Minnesota camping. Action verbs abound!
Start your camping in Minnesota adventure here!
Whether you pitch a tent, pull a travel trailer with your SUV, or cruise cross-state in a luxurious RV, Minnesota camping offers endless outdoor adventures! Heck, many places even have cabins for rent, so you don't have an excuse for not getting out there.
You're going to need a thesaurus to describe the beauty you'll find at our Minnesota campsites. Charming, delightful, appealing, engaging, gorgeous, stunning, wonderful, marvelous, magnificent, spectacular, lovely, sensational, heavenly, and glorious only begin to describe what you'll find. Seriously.
Open up that dictionary as well because action verbs abound when we go camping in Minnesota. Hiking, biking, rock climbing, camping, swimming, fishing, boating, birding, horseback riding, skiing, and yes, even relaxing! Minnesota camping provides four seasons of family fun.
Camping In Minnesota. A right of Passage?
When I talk about rights of passage, Minnesota camping is right up there along with going "up north," fishing, and the Minnesota State Fair. "How's that," you say? You need more specifics, right?
Growing up, most of my best childhood memories are from going camping in the summer. Dad, Mom, my brother and I (and our dog) would hop in the van and usually go off to one of the nearest Minnesota State Parks.
Once we arrived, exploring was the number one goal for my brother and I. We always loved to find the nearest rock formation to conquer or trail to hike. Just the thought of hopping on a trail and not knowing what was around the corner was enough to keep us busy for hours.
The rest of the weekend usually was spent fishing, playing games, bike riding, hiking, or attending one of the many interpretive programs that are often going on.
Biased AND Proud?
The State parks in Minnesota are truly diamonds in the rough. We're biased, but us Minnesotans think we have the best state park system in the country.
Now that the boys are getting older, we're passing on our love of camping to them as well. Some of our favorites places for Minnesota camping are the North Shore, Itasca, St. Croix, William O'Brien, and Jay Cooke State Parks. Truthfully, it's hard to pick just one favorite though. With so many interesting places, it's fun to pick a different campground each time out.
Most recently, our Minnesota camping adventures have taken us to Wild River, St. Croix, Jay Cooke, and Mille Lacs Kathio State Parks.
At Jay Cooke the boys loved going over the swinging suspension bridge that spanned the rushing St. Louis River, exploring the Pioneer Cemetery, or rock climbing at the Thomson Dam and river gorge. The kids are a bit young to go white water rafting, but before I know it, we'll be out there too!
Landing the 'BIG' One!
At St. Croix the boys loved checking out the river and exploring the cliffs and rocks, while at Wild River we rented a canoe and did some fishing on the St. Croix River. The oldest son caught a small two pound walleye and I caught an even smaller one. Both were tossed back to be caught another day. Son number two, unfortunately struck out in landing a "big one."
We had a great time this summer at Mille Lacs Kathio as well. We explored the archaeological areas that make this park a National Historic Landmark. The Mdewekanton Dakota people first and then the Ojibwe Indians lived along the shores of Ogechie Lake and the Rum River and left behind traces of their lives. It was fun to imagine what life was like so many years ago.
Memories for a Lifetime
One of the other highlights was a steep, breezy, climb to the top of the 100-foot tall observation/fire tower that looked out across the beauty of Mille Lacs Lake. Everyone made the climb including Geri and the two oldest boys. I made the climb with infant son number three on my back in a hiking pack! Good thing those knees held up, 'cause it was a long way down!
I remember the first time my father took my brother and I up in a fire tower back when I was about eight years old, or so. Those memories have stuck with me all these years. I hope that one day my boys will tell their boys when 'Grandpa Chris' took them up a fire tower when they were little. No video game could ever do that.
Minnesota Nice Run Amok
Want to know one more great thing about Minnesota camping? The friendliness of the people you meet. It's like that boating commercial where everyone waves at everyone else.
After the weekend at Kathio State Park, we were approached by a family interested in checking out our travel trailer. That's the great thing about Minnesota camping, people tend to be very friendly and willing to talk to strangers. Just go up and say "Hi." Funny thing was, we were at the dump station in town! I guess I looked safe enough to approach with a water hose in hand! LOL!
The family we met wanted some information about our camper without having to look at every travel trailer in Minnesota. They had thought about purchasing a hybrid rv, but didn't want to get a huge sales pitch while trying to get a straight answer from a salesman. The only pitch I gave them was to visit The Minnesota Vacation Guide! Hey! There they are now! Nice to see you again, glad you could make it.
Keeping It Real
As the boys get older, the time constraints grow larger. Minnesota camping is a priority to us and we wish to keep it that way. Life may get busy, but we will continue to make time for family and camping. Geri and I know that the memories we create now will last a lifetime for the boys. Memories created by spending time at Minnesota campsites will be something they can pass to their children, and their children's children as well.
We hope you take the time to do some Minnesota camping. We'll see you on the trails!
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