The land of 10,000 lakes also happens to be the land of 10,000 amazing Minnesota campgrounds. Ok, maybe not 10,000, but Minnesota has so many amazing places to camping, it’s hard to choose our favorites!
A large portion of the best campgrounds in Minnesota are in Northeastern Minnesota where you’ll find the Boundary Water’s Canoe Area, a world-famous canoe camping destination. This area also includes amazing camping along Lake Superior and the Canadian border such as Voyagers National Park and Superior National Forest.
Backpacking, RVing and Car Camping in Minnesota
One of the best things about camping in Minnesota is the wide range of camping options. Minnesota has plenty of tent camping destinations, RV camping, canoe camping and even perfect spots for some hammock camping and bikepacking.
If you’re really adventurous, you can even try out winter camping in Minnesota. If you are a die-hard camper, then enjoying a Minnesota winter in your tent is a must. Just make sure to check out our winter tent, winter sleeping bag, winter heater, and our other winter guides first!
One of the absolute best places to go camping in Minnesota, the Boundary Waters wilderness spans across an amazing 1,090,000-acres. If you are looking for a life experience you will never forget, planning a camping trip to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area (BWCA) is the way to go.
Not only is it one of the Top-Rated Campgrounds in Minnesota, but it is also considered one of the best camping spots in the US. While canoeing in the BWCA, you will often meet campers from all over the world.
Grand Marais Campground and Marina is a gem located right on Lake Superior.
Watching the sunrise on the cove and walking into town for a cup of hot coffee in the morning will be just a couple of your favorite things about Grand Marais Campground and Marina. If you are looking for a bigger adventure, the campground offers a nice base camp for your hiking trips to Devils Kettle and Grand Portage.
If you want to keep it simple, you can explore the smooth rock beach and the formations on lake superior.
Another amazing Minnesota campground, the Gull Lake Recreation Area campground sits on the Gull River at the outlet of Gull Lake. Each campsite is uniquely craved out giving each camper their own privacy.
It is very peaceful and quiet even though you are only 9 miles from the major town. Fishermen will be excited to find a
Eagle Cliff campground has something for everyone to enjoy. Because it’s located on the Rum River this campground offers summer days filled with river tubing, kayaking, canoe rides which can all be rented from the campground.
The campground is making improvements every year and they work hard to ensure your trip is memorable. If the weather is poor head into the town Lanesboro, which is known for its historic setting located in the bluff country. Step back into time and plan an afternoon visiting an Amish community.
Itasca is Minnesota’s oldest state park and was established in 1891. Today, the park equals more than 32,000 acres and includes over 100 lakes!
The photo above showcases the beginning of the mighty Mississippi River, which travels 2,552 miles to the Gulf of Mexico. It is a wonderful spot to walk trails, play in the Mississippi River and camp.
We actually saw a mama bear and her two cubs when we camped there! It’s a state park, but it should be a National park in my mind. One of the best places to visit.
Camp Holiday Resort and Campground is a quiet, cozy Minnesota camping gem that offers an all-around experience for their campers. You can choose from staying in a cabin, lake home or rent out a campsite.
Named appropriately a stay here is like a mini holiday. Enjoy a wide range of activities like the swimming area that has a huge raft and floating dock in deeper water for big kids and a slide with a sandy area in the shallow end for younger kids. Boat rentals are available, too. O
Wild River State Park is about 45 minutes North of the Twin Cities. Loaded with all sorts of outdoor activities, like hiking on one of their many trails, biking, horseback riding, geocaching, visit the wonderful nature center and so much more. Enjoy the wildlife alongside the great St. Croix River.
Lake Maria State Park is for those who are more interested in a lightly challenging camping in Minnesota experience. It’s about an hour away from the Twin Cities, making the trip there easy but far enough you feel away from everyday life.
Campsites and cabins are about a one-mile hike from where you’ll park your car. Walking and hiking trails are forested and winding, one even brings you on a wooden trail through a marsh.
During the winter there is a frozen pond you can skate on next to the Trail Center. Lake Maria State Park is also known to have a variety of wildlife and is perfect for bird watching.
There’s much to like about this Royalton campground. One, it’s only 90 minutes from the Twin Cities via US-10. Two, it sits at the junction of the Mississippi and Platte Rivers. Three, it has close two two hundred tent and RV sites of various sizes.
