Minnesota offers a plethora of 75 state parks and recreation areas across the entire state, giving you the perfect chance to delve into the wonders of nature without straying too far from home. Now that it’s time to hit the road for day trips once more, don’t miss the opportunity to visit the best parks in Minnesota nearby.
With a multitude of state parks and recreation areas scattered all around, discovering the great outdoors has never been easier. So whether you’re looking for a tranquil escape or an adventure-filled day, there’s a park close to home that fits the bill perfectly.
The Best State Parks in MN You Must Visit
Be one with the nature by visiting Minnesota’s top state parks;
Maplewood State Park
Close to Pelican Rapids, there’s a special place called Maplewood State Park. It sits right between forests and prairies, creating a landscape that’s truly one-of-a-kind and stunning. The park is in central Minnesota and has lots of hills. You’ll find more than 25 miles of awesome hiking trails there, where you can see incredible wildlife and enjoy the fantastic views from the hilltops.
One of the best things about the park is the chance to see all kinds of animals. So keep your eyes open as you walk along the trails, and you might spot some fascinating wildlife. And oh, the views from the top of the hills are just breathtaking! You won’t forget the beauty of this special place.
Crow Wing State Park
South of Brainerd, where the Crow Wing River joins the Mississippi, lies a place called Crow Wing State Park. It used to be a vital village for early settlers and traders in Minnesota. While many old buildings are gone now, the park’s recreation area called Old Crow Wing Village lets you learn about the past. Take a stroll along the historical Red River Ox Cart Trail, passing by the Beaulieu House, and discover the fascinating history and the beautiful nature of this Minnesota state park.
Interstate State Park
About an hour’s drive northeast of downtown Minneapolis, you’ll find Interstate State Park nestled along the rushing St. Croix River. This park is a favorite destination for many people, including canoeists, kayakers, hikers, campers, rock climbers, and geologists. The park’s stunning cliffs and fast-flowing river were formed by glaciers retreating over 10,000 years ago.
Now, this area boasts unique rock formations and glacial potholes, making it one of the rarest places on earth. Interestingly, Interstate is one of eight waterways initially chosen as a “National Wild and Scenic River,” and its canoeing and kayaking experiences are widely regarded as some of the best in the country.
Gooseberry Falls State Park
One of the best state parks in Minnesota can be found along the North Shore of Lake Superior. Each park has its own impressive waterfalls, hiking trails, and beautiful views. But as you head north from Duluth, the first and most popular park you’ll encounter is Gooseberry Falls State Park. It gives you a fantastic taste of what the North Shore offers.
If you keep going north (by car or bike), you can explore seven more state parks: Split Rock Lighthouse, Tettegouche, Crosby Manitou, Temperance River, Cascade River, Judge C.R. Magney, and Grand Portage. Each park has its unique charm and attractions waiting to be discovered.
Zippel Bay State Park
In the far northwestern part of Minnesota, you’ll find Zippel Bay State Park, which is special because it sits on Lake of the Woods—one of the world’s biggest lakes and second only to Lake Superior in size here in Minnesota. People call it “the walleye capital of the world” because it’s a legendary spot for anglers who want to catch Minnesota’s state fish, the walleye.
A long wooden fishing pier stretches out into Zippel Bay, giving you lots of room to cast your line. You can also take a boat out on the water to try catching walleye, northern pike, perch, and bullhead. If you prefer sunbathing and swimming, Zippel Bay has over 2 miles of sandy beach along the lake’s shore—a perfect place to relax and have fun.
Which of the Best Minnesota State Parks Do You Wish to Explore?
Explore the wonders of Minnesota’s top state parks, offering a variety of natural delights and outdoor adventures close to home. From the breathtaking views and wildlife encounters at Maplewood State Park to the historical charm of Crow Wing State Park, each destination holds its unique appeal. Interstate State Park’s rare rock formations and Gooseberry Falls State Park’s impressive waterfalls along Lake Superior’s North Shore add to the allure. For anglers and beach lovers, Zippel Bay State Park on Lake of the Woods promises unforgettable experiences. So embrace the beauty of these state parks, offering endless opportunities to connect with nature and make lasting memories.