best mn state parks

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. 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. Split Rock Lighthouse State Park | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane. Whether you are coming from Rochester, the Twin Cities, or up near Duluth and the North Shore, you can enjoy experiences like climbing a fire tower, hiking to a waterfall, or coming across a herd of buffalo. Midwest Living November/December 2020 Recipes, 50 Quick and Easy Holiday Decorating Ideas. Come autumn, however, the many blending colors of fall paint a stunning picture throughout the river valley. Explore both parks to learn about the geology of the area as well as to hike to bluff views. Here are the top 10, as ranked by overnight visitors in 2015. This rushing waterfall makes Grand Portage a popular day trip when exploring the North Shore. Best Tent Camping: Minnesota: Your Car-Camping Guide to Scenic Beauty, the Sounds of Nature, and an Escape from Civilization. With all the outdoor activities available, you might want to find a place to pitch a tent. Address: 43605 Kipp Drive, Winona, Minnesota, Official site:, Cliffs along Lake Superior in Tettegouche State Park. But the environment surrounding this park has been evolving for much longer. See our best campgrounds in Minnesota article for details. 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. Minneopa State Park has some of the most unique natural sights to see in all of Minnesota. It’s no surprise then that Minnesota is a popular family vacation spot. The North Shore of Lake Superior … 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. © Copyright 2020 PlanetWare Inc. All rights reserved. Dive in to check out our top picks for a fabulous Midwest getaway. 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. Give your home holiday style in a flash with these simple yet creative decorating projects. 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 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. Enjoy the rich taste of pumpkin in pies, cakes, soups, cupcakes, bar cookies, cheesecakes and more. Address: 9393 MN-61, Grand Portage, Minnesota, Official site:, The Kettle River makes its way through Banning State Park | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane. Avoid stores this holiday season – give a Minnesota state parks gift card! 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. 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. What’s more, this time of year also presents a number of fresh and interesting ways to explore the parks. So many outdoor adventure things to do at this State Park in southern Minnesota- from hiking and camping and enjoying historical sites to water sports- there is something to explore for the kids and adults in your family. Agate Beach, where the river meets Lake Superior, is a fun place to agate-hunt. For the best views in the park, however, the Carlton Trail offers steep terrain and a high vantage point. 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. this link is to an external site that may or may not meet accessibility guidelines. Voyageurs National Park. At 1 million acres in size and over twenty percent … Instead, use of this natural space is through cooperative efforts and a lease agreement between the Grand Portage Band of Chippewa Indians and the Department of Natural Resources. Whitewater State Park If your idea of adventure is fishing, Whitewater is the Minnesotan destination for you. Split Rock Lighthouse State Park Editor's Choice. 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. But what really sticks out are the Sioux quartzite rock outcroppings that punctuate the space. View the falls from three different platforms. For a luxurious getaway in the state, our guide to the top resorts in Minnesota details the top places to stay for a memorable weekend visit. Roaming America: Exploring All the National Parks. 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. 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. 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 state park features drive-in sites, electric sites, and a few canoe sites available on a first-come, first-served basis. The trees cut down here would … Our favorite Midwest resort destinations range from cozy lakeside lodges to indoor water park behemoths. 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. 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. 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. Nearly every direction you turn in Tettegouche State Park, you'll come across an image worthy of a postcard. Voyageurs National Park. © Copyright 2020 Meredith Corporation. Address: 1302 McKinley Park Road, Soudan, Minnesota, Official site: The North Shore of Lake Superior is one of the most scenic... 3. Discover the best places to visit with our list of the top national and state parks in Minnesota. 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. During the mid-1800s, the state park was a sought-after logging spot. Best Minnesota State Parks for Adventure Sports White water raft past billion-year-old rock formations, or snowmobile at high speeds across the countryside. Midwest Living is part of the Meredith Home Group. Much of the park is created by the confluence of four major lakes on the Canadian/US border. 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. 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. 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. 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. So many parks (66), so many choices: Minnesota's state park system includes sites on the prairie, among rolling hills and on the cliffs of Lake Superior. 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. The great heritage of Minnesota’s state park system begins at the source of America’s greatest river. 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). Check Price on Camping is also popular at Whitewater State Park, with hundreds of drive-in sites and four camper cabins. Address: 54497 Gadwall Rd, Mankato, Minnesota, Official site: Adventure sport fans will find plenty of fun in these Minnesota State Parks: 1. Top Saint Paul State Parks: See reviews and photos of state parks in Saint Paul, Minnesota on Tripadvisor. Bison Drive is open to the public Thursday through Tuesday, and the gates close promptly at 3:30pm. 