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Minnesota State Parks Guide  

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Most family vacation destinations in Minnesota include beautiful family vacation resorts, cabins, and dozens of state parks and many other top family vacations spots.

Minnesota State Parks Guide to Outdoor Recreation in Our 78 MN State Parks and recreation areas.  We offer our own Minnesota State Parks ebook for you to take along on your travels.

Minnesota State Parks

There are 78 Minnesota State Parks
and Recreation Areas

Minnesota state parks

One of our first purchases every spring is a State Parks sticker for our windshield.

There is no better bargain for fun and adventure in the great Minnesota outdoors.

We raised five children and, even when they were babies, we took them camping.

Though we do have some family favorites, we have enjoyed state parks from north to south in Minnesota.

This photo of our youngest son and his best friend is a reminder of the joy we find in these lovely places.

Minnesota State Parks: How to Get There, What to Do, Where to Do It

Guide to All Minnesota State Parks

Afton State Park

Banning State Park

Bear Head Lake State Park

Beaver Creek Valley State Park

Big Bog State Park

Big Stone Lake State Park

Blue Mounds State Park

Buffalo River State Park

Camden State Park

Carley State Park

Cascade River State Park

Charles A. Lindbergh State Park

Crow Wing State Park

Cuyuna Country State Park

Father Hennepin State Park

Flandrau State Park

Forestville/Mystery Cave State Park

Fort Ridgely State Park

Fort Snelling State Park

Franz Jevne State Park

Frontenac State Park

George Crosby Manitou State Park

Glacial Lakes State Park

Glendalough State Park

Gooseberry Falls State Park

Grand Portage State Park

Great River Bluffs State Park

Hayes Lake State Park

Hill Annex Mine State Park

Interstate State Park

Itasca State Park

Jay Cooke State Park

John A Latsch State Park

Judge C R Magney State Park

Kilen Woods State Park

Lac qui Parle State Park

Lake Bemidji State Park

Lake Bronson State Park

Lake Carlos State Park

Lake Louise State Park

Lake Maria State Park

Lake Shetek State Park

Lake Vermilion State Park

La Salle Lake State Park

Maplewood State Park

McCarthy Beach State Park

Mille Lacs Kathio State Park

Minneopa State Park

Minnesota Valley State Park

Monson Lake State Park

Moose Lake State Park

Myre Big Island State Park

Nerstrand-Big Woods State Park

Old Mill State Park

Red River State Park

Rice Lake State Park

Saint Croix State Park

Sakatah Lake State Park

Savanna Portage State Park

Scenic State Park

Schoolcraft State Park

Sibley State Park

Soudan Underground Mine State Park

Split Rock Creek State Park

Split Rock Lighthouse State Park

Temperance River State Park

Tettegouche State Park

Upper Sioux Agency State Park

Whitewater State Park

Wild River State Park

William O'Brien State Park

Zippel Bay State Park

Minnesota Souvenirs

We Wrote the Book
on Minnesota State Parks!

We recently published our E-book on Amazon for Kindle: Minnesota State Parks: From Afton to Zippel Bay

More Outdoor Recreation Areas

There are hundreds more areas set aside in Minnesota for outdoor recreation and wildlife viewing. Here are guides to three of them.

1 National Park - Voyageurs National Park

2 National Forests - Minnesota National Forests

2 State Wildlife Areas - Minnesota Wildlife

Minnesota Vacation Rentals are located in all regions of the state. Reserve your "home away from home" then visit several state parks in your favorite vacation destination.

Some of Our Favorite State Parks

Minnesota State Parks

The state park campgrounds along the north shore of Lake Superior offer spectacular scenery. Gooseberry Falls State Park and the iconic Split Rock Lighthouse State Park draw thousands of visitors each year.

Grand Portage State Park is on the Minnesota/Canada border. If offers the easiest hike to the most spectacular view anywhere in the state.

Some of the most memorable times we have had with family and friends have been camping, hiking and exploring our state parks. We camped many times in Temperance River State Park and Tettegouche State Park. We love to score a tent spot as close to the shore as possible. We climb all over the rocky shoreline during the day, fish in the rivers that spill into the lake, make a bonfire on the beach at dusk and fall asleep in our tent to the sound of the waves. Heaven!