This allows Minnesota campers to tube down the Platte, swim and slide at the site’s pool, and enjoy the quiet of the surrounding forest. Children are kept busy with playgrounds, mini-golf, and a game room. The chance to sit around a campfire is also available; however, due to the discovery of the deadly Ash Borer in the state, Two Rivers asks you to leave the firewood at home.
Regardless if spending one or multiple nights at Interstate State Park, visitors will enjoy many adventures. Approximately 110 RV, drive-in, and electric sites are nestled along the St. Croix River. Showers and bathrooms are available for all campers.
While staying at this Minnesota campground, visitors should partake in activities like climbing the St. Croix River Dalles. Another opportunity available is to walk among the park’s wildflowers in search of its famous lava flows and glacial deposits. For more sedate campers, fishing and canoeing opportunities are available during the warmer months.
Ham Lake Campground is located an easy 35 minutes straight north from downtown Minneapolis. The campground boasts 115 RV sites along with 5 cabins available for rent.
The biggest attractions here are the amazing sandy beach with a super shallow swimming area as well as a petting zoo and playgrounds on site.
Baker Park is one of our families favorite “close to home” Minnesota campgrounds, located an easy 30 minutes from downtown Minneapolis.
Baker Park offers all kinds of activities for the family on it’s amazing 3,300 acres. There is a beautiful campground offering hundreds of campsites, a huge playground with zip lines, tons of picnic tables to eat at, 2 huge sandy beaches, miles of biking and hiking trails, a golf course and much more.
If you want to experience some relaxing camping in Minnesota, Father Hennepin is the perfect destination.
Situated on the shores of Mille Lacs Lake, Father Hennepin State Park is named after a 17th-century priest, who first wrote about the area, and with a single visit, you can see why it was worth writing about.
Mille Lacs Lake is one of the largest inland lakes in Minnesota, and the Lakeview campground within Father Hennepin State Park gives overnight users a front row seat to it all.
Split between non-electrical and electrical, the 60 campsites at Lakeview all share access to flushing toilets, showers, and water spigots, and more importantly, easy access to Mille Lacs Lake in the form of a fishing pier and places to moor a boat. Tents, pop-up campers, and RVs up to 60 feet long are welcome at Father Hennepin, and if the Lakeview Campground is full when you go to reserve a spot, the Maple Grove Campground hosts another 40 campsites nearby, though not quite as close to the water.
Located less than a half hour east of Saint Paul, Afton State Park is a popular prairie-filled park that attracts campers from the Twin Cities and beyond.
What makes the campgrounds at Afton unique within the Minnesota state park system is that they are only available for those willing to backpack their gear to the sites.
The 27 backpack sites at Afton State Park are located less than a mile from the parking lot, and all include a picnic table, fire ring, and plenty of space to pitch a tent or two, as well as shared access to a communal pit toilet and water spigot. The backpack sites at Afton vary from shaded to exposed, and all offer views and access to the surrounding wooded and prairie environments, including the extensive trail system that winds its way through the park.
No campsite is a direct neighbor to another, offering more privacy than your average campground, but it’s not uncommon to hear the crackle of a nearby campfire throughout the night, reminding you that you’re not completely alone in the woods.
There are many factors that make Whitewater State Park one of the best state parks in Minnesota, and between the bluff-lined hiking trails and churning waters of the Whitewater River, what really ties everything together are its spacious and scenic campsites. More than 100 campsites are available, and the most abundant and most popular sites fall within the Cedar Hill Campground, which abuts the Whitewater River and provides opportunities like tubing, wading, and fishing.
Two communal sanitation buildings are located within Cedar Hill Campground, and another can be found in the neighboring Gooseberry Glen Campground. All three provide toilets, showers, and clean water throughout the camping season.
Every campsite at Whitewater State Park provides a picnic table and fire ring, and they vary from pull-in to pull-through, with a few requiring a short walk from a parked car. For those looking for more solitude, on the other side of the river from the Cedar Hill and Gooseberry Glen Campgrounds, Whitewater State Park also offers six walk-in sites averaging 500 yards from the parking area, allowing for a little more space and just as many views.
Stretching from Duluth to the US/Canadian border, the North Shore of Lake Superior provides endless adventure, ranging from cross-country hiking to sailing the frigid waters. On top of the many things to do, great campsites stretch all along this recreation destination, waiting for you to spend the night. Nearly halfway up the shore, Split Rock Lighthouse State Park offers a great example of these North Shore overnight accommodations, and with just a little bit of effort, Minnesota campers at this lakeside destination are afforded some of the best views found in the state.
