Parks Service. Top Mankato State Parks: See reviews and photos of state parks in Mankato, Minnesota on Tripadvisor. To get the most out of the park's hard to reach location, it's recommended to spend a few nights at one of the 270 campsites available, which are only available with boat travel. Lake Shetek state parks needs to be on your Minnesota Bucket List. 3 Glacial Lakes State Park The rolling hills and crystal-clear, spring-fed water of Signalless Lake in the west-central region of the state make this one of my favorite spots for family camping and swimming. Photo: Beth Mancuso, Grand Portage State Park. 1. Check Price on Amazon.com. Split Rock Lighthouse State Park | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane. A few of the popular activities to do outside the mine include hiking to the unique banded iron formation, completing a challenging multi-stage geocache, and enjoying the water and shoreline of Lake Vermillion. Address: 54497 Gadwall Rd, Mankato, Minnesota, Official site: http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/state_parks/minneopa/index.html. More Outdoor Experiences in Minnesota: To extend your Minnesota adventure, you'll find all kinds of great hiking trails throughout the state, as well as mountain bike trails to get you moving a little faster. Here are nine of my favorites. Come autumn, however, the many blending colors of fall paint a stunning picture throughout the river valley. Nearly every direction you turn in Tettegouche State Park, you'll come across an image worthy of a postcard. Create bountiful outdoor winter arrangements with a little help from Mother Nature. Photos: Beth Mancuso, Glacial Lakes State Park. If you get the chance, reserve one of the park's tipi sites. At 1 million acres in size and over twenty percent … Several private and public campgrounds on the inland shores of Voyageurs cater to car camping. With all the outdoor activities available, you might want to find a place to pitch a tent. Best state parks (65) #1 - Gooseberry Falls State Park As Minnesota's oldest state park, Itasca has been exposing state residents and visitors to a stunning landscape for more than a century. Minnesota’s first state park is 32,690 acres and sees over half a million visitors per year. Read more about Beth Mancuso on her website or follow her on Instagram @intothewild.wego. The biggest draw of the Soudan Underground Mine is the mine tours, which are offered daily from Memorial Day to September and include guided exploration of the deepest area of the mine that was created in 1962. From here, a recommended attraction is Wolf Creek Falls, which provides the perfect spot for lunch or a photo, if not simply just a place to enjoy the natural beauty of a moving landscape. For a little more luxury, the Tettegouche Camp Cabins provide rustic accommodation that will satisfy all the campers in your party. Address: 1302 McKinley Park Road, Soudan, Minnesota, Official site: http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/state_parks/lake_vermilion_soudan/index.html. This rushing waterfall makes Grand Portage a popular day trip when exploring the North Shore. We’ve rounded up the best parks that have some of the best campgrounds in Minnesota across the state. We’ve talked about some amazing drives, and while there’s foliage to be found all across Minnesota, these 10 photos of state parks in the fall will definitely get you ready for the season! Camping is also popular at Whitewater State Park, with hundreds of drive-in sites and four camper cabins. During the mid-1800s, the state park was a sought-after logging spot. Enjoy the rich taste of pumpkin in pies, cakes, soups, cupcakes, bar cookies, cheesecakes and more. With pebble beaches, jutting cliffsides, and more than 20 miles of hiking trails to explore, this state park is a hot spot for exploring the outdoors in Minnesota. Leading to backcountry campsites and more views of the St. Louis River, and connecting with the North Country National Scenic Trail, the hiking trails here are some of the best in Minnesota. Located roughly an hour south of Duluth, along the state-designated Wild and Scenic Kettle River, Banning State Park allows visitors to paddle in the rapids, rock climb the sandstone cliffs, and hike the sprawling trails all in a day's visit. Roaming America: Exploring All the National Parks. Named after the French-Canadian fur traders that once frequented the area, Voyageurs... 