Four seasons of outdoor adventures await campers in the Land o' Lakes.
The land of 10,000 lakes―11,842 to be exact—is a water-logged paradise for anglers, paddlers, and campers. From the shores of Lake Superior to the banks of the Mississippi, you'll never be more than a short drive from a lake campground or a forest hiking trail. Minnesota's distinct seasons afford plenty of opportunities to get outdoors, whether you're hiking or horseback riding through autumnal woodlands, wild swimming in the lakes in summer, or snowshoeing and cross-country skiing through the long winter months. The best weather for a camping trip is from May through October, but you'll find many Minnesota campgrounds open year-round.
Bordered by Canada to the north, and South Dakota and the Red River Valley to the west, northwest Minnesota is home to some of the state's biggest lakes. Grand Rapids and Bemidji are the gateways to the Leech Lake Recreation Area and the Chippewa National Forest, while nearby Itasca State Park lies at the headwaters of the Mississippi River. To the north, two Minnesota state parks border the Lake of the Woods, known for its walleye fishing and winter snowmobiling.
Lush state forests, wetlands, and island-studded lakes blanket the northeastern tip of Minnesota, stretching down from the Canadian border to the north shore of Lake Superior. Minnesota camping is at its wildest out here, whether paddling out to island campsites in Voyageurs National Park, RV camping with full hookups in Superior National Forest, or seeking out a tranquil lake campground in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.
On the banks of the mighty Mississippi River, the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul are launchpads for outdoor adventures in central Minnesota. Some of the region's best campgrounds are just a short drive from the city at Mille Lacs Lake, while Frontenac State Park has a mix of drive-in RV sites and cart-in tent sites along the Mississippi. Further north, there's kayak and canoe camping along the St. Croix River at Wild River State Park, or yurt and camper cabin rentals at Afton State Park.
Glacial plains and scenic river valleys give way to the wooded bluffs of the Mississippi River in southern Minnesota. Rochester, Mankato, and Winona provide easy access to the south, where highlights include aptly named Great River Bluffs State Park, Whitewater State Park, and Minneopa State Park, home of Minnesota's tallest waterfall. In the far southwestern corner, Blue Mounds State Park is known for its soaring cliffs—a hotspot for rock climbing—and free-roaming bison.