Located 2,000 feet from the parking lot, Split Rock offers 20 cart-in campsites, which all feature a picnic table and fire ring and include the cart to haul in your gear. A strong recommendation when staying the night at Split Rock Lighthouse State Park is to reserve one of the campsites on the lakeside portion of the campground loop. These all offer personal views of the rugged shoreline and Split Rock Lighthouse in the distance. Flush toilets, showers, and clean water are available to all campers at Split Rock, but the real draw for the cart-in campgrounds of this North Shore state park is the immediate access to the stunning surroundings.
This campground offers a variety of outdoor activities such as fishing, canoeing, and skiing. It’s pleasant and relaxing sitting next to the St Croix River or on Lake Alice; and you won’t have to do so without your phone if you don’t want, because some areas of the campground have Wi-Fi for your comfort.
Another perk of this campground is that lots of equipment for a variety of activities are available to be checked out for free by visitors, making this a great place to try new things. William O’ Brien State Park is truly on the best campgrounds within two hours of Minneapolis.
If you’re looking for a place to go camping in Minnesota that is close to the Twin Cities but yet feels far away, this is it. The land here is wooded and lake-ridden, which makes it feel more than just half an hour south of Minneapolis.
There is a laundry facility, onsite caretaker, picnic tables, fire rings, and restrooms with showers. The West Camping Loop has Wi-Fi for your convenience and the park’s Visitor Center has educational programs and displays to enjoy. Take your little ones for an educational day trip or stay the night to get away from the hubbub of the city.
20. Old Barn Resort
This resort has a golf course and heated pool, both of which are very popular and well maintained. The trails and beautiful sights to be explored will have you waking up early so you can fit in as much as possible.
The misty and picturesque golf course is an early morning treat that you can get a sneak peek of now if you check out their Instagram. Fire pits are provided in every campsite, hookups are available for RVers, and there are outdoor restrooms nearby.
Camping in Minnesota Resources
If you plan on doing some camping in Minnesota this summer, then here’s a few resources at Beyond The Tent to help you out.
RV Buyer’s Guide – If you’re looking at purchasing an RV this summer, we’ve put together loads of useful information to help you make the best decision possible. We got our Jayco Hybrid Camper at Hilltop Trailer (and we loved the experience).
RV Renter’s Guide – Maybe you just want to rent your RV for the week, that’s great too. We’ve put together a guide on what to expect when renting an RV and how to get the most from your experience.
Other Buyer’s Guides you may find useful:
Near the Minnesota-Iowa border, Mystery Cave State Park is perfect for Minnesota campers who want to spend time exploring this unique area. Approximately 145 sites grace this park, including 55 suited for people and horses.
Once established, guests have an opportunity to select from a number of activities. These include fishing in trout streams, hiking, and horseback rides. And, of course, there’s the cave. Seven different tours are offered for guests. These include the popular scenic tour, a guided walk where guests see everything by lantern, and a two-hour trip for those who want to set up tripods for cave photography.
The Mille Lacs Kathio State Park is known for its wildlife and history. There is a fire and observation tower that visitors can climb which goes 100 feet into the air.
This Minnesota Campground offers you a view that you cannot get at any of the other campgrounds in the two-hour radius of Minneapolis. The park is open year-round, making it a popular place for winter and summer activities alike. With 70 drive-in sites and 3 pull-through sites, it’s a great option for camping near or in your vehicle.
This Minnesota Camping destination has a large variety of options for your sleeping arrangements should you decide to embark on a two-hour drive and stay in Flandrau State Park’s campgrounds.
Visitors can go geocaching or participate in a variety of water activities including fishing and swimming at the beach. Don’t forget your swimsuits! There are plenty of things to do within one mile of the campgrounds, so exploring the area is encouraged!
There are many places to stay in this Minnesota campground. Group campsites can hold up to 128 people, making it a great place for church or family gatherings. A gift shop is nearby, as is a grocery store and restaurants.
Feel free to play volleyball next to the swimming beach or relax while fishing on the fishing pier. Whether you’re looking to find a place to be for a day or stay the night, make sure you call ahead and check availability!