It is legal to forage for Morel mushrooms and wild berries in all of Minnesota's State Parks.

Minnesota's State Parks are a glorious place to visit in our autumn paradise. The autumn scenery doesn't get any better than this.

Minnesota State Parks Family Trip

I love this photo that our son took of my husband and me, in our RV, following him and his family home in their RV from a recent state park getaway.

Our favorite, "farthest north" state park is Zippel Bay State Park on the shore of Lake of the Woods. The campground is never crowded and offers a fishing pier where we can catch walleyes to cook over our campfire.

The oldest, and most well known of our State Parks is Itasca State Park. Our family has close connections to this beautiful area and we continue to make new memories here every year.

This park is also one of the few places left to see stands of old growth forest represented by our magnificent Minnesota State Tree.

Tenting is not for everyone. Minnesota RV campgrounds offer an alternative way to enjoy the state parks of Minnesota in the comfort of your "home on wheels."

Winter in Minnesota State Parks

Minnesota State Parks Winter

Minnesota State Parks are perfect winter recreation destinations.

You will find groomed cross-country and snowshoeing trails. Snow sledding hills can be found in most state parks as well. Check the links above to each state park and you will find those that offer warming houses and more.

Many state parks have snowmobiling trails as well.

Hiking and exploring state parks in winter offers a completely different experience...one you will love!

Geocache in Minnesota State Parks

You can visit parks in all seven unique regions of Minnesota.

Enroll Your Kids in the Minnesota State Parks I Can Programs

Minnesota State Parks Campsite Reservations

4/30/16 - From the DNR: The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) announced Friday the rollout dates next week for the new campsite reservation system that will free up sites otherwise held back for those campers arriving without reservations.

About one-third of campsites at state parks were held back on a first-come, first-served basis. Beginning Tuesday, those sites become reservable.

Beginning at 8 a.m. Tuesday, the state will make the additional campsites available systemwide in three phases: Tuesday (southern Minnesota and metro-area parks); Wednesday (central, northwest), and Thursday (northeast).

The state has been testing the all-reservable system at 17 of the 75 state parks, and the DNR said the public response was positive.

A map detailing the location of the parks by region is online at mndnr.gov/selfservice.

To make campsite reservations, go online to mndnr.gov/reservations or call 1-866-857-2757.

Minnesota State Parks LaSalle

When our five children were young, we camped with a large, family-size tent. For a while we had a pop-up camper that we pulled all over the state...and sometimes to other states.

With the kids grown and gone, we now have an RV that gives us a few comforts yet still gets us out into our beloved state parks.

This photo was taken at LaSalle State Park and Recreation Area on a memorable camping trip with our son, daughter-in-law and grandchildren.

The 78 parks and recreation areas that make up our state park system each have their own unique character and beauty given their location. The challenge, even to life-long residents, is to explore as many of our beautiful parks as possible. So many parks; so little time! The other difficult decision is whether to visit a park that is new to us or to revisit a place that already holds wonderful memories.

There are several very helpful guidebooks to Minnesota State Parks available on Amazon.com. We have recently published our own guidebook that is now available for Kindle: Minnesota State Parks: From Afton to Zippel Bay

The Showy Ladyslipper

Minnesota State Parks

The Minnesota State Flower can be found in several Minnesota State Parks. It is illegal to pick or replant the state flower.

Visit our State Parks and Discover:

  • Old growth forests of ancient pine and oak
  • Pristine lakes
  • Cold, clear waterfalls crashing into Lake Superior
  • Tall grass prairies
  • Mississippi bluff country
  • The "big woods" of southeastern Minnesota

Camping and other Minnesota outdoor adventures and activities also abound in:

Minnesota State Parks Books and Gear

What do you need to add to your Camping Equipment?

Related Pages:

Minnesota Camping

Camping List

Campgrounds in Minnesota

Minnesota Campgrounds

Minnesota RV Campgrounds

Minnesota Campground Directory

Help Keep Minnesota Green

Minnesota State Parks Reviews

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Minnesota State Parks: From Afton to Zippel Bay