Minnesota state parks

By: Tasha Cudinski

In Minnesota there are a total of 66 state parks. All state parks have fees for renting campsites or entering the park. In Minnesota the entrance fee is $7 for a day pass or $35 for a year round pass. Camping sites are about $20-$25 a night depending on what type of campsite it is.

The first state park established in Minnesota is Itasca State Park, established in 1891. Itasca is the state park that protects the lake at the head of the Mississippi River, and is the third most visited state park in all of Minnesota. The most visited state parks are Gooseberry Falls, followed by Fort Snelling and then Itasca state park.

The state parks all have lots to do. All state parks have beautiful views of nature and miles of hiking trails to explore, and some even have the option to do activities like boating, fishing, or even swimming. From the rushing waterfalls at Nerstrand and Interstate state park, to the beautiful sandy beaches of the St. Croix River at Afton state park, every state park has something different to find and something new to see.

Minnesota’s state parks are scattered all over the state, but the five state parks closest to St. Paul are: Fort Snelling, Afton, William O’Brien, Interstate, and Nerstrand. All of these parks are less than 60 miles away from St. Paul and would be a good option for a day trip to explore the park. So if you are looking for something to do this weekend, you might want to consider visiting one of these state parks.

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