This Northwoods park is just a stone’s throw from the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and offers miles of shoreline to explore. You can swim at the park’s beach, cast a fishing line or take to the woods and get on a trail, all making this a favorite Minnesota camping destination.
The park’s campground, complete with showers and restrooms, has 73 sites, 45 of which have electricity. There are also four backpacking sites, one boat-accessible site, five camper cabins and one rustic group camping site.
The park encompasses 5,685 acres that include Bear Head Lake and some smaller lakes. Those without a boat can still take advantage of the water; canoe, kayak and boat rentals are available.
Year-round camping opportunities are available at this park northwest of Minneapolis. In addition to standard cart-in sites, Glandalough features three canoe sites on the northeast shore of Annie Battle Lake, four cabins, and two yurts.
Visitors have access to the 335-acre lake, a swimming beach, and a fishing pier. Those who come in the winter can take advantage of an enormous sliding hill and areas for snowshoeing. Visitors during the warmer months can explore Glendalough via canoe, kayak, hiking trails, and a paved bike loop. For those interested in geology, Glendalough shows the transition from prairie to northern hardwoods across 9.2 miles of undeveloped shoreline.
Located in the Superior National Forest near Grand Marais, Two Island Lake Campground is far enough off the beaten path to allow for peace and quiet. Trees provide a buffer between sites, and the campground’s location on the western edge of Two Island Lake offers campers a chance to catch a beautiful sunset over the water.
For more seclusion, hop on the nearby Twin Lakes Canoe Route to get to one of the five backpacking sites accessible by water.
Minnesota’s only national park is a destination point for boaters, whether you’re in a canoe, motorboat or houseboat. Motor or paddle up to a dock, sandy beach or rocky ledge near a campsite — or tie off on a mooring post if you’re in a houseboat — and enjoy the island-filled waters of Rainy, Namakan and Kabetogama lakes along the Canadian border.
If you plan to tent camp in one of the parks’ 270 campsites, make your reservations through recreation.gov.
Tettegouche State Park is one of the North Shore’s most popular Minnesota camping spots. Located along Lake Superior just off Minnesota 61, the park has 14 cart-in campsites along the shore.
For those wanting to car camp, the park has 28 such sites — and six walk-in sites — at its Baptism River campground, and there are four rental cabins in the park. Campers have access to 28 miles of trails and the Superior Hiking Trail. Travel along the Baptism River to view waterfalls or hike a bit more to see the park’s lakes and several scenic overlooks.
Official site: http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/state_parks/whitewater/index.html
Of course, those who visit this campground aren’t interested in high-end accommodations. Instead, they visit to partake in winter sports like snowmobiling and summer adventures such as horseback riding and swimming. The area also features three miles of hiking trails that double as cross-country ski trails during the winter. With the campground based in Sand Dunes State Forest, visitors should partake in walking among the 2700 acres of pine plantation.
Official site: http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/state_parks/whitewater/index.html
Kamp Dels is more than a simple campground. It’s a modern Minnesota camping experience where you can raise a tent, park an RV, stay in a lake-front cabin, and have access to many modern amenities and activities. And that includes the campground’s amazing waterpark.
With several pools to choose from, the attraction features two water slides, a splash park, and children’s swim area. Other recreational activities are a petting zoo, mini golf, and fishing pond. In addition, the campground resides on the shores of Lake Sakatah and its watershed area. At 1336 acres of shoreline, camp visitors can enjoy swimming, tubing, boating, or jet skiing.
Official site: http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/state_parks/whitewater/index.html
This beautiful Minnesota campground features bedrock outcrops among white and red pine. The 2007 Ham Lake Fire bounced through the area, leaving some heavily burnt sites, now regenerating, and some untouched sites. It is an excellent spot to see fire ecology in action.
Many campsites are hike-in, view or access water, or have steep drop-offs. Commercial services include canoe rental, outfitting, showers, and sales of groceries and gear, and a restaurant.
The campground provides access to entry points 54, 55, & K for the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. There is long and short term parking for the BWCAW. Day use and overnight BWCAW permits (if quotas allow) are available for those entering the BWCAW.
Address: 800 Sibley Park Road Northeast
New London, MN 56273
Official site: http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/state_parks/whitewater/index.html
Over half a century old, Flying Goose is for campers who want to spend the night or longer on the shore of central Minnesota’s Lake Imogene. The grounds offer sites for tent and RV camping. One of its unique features is 100-foot sites with 50 amp full hookups for pull-thru vehicles. Those looking for a more permanent experience can choose one of the Flying Goose’s cabins with a full kitchen and two queen beds.
