The Best Camping in Minnesota

From boating and kayaking to hiking and golfing, outdoor lovers of every style can find plenty of things to do while camping in Minnesota! Explore our list of Minnesota campgrounds to start planning your trip to the North Star State.

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About Minnesota Camping

Waterfall enthusiasts will find no shortage of fun and beauty in Minnesota, where falls like Pigeon River High Falls, Devil’s Kettle, and Gooseberry Falls all offer stunning views. Plus, scenic cliffs like Palisade Head and St. Croix River Dalles make for jaw-dropping, colorful vistas as far as the eye can see. From water sports to nature photography, it’s easy to stay busy while camping in Minnesota!

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Minnesota Camping FAQs

As the Twin Cities grow in popularity, more visitors are realizing the outdoor prowess that Minnesota has to offer. Hiking and camping in Minnesota summers offer comfortable temperatures, especially the further north you go. The warmer season is shorter than average here, but it’s always a highly anticipated timeframe for locals and excited travelers alike.

What’s the Best Time of Year to Go Camping in Minnesota?

Those planning to go camping in Minnesota will most likelywant to stick to the warmer months. While Minnesota is beautiful in the colder seasons, winter that far north can be harsh, especially if you aren’t used to cold-weather camping. Late spring to early fall is the sweet spot for most campers heading to the North Star State.

What Are the Top Outdoor Activities in Minnesota?

Minnesota has great waterfront access, so watersports enthusiasts will be right at home. Hiking and camping in Minnesota are often underrated since some of the best spots can take work to get to, but they’re worth the extra effort. Minnesota has plenty of trails to take in and even offers a 310-mile thru-hike, the Superior Hiking Trail.

What Are the National Parks in Minnesota?

There’s only one true national park in Minnesota, and it requires a good deal of planning to find your way there. If you’re willing to commit to a trip to Voyageurs National Park, you’ll be well-rewarded for your efforts, both in views and lack of standard national parks crowding.

Routinely one of the least-visited parks in the U.S., Voyageurs is a great place for adventurers seeking solitude when camping in Minnesota.

Voyageurs National Park

It takes a boat or water taxi ride to get to this Minnesota national park, so Voyageurs quickly weeds out the less enthusiastic. If you’re willing to put in the work, Voyageurs National Park has one of the more unique ecosystems of all national parks. You’ll be transported through dense forests, wetlands, and even get to see parts of the Arctic Watershed.

Saint Croix National Scenic Riverway

The Saint Croix National Scenic Riverway has long been a go-to destination for those heading north to enjoy the waterways. This watersports playground offers more than 200 miles of river to paddle through, float on, or just sit by while enjoying the sun.

You’ll have plenty of riverside campsites available, though they’re not amenity-rich and thus better suited for those looking for primitive camping in Minnesota.

Superior National Forest

Near the Canadian border lies a massive national forest, perfect for hiking, fishing, and camping in Minnesota. Avid watersports enthusiasts will recognize Superior National Forest as the site of the Boundary Waters, one of the best wilderness areas in the U.S. for both paddling and camping.

Chippewa National Forest

One of the Chippewa National Forest’s biggest offerings is its diversity of camping options. Those looking for an authentic, rugged nature experience can easily find it here. Fear not if your plans for camping in Minnesota list comfort as a higher priority; the Chippewa can still deliver.

If you’re planning on staying in a more comfortable, developed campground, note that these are open seasonally from May 1 to October 1.

What Are Some of the Most Popular State Parks in Minnesota?

Tettegouche State Park

Pronounced “tet-a-gooch,” if you were curious. This state park is near Lake Superior and easy to add to any itinerary in the northeastern part of the state. No matter the season, you’ll get great views of Lake Superior, as well as the waterfalls within the park’s boundaries.

Gooseberry Falls State Park

While there’s plenty to do at this park, Gooseberry Falls themselves are easily the biggest draw here. The hike is less than an hour each way with plenty to see along the trail. This is a solid option for camping in Minnesota if you want shaded spots in the woods with minimal amenities and distractions.

Jay Cooke State Park

What makes Jay Cooke unique is the history here. There’s a historic inn on-site with proximity to the crowd-favorite Swinging Bridge. A visit to the bridge gives you views of the St. Louis River, and a hike to Oldenburg Point gives you great views of the entire St. Louis River Valley.

Split Rock Lighthouse State Park

If you really put your mind to it, you could walk from the Gooseberry Falls lakeshore to Split Rock Lighthouse State Park. The whole 14.6-mile section will have you pass through Split Rock and end up at the Beaver River. If you aren’t game for a half-marathon and change, you’ll want to at least see the namesake lighthouse and take in the Split Rock River Overlook.

What Are the Top Attractions in Minnesota?

Mall of America

There’s retail therapy, and then there’s the Mall of America. Minneapolis’ 5.6 million-square-foot mall is a sight to behold. Even if you aren’t interested in browsing through the more-than 500 stores here, you’ll get a workout in just by exploring this shopping behemoth.

International Wolf Center

This place just sounds cool. Conveniently enough, it is also cool in actuality. The International Wolf Center is a research and educational entity that invites you to come in and learn more about these often-misunderstood animals. If you’re traveling with children, this is a great place to spend a day and learn some interesting facts!

Minneapolis Institute of Art

The Minneapolis Institute of Art (MIA) is one of the largest art collections in the country, with works that span the last 5,000 years of world history. A vast array of ever-changing exhibits awaits, so check out their calendar beforehand and see if there’s anything on display that interests you.

Cathedral of Saint Paul

In St. Paul stands an architectural masterpiece over a century old. This Roman Catholic Cathedral was constructed with locally-sourced materials to create a massive space with seating for 3,000. For fans of art and architecture, this marvel can’t be missed.

Where’s Some of the Best Food in Minnesota?

Jax Café – Minneapolis

This long-standing Minneapolis spot has been here since 1930 and is perfect if you’re looking to spend a night out at a nice restaurant that’s not too stuffyThis American surf-and-turf spot is both upscale and approachable.

Patisserie 46 – Minneapolis

This is a touch of France in Minneapolis. A perfect place for breakfast bites and a light lunch, Patisserie 46 is the ideal repeat stop if you’re in Minneapolis for a few days. Start each morning off at this warm, welcoming cafe.

Lions Tap – Eden Prairie

There isn’t a pretentious bone in the proverbial body of Lions Tap. Lions Tap has served classic burgers for the last 40 years, and they do it better than anyone around. If your travels take you through Eden Prairie, a burger-and-beer from Lions Tap is the comfort meal you’ll look forward to.

Meritage – St. Paul

If Patisserie 46 is an unfussy take on French dining, Meritage is its more formal older sibling. This oyster bar is definitely upscale, but don’t let that scare you away. This classic French dining experience operates on a seasonal menu, bringing you the fresh and most exciting ingredients that each season has to offer.

If your journey takes you north, Minnesota is an outdoor playground in each season. While often associated with high levels of snowfall and the winter sports scene, camping in Minnesota is the best way to experience summer in the midwestern state.