After a brutal winter and a soggy spring, Minnesota is finally blossoming. This means that it’s finally time to begin exploring the state’s scenic natural areas and iconic lakes.
Minnesota is known for its striking beauty and stunning, occasionally isolated nature sites. One thing is for certain: it’s easy to get away from it all when you’re spending time in the Land of 10,000 Lakes.
Whether you’re hoping to stay close to the city for just the weekend or are plotting a week-long adventure in the heart of the state’s striking wilderness, there is no shortage of exciting camping options in the Twin Cities metro area and beyond.
Where to Camp for Lake Life
If you’re looking for a place to enjoy Minnesota’s lake life and experience the state’s stunning natural beauty this summer, consider one of these five campgrounds and parks:
- Photo credit: Lisa Meyers McClintick / Explore Minnesota
It can be hard to believe that the serene, idyllic Lake Itasca serves as the headwaters of the mighty Mississippi River. One of Minnesota’s greatest natural resources, however, lies just three-and-a-half hours north of Minneapolis. There are several great campsites at Itasca State Park, including Bear Paw and Pine Ridge campgrounds, offering a variety of amenities. Itasca State Park also hosts the historic Douglas Lodge.
- Photo Credit: Brian Powers
Deep in Minnesota’s Northwoods, Bear Head Lake State Park offers campers and adventurers the chance to truly get away from it all. Located near Ely, Minnesota, Bear Head Lake State Park offers year-round recreation, including canoeing, fishing, cross-country skiing, ice fishing, snowmobiling and more. Abundant wildlife and a campground with fairly secluded drive-in sites make this a great destination for campervans. Bear Head Lake State Park also manages the Woodenfrog, Ash River and Wakemup Bay campgrounds inside the Kabetogama State Forest.
- Photo Credit: Sarah Christian Photography (@sarah_chrisitian)
Just north of Duluth along Lake Superior’s North Shore is Gooseberry Falls State Park, a scenic stretch of rocky coastline offering excellent hiking, fishing and more. The park’s titular falls are the main attraction, but the Lake Superior shoreline, covered in agates, and the hiking trails up along the park’s escarpment are equally striking natural features. Don’t forget to reserve a spot for your campervan ahead of time! Campground Map
- Photo Credit: Cleary Lake Regional Park
If you’re looking for a campsite a little closer to the Twin Cities, consider Cleary Lake Regional Park, in Prior Lake, Minnesota. Located in the south end of the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area, Cleary Lake offers convenient camping, a fishing pier, a swimming beach and several dog-friendly areas, all just a 35-minute drive from Minneapolis’ city center! Campervan approved sites are limited so make sure to check availability and plan ahead.
The Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness is one of the nation’s best-preserved pieces of wilderness. Stretching up along the Canadian border, the Boundary Waters offer unparalleled fishing and canoeing opportunities. While many people associate the Boundary Waters exclusively with canoe-in campsites, it is possible to find a place to sleep without leaving the comfort of dry land. The Sawbill Lake Campground offers vehicle camping opportunities, among others.
Minnesota offers a number of exciting camping opportunities for people hoping to escape the city and get outside. If you’re looking for a place to enjoy the state’s iconic lake life this summer, consider visiting one of these five enthralling sites.
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