2. The trees cut down here would … Serving as a tributary for Lake Superior, which lies only 20 miles to the north, the St. Louis River exposes the bedrock and defines much of the rugged environment found within the state park. Voyageurs National Park. I camp with my family at several state parks each year and love to hike and explore. As well as admiring the lighthouse, visitors can also enjoy hiking on the Superior Hiking Trail, which provides backpackers and hikers the ability to experience the entire North Shore by foot. The pros know the headwaters of the Mississippi at Itasca State Park are prettier after a fresh snow. June 2, 2011 at 2:34 pm. Agate Beach, where the river meets Lake Superior, is a fun place to agate-hunt. Fishing is a fun activity for all ages. The 3.5-mile looped Silver Creek Trail is a standard when visiting, and the trail crosses the Swinging Bridge at the parking lot to further expose big views of the St. Louis River and Silver Creek. Top Saint Paul State Parks: See reviews and photos of state parks in Saint Paul, Minnesota on Tripadvisor. Frozen waterfalls, snow-covered trees, and fresh trails emerge in winter. Visiting Minnesota: For more fun things to do in the Land of 10,000 Lakes, our write-up on the top attractions in Minnesota will point you in the right direction. Named after the French-Canadian fur traders that once frequented the area, Voyageurs National Park consists of rugged terrain mostly defined by water. Named after the French-Canadian fur traders that once frequented the area, Voyageurs... 2. Address: 5702 MN-61, Silver Bay, Minnesota, Official site: http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/state_parks/tettegouche/index.html. Midwest Living is part of the Meredith Home Group. More scenic viewpoints are scattered across other half-dome bluffs and sheer rock cliffs that define the park. Whether you want to catch a record-breaking walleye or are simply in need of a relaxing day on the pier, Minnesota state parks has the perfect fishing spot for you. Best 10 Campsites In Mn State Parks tested by reviewers. Hikers who bring their binoculars have the best chance to glimpse the active avian wildlife that shares the area, including red-tailed hawks and 100 other species of birds. Fort Snelling State Park The swimming beach, river walks, and tons of wildlife at the confluence of the Minnesota and Mississippi rivers make this one of the best truly urban parks in the country. Visitors to Itasca can climb to the top of a spiraling fire tower, take a scenic wilderness drive, or stay at the historic Douglas Lodge. It's important to stay in your car along Bison Drive, and if you're lucky, you might catch a glimpse of these big animals alongside the cascading Minneopa Falls. The harbor village of Grand Marais, 40 miles south on the shoreline, is a popular jumping-off spot to visit Grand Portage State Park. 1 in 2020. Parks of the Southern region in Minnesota. Popular things to do here include casting a line in Trout Run Creek, swimming from the sandy beaches of the Whitewater River, or exploring the many limestone bluff hiking trails found sprawling throughout the park. Nestled between the Minnesota and Mississippi rivers is the state’s most popular state park. 12 Top-Rated National & State Parks in Minnesota 1. Biking and hiking trails wind along lakes, woods and prairies, while cart-in tents, yurts and camper cabins offer a peaceful camping experience. The North Shore of Lake Superior is one of the most scenic destinations in Minnesota, and the open water beauty of this environment is only enhanced when visiting Split Rock Lighthouse State Park. “ very scenic place to hike, walk , or picnic with family , friends,nice ambiance -relaxing-can take nice pictures here , watch people ,fish or … Home to the headwaters of the Mississippi River, Itasca State Park provides many outlets for adventure and a worthwhile glimpse of why Minnesota is known as the land of 10,000 lakes. Avoid stores this holiday season – give a Minnesota state parks gift card! Blue Mounds State Park is home to one of Minnesota's largest prairie remnants. Right from the parking lot, visitors to Jay Cooke State Park are treated to great views of one of the park's most dramatic features, the St. Louis River. While the state parks are great in the summer, they offer entirely different experiences in the colder months. Best State Parks in Minnesota: Mille Lacs Kathio State Park © johnsroad7/stock.adobe.com Kathio Site, also known as Mille Lacs Kathio State Park, is an amazing outdoor space that is recognized as a U.S. National Historic Landmark District and is listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places. That's because this North Shore natural space embodies everything the Superior shoreline has to offer. View the falls from three different platforms. 1 Banning State Park Seventeen miles of hiking trails wind along the Kettle River, by sandstone rock formations and to the ruins of Banning Sandstone Quarry. On the banks of the Whitewater River in southern Minnesota, the 27,000-acre Whitewater State Park provides many outdoor adventure opportunities just 25 miles east of Rochester. Take time to visit the Old Crow Wing Town Site, where signs tell about the history of this 19th century frontier town near present-day Brainerd. Read on to find the best camping in the great state of Minnesota! 7 Grand Portage State Park An easy one-mile round-trip trail leads to Minnesota's highest waterfall, the 120-foot-tall High Falls of the Pigeon River on the U.S.