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Exploring Minnesota State Parks

Updated on January 30, 2017

The Best Minnesota State Parks

Minnesota boast 68 state parks with 7 state recreation areas, 8 state waysides, and 22 state trails. Attracting over 8.5 million visitors a year, Minnesota State Parks system is the second oldest in the nation. Outdoor activities, such as camping, fishing, hiking, biking, jet skiing, boating, rock climbing and much more, are a favorite pastime for many Minnesotans as well Minnesota State Parks is one of the most popular tourist attraction. Although every Minnesota State Parks have their own unique charm and characteristic, here is a list of the best Minnesota state parks for the following outdoor activities:


Itasca State Park - great for drive-in sites, cart-in sites even for motor homes, off the beaten path roads, and backpack camping grounds that goes deep in the woods.

Split Rock Lighthouse State Park - great for spacious camping grounds yet still allow privacy and a spectacular view of Lake Superior.

Lake Maria State Park - great for hike-in log cabins located right by the lakes in a peaceful ans serene environment.


Whitewater State Park - great place for trout fishing in Minnesota's spring-fed streams during both summer and winter as well is surrounded by scenic limestone cliffs.

Father Hennepin State Park - access to both boat ramp and pier in the Mille Lacs lake area, one of the largest and most popular fishing lakes in the Minnesota

Big Stone Lake State Park - this 30-mile-long lake right by the South Dakota border is a favorite spot for catching walleyes, northerns, and bluegills fishes.

Rock Climbing

Interstate State Park - contain the most climbing routes on the cliffs right by the St. Croix River.

Blue Mounds State Park - Quartzite cliff is a great place for a challenging climb with a beautiful view of the prairie ground.

Tettegouche State Park - great for experienced climbers to climb up a 200-foot cliffs on the North Shore side of the state park.


Fort Snelling State Park - from Minnesota to the Mississippi rivers, these paved trails carry bikers connects to the Twin Cities’ 53-mile Grand Rounds Scenic Byway.

Camden State Park - great for mountain biking as well as connected to the Lake Bronson State Park and the Savanna Portage State Park.

Jay Cooke State Park - great for biking and mountain biking as well as access to 70 mile of paved Willard Munger State Park trail.

Scenic View

Sibley State Park - a great place to check out a panoramic view of prairie and Mount Tom forest.

Cascade River State Park - contain many majestic sights such as the waterfalls, gorge and views of Lake Superior and the North Shore highlands.

Great River Bluffs State Park - great place to perches and view wild animals and barges right by the Mississippi River.


George H. Crosby Manitou State Park - is a back-country hiker’s paradise of beautiful and majestic waterfalls and wildlife.

Buffalo River State Park - contain 12 miles of hiking trails surrounded by wildflower meadows and tree-lined river bottoms.

Afton State Park - contain 20 miles of hiking trails surrounded by hardwood forests, oak savannas, and beautiful prairies.

Minnesota State Park Locations

Itasca State Park:
Itasca State Park, Park Rapids, MN 56470, USA

get directions

Best For Camping

Father Hennepin State Park:
Father Hennepin State Park, 41294 Father Hennepin Park Road, Isle, MN 56386, USA

get directions

Best For Fishing

Interstate State Park:
Interstate State Park, 307 Milltown Road, Taylors Falls, MN 55084, USA

get directions

Best For Rock Climbing

Fort Snelling State Park:
Fort Snelling State Park, 101 Snelling Lake road, West St. Paul, MN 55111, USA

get directions

Best For Biking

Sibley State Park:
Sibley State Park, New London, MN 56273, USA

get directions

Best For Scenic View

George H. Crosby Manitou State Park:
George Crosby Manitou State Park, Silver Bay, MN 55614, USA

get directions

Best For Hiking

Minnesota State Park Waterfalls

Great Minnesota Parks


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