With the amount of available recreational activities, Flying Goose visitors won’t be bored. The 185 acre lake offers opportunities for swimming, fishing, and watersports like rafting and kayaking. Dryer activities offered are a sand volleyball court and 18 hole mini-golf course.
Official site: https://www.flyinggoosecampground.com/camping
If you’re looking for a camping in Minnesota experience that offers incredible sights, then Cascade River State Park is perfect.
Waterfalls, fishing, hiking, and other year-round activities highlight Cascade River. Situated on the eastern shoreline of Lake Superior, the campsite is ensconced along the Cascade River. Forty drive-in spots, four pull-through locations, and five backpack sites are spread out through the park.
Once setup, visitors have a lot to see. For instance, they can hike to gorges with majestic waterfalls as well as paths among spruce and white cedar trees. Then, they can make a stop on the shores of Lake Superior. Those looking for more adventure can connect to the Superior Hiking and North Shore State Trails.
Besides being a wonderful campground, Blue Mounds State Park has the honor of protecting an American bison herd. It currently grazes on one of Minnesota’s largest prairie remnants. This is one of the things visitors can see when they reserve one of Blue Mounds nearly 130 campsites.
Located on the southwest corner of Minnesota, the state park has a different feel. Instead of ferns and moss, visitors encounter 100-foot quartizite cliffs, seas of prairie grasses, and prickly pear cactus. Along with viewing the bison herd, hiking and rock climbing are park’s main recreational highlights.
Travel 10 miles southwest of Duluth and you’ll reach Jay Cooke State Park — one of the ten most visited parks in Minnesota. Why do they flock to the park and reserve a large mix of drive-in, electric, and backpack sites as well as five camper cabins? It’s the trails.
Jay Cooke features 50 miles of available trails. And all of them link to the Willard Munger State Trail. They also come to the park for the Swinging Bridge above the St. Louis River and to climb CCC-era observation posts to view the river valley.
Check out our post How To Enjoy A Perfect Weekend At Jay Cooke State Park.
Head south from the Twin Cities along U.S. 61 and you’ll be at Great River Bluffs State Park, a simple, yet beautiful camping in Minnesota destination. Situated on the banks of the Mississippi River, the campsite offers a little over 40 drive-in, cart-in, and bike-in sites.
It seems like a small amount. On the other hand, it means visitors won’t feel crowded no matter the time of year. In turn, they can take advantage of what the Great River Bluffs as to offer. Primarily, scenic blufftop views of the river valley.
Based in the Superior National Forest, this campground is situated on the shores of Fall Lake and is surrounded by aspen and fir trees. Visitors have opportunities to swim, hike, and birdwatch. They also have access to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW), a permit-based recreation area with 1200 miles of canoe routes. Fishing enthusiasts like Fall Lake Campground for the opportunity to catch walleye once the season starts in May.
Waterfalls are one of the main reasons visitors set up camp at Gooseberry Falls State Park. The other is its location on the North Shore of Lake Superior. Nearly 120 sites are available to reserve, including one kayak site for those traveling on the Lake Superior Water Trail. Among the many offerings at the park beyond the waterfalls are the river gorge and Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) log and stone structures built over 80 years ago.
Another campsite on the North Shore of Lake Superior, Magney State Park is home to the Devil’s Kettle. This is where the Brule River goes over a waterfall and seemingly disappears into a hole.
Campers who set up at one of the 27 drive-in sites can walk the 200 steps down to the river to see what happens. In addition to this site, visitors can fish for trout and hike along paths that connect to the Superior Hiking Trail. Wildlife fans may catch a glimpse of moose, black bears, or white-tailed deer.
275 water and electric sites welcome visitors to this campground situated along the Zumbro River. However, lazing around is not what Bluff Valley is about. Well, not all day.
It’s about the locations numerous activities. Bluff Valley offers miles of hiking trails, a driving range, Ceramic Studio, heated swimming pool, and floating down a one-mile section of the Zumbro. If that’s not to a visitor’s liking, they can head to Over the Top. This is the site’s 8000 square foot indoor skatepark that features spaces for skateboarding as well as a climbing wall.