Reconnect on a Minnesota Camping Trip

By Erica Wacker

DNR I Can Camp programRelaxation, adventure, escape, and quality time with family and friends are among the many reasons why camping is a beloved Minnesota pastime. Whether you’re ready to take on the Boundary Waters or prefer the comforts of an RV, a Minnesota camping trip will surely be one to remember.

From Rugged…

Boundary Waters camping Camping in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness is a badge of honor; there are no roads, buildings, motorboats, and definitely no cell phone service. Visitors travel strictly via canoe, with more than 1,500 miles of waterways to explore. When it’s time to set up camp, simply paddle up to an open campsite and pitch your tent. Every campsite is private, so your group will have a little piece of the wilderness all to yourselves.

If you’d rather travel by foot than canoe, backpacking trips are another adventure. The Superior Hiking Trail covers nearly 300 miles of rugged terrain above the North Shore of Lake Superior, with more than 90 campsites along the way.

Another backpacking hot spot is Crosby Manitou State Park near Silver Bay, where challenging trails are flanked with spectacular views of waterfalls and forests. The secluded campsites are for backpackers only (though you may have to share them with moose, deer and other wildlife).

Backpacking opportunities even exist near the Minneapolis-St. Paul area at Afton, Lake Maria and St. Croix state parks. Several state parks also have “walk-in” (less than half a mile) sites, with carts to haul your gear in some cases.

…to Relaxed

Minnesota has about 500 privately operated campgrounds, most located beside a lake or river, with sites for RVs as well as tents. Many are at resorts that also offer cabins or other indoor lodging.

These campgrounds usually feature an array of amenities, such as pools, playgrounds, game rooms, entertainment, boat rentals, Wi-Fi, and on-site laundry, groceries and restaurants. Their congenial atmosphere and array of activities make them a great vacation choice.

Outdoorsy Camping Itasca with Dog 440x440.jpgMany of Minnesota’s most scenic spots have been preserved as state parks, and most of the 75 parks and recreation areas have campgrounds with tent and RV sites. The settings range from forest to prairie; scenic hiking trails and access to a lake or river are among the highlights at these locations.

Several state parks and some private campgrounds also rent camper cabins, an appealing alternative for those who don’t want to deal with tents. The majority have electricity and heat and can sleep up to six people. But without their own restrooms or running water, you can still say that you’re roughing it.

Campgrounds operated by counties and cities are another good option; in-town campgrounds are usually near shops, restaurants and attractions. For rustic camping in a natural setting, seek out campgrounds in state forests as well as the Chippewa and Superior national forests.

If you don’t have your own camping equipment, various outfitters offer rentals of everything from tents and pop-up campers to top-of-the-line motorhomes complete with kitchens and master suites.

Find Minnesota campgrounds, searchable by type, on-site facilities and location, in our extensive campgrounds listings.