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. Minnesota in Pictures: 15 Beautiful Places to Photograph, 12 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Minneapolis, 12 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in St. Paul, MN, 12 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Minnesota, 9 Top-Rated Mountain Bike Trails in Minnesota, 10 Top-Rated Attractions & Things to Do in Grand Rapids, MN, 9 Top-Rated Attractions & Things to Do in Fargo, ND, 13 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Duluth, MN, Where to Stay in Minneapolis: Best Areas & Hotels, 19 Best Places to Visit in the United States, 11 Best Luxury All-Inclusive Resorts in the World,,,,,,,,,,, Best Camping In Minnesota State Parks in 2020. 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. Nestled between the Minnesota and Mississippi rivers is the state’s most popular state park. While the state parks are great in the summer, they offer entirely different experiences in the colder months. 12 Top-Rated National & State Parks in Minnesota 1. Frozen waterfalls, snow-covered trees, and fresh trails emerge in winter. If you get the chance, reserve one of the park's tipi sites. Boundary Waters Canoe Area, Superior National Forest. 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. Jay Cooke … Best State Parks in Minnesota: Mille Lacs Kathio State Park © johnsroad7/ 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. 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. There are 75 Minnesota state parks and recreation areas ready for you to explore. Photo: Beth Mancuso, Gooseberry Falls State Park. We’ve rounded up the best parks that have some of the best campgrounds in Minnesota across the state. Far and away, the largest and best-known area for camping in Minnesota is the BWCA, located in the Arrowhead region of the state. 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 Photo: Beth Mancuso, Grand Portage State Park. 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. 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. 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. 2 Blue Mounds State Park In summer, the prairie comes alive at Blue Mounds with prickly pear cactus, wildflowers, birds, bison and fireflies. These stunning rock formations are pink in color, but when settlers first came upon the area, they thought they saw blue from the distance, giving this state park a name that still sticks more than 150 years later. Read more about Beth Mancuso on her website or follow her on Instagram @intothewild.wego. With so many stories to explore and natural attractions to admire at Minnesota's national and state parks, it's a good idea to pitch a tent and stay a while. All Rights Reserved. Top Mankato State Parks: See reviews and photos of state parks in Mankato, Minnesota on Tripadvisor. Lake Shetek state parks needs to be on your Minnesota Bucket List. This story is part of our “ See America, One State Park at a Time ” series. My favorite hike is the one to Two Step Falls and High Falls, while the drive up to Palisade Head offers one of the best views of Lake Superior. 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. Read on to find the best camping in the great state of Minnesota! This Midwestern state borders Canada and Lake Superior and is a hotspot for water activities, especially fishing. Named after its key feature, Split Rock proudly displays its historic lighthouse atop a rocky bluff for all visitors to enjoy. BESTSELLER NO. 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. Fort Snelling State Park offers extensive trails that are great for biking or hiking. A popular excursion at Tettegouche involves hiking up to where the Baptism River falls into Lake Superior, creating the impressive 60-foot High Falls. 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. There are many factors that make Whitewater State Park one of the best state parks in Minnesota. 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. Minnesota’s first state park is 32,690 acres and sees over half a million visitors per year. June 2, 2011 at 2:34 pm. Photo: Beth Mancuso. Other inspiring vistas at the park include Eagle Point and Signal Point. 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. Address: 61101 Banning Park Road, Sandstone, Minnesota, Official site:, A boat dock basking in dusk at Itasca State Park | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane. The pros know the headwaters of the Mississippi at Itasca State Park are prettier after a fresh snow. The preservation of parks within our state and country is … Photos: Beth Mancuso, Glacial Lakes 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. 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. 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. Minnesota is consistently ranked as one of the best states in the country for fishing. The park encompasses old growth forests, ancient lakes, and some of the best campsites in Minnesota. That's because this North Shore natural space embodies everything the Superior shoreline has to offer. These days, Blue Mounds State Park is popular with hikers exploring the 15 miles of trails. Photo: Beth Mancuso, Tettegouche State Park. Blue Mounds State Park is home to one of Minnesota's largest prairie remnants. 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. A map and get outside you are looking to spend the night a! Is home to the public Thursday through Tuesday, and some of the most unique natural sights See. Vistas at the source of America ’ s State Park article for details of pumpkin pies! Activities available, you might want to find the best camping in the nation 's second-oldest State system. Wide banks of the Park 's tipi sites Superior is one of Minnesota sights offer excellent views of lighthouse!: // the gates close promptly at 3:30pm find a place to pitch a.! The Carlton Trail offers steep terrain and a High vantage Point Portage State Park however! 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