-Canada border. Grand Portage State Park is designated as day-use only, and upon your visit, it's almost required to travel the half-mile, wheelchair-accessible boardwalk that leads to the viewing platform for the stunning 120-foot High Falls created by the Pigeon River. The state park features drive-in sites, electric sites, and a few canoe sites available on a first-come, first-served basis. Discover the best places to visit with our list of the top national and state parks in Minnesota. Far and away, the largest and best-known area for camping in Minnesota is the BWCA, located in the Arrowhead region of the state. Split Rock Lighthouse State Park Editor's Choice. Home to the highest waterfall in the state of Minnesota, Grand Portage State Park sits on the US/Canadian border and is the only Minnesota state park not owned by the state itself. The park offers more than six miles of trails to explore, and perhaps the best views come from the King's Bluff Nature Trail. Creamy cheesecakes, decadent pies, moist cakes and mouthwatering cookies are among our best holiday dessert recipes. Covering more than 200,000 acres spanning every corner of the state, state parks welcome visitors to explore the full diversity of Minnesota's natural environment in a majestic and historic setting. 51 reviews. The Fall Foliage At These 10 State Parks In Minnesota Is Stunningly Beautiful. Photo: Beth Mancuso, Tettegouche State Park. Once home to a thriving 19th-century sandstone quarry, Banning State Park is now a fascinating historical space that offers educational opportunities alongside stunning scenery. There are many factors that make Whitewater State Park one of the best state parks in Minnesota. 10. These days, Blue Mounds State Park is popular with hikers exploring the 15 miles of trails. 4 Crow Wing State Park I like Crow Wing's roomy and private campsites; it's also a great place to canoe, with a choice of getting out on the Crow Wing or Mississippi rivers. Itasca State Park, home to the headwaters of the Mississippi River, was established in 1891, launching what is now the second-oldest state park system in the nation. It is quite the sight to see the churning waters of the St. Louis River continue to make their mark on the landscape, and with more than 50 miles of hiking trails throughout the park, you'll find many outlets to explore Jay Cooke beyond the parking lot. Photo: Beth Mancuso, Interstate State Park, view from Wisconsin. Our favorite Midwest resort destinations range from cozy lakeside lodges to indoor water park behemoths. Rock climbers also frequent the park to ascend the various quartzite cliffs, and a small herd of reintroduced American bison also call the park home. 8 Minnesota State Parks to Explore This Winter. Boundary Waters Canoe Area, Superior National Forest. Voyageurs National Park. In the southern portion of the state, Minneopa State Park may be one of the smaller state parks of Minnesota, but with a two-tiered waterfall and a reintroduced American bison herd, it is well worth an afternoon of exploring. Coon Rapids. Give your home holiday style in a flash with these simple yet creative decorating projects. 5 Amazing State Parks Near Minneapolis That Will Blow You Away. Trails connect to the North Shore State Trail and the Superior Hiking Trails for an even bigger adventure. Split Rock Lighthouse State Park Editor's Choice. Glendalough Lodge, built in 1905, contains exhibits on the park's history. If you are looking to spend the night, a few of the cart-in sights offer excellent views of the lighthouse in the distance. Check out our top pick. Top off your Thanksgiving feast with our recipes for pumpkin pie, apple crisp, pecan bar cookies, praline layer cake and other holiday favorites. What’s more, this time of year also presents a number of fresh and interesting ways to explore the parks. The North Shore of Lake Superior is one of the most scenic... 3. Whitewater State Park If your idea of adventure is fishing, Whitewater is the Minnesotan destination for you. 12 Top-Rated National & State Parks in Minnesota 1. Address: 61101 Banning Park Road, Sandstone, Minnesota, Official site: http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/state_parks/banning/index.html, A boat dock basking in dusk at Itasca State Park | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane. Featuring Miller-Richter State Wildlife Management Area, Minnesota Slough State Wildlife Management Area, Minnie-Man State Wildlife Management Area, Madelia State Wildlife Management Area, Madsen State Wildlife Management Area, Mallard Hole State Wildlife Management Area Jay Cooke … Photo: Beth Mancuso, Crow Wing State Park. About 49 miles of trails thread throughout Itasca, exposing hikers to a variety of environments, and the Jacob V. Brower Visitors Center provides educational and cultural opportunities. 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