Best Campgrounds in Minnesota: 21 Magical Campsites

Planning a camping trip to the North State? Our guide introduces 21 of the best campgrounds in Minnesota and provides information on nearby attractions, including hiking trails, historical sites, and more!

Jolanda Lapegna Avatar
Written by: | Reviewed by: Kieran James Cunningham
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The challenge of camping in Minnesota? Selecting the perfect spot! With numerous state parks, national forests, and pristine wilderness to explore, you’d need at least 10,000 days to experience all the natural beauty of “The Land of the 10,000 Lakes.”

Plan your next outdoor adventure with our guide covering everything from luxurious RV parks to secluded primitive campsites. Furthermore, discover the best local attractions, hiking trails, and relaxing spots at each Minnesota campsite.

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Where Is The Best Camping In Minnesota?

In our opinion, the best campsites in Minnesota are shortlisted below.

  1. Woodenfrog Campground, Kabetogama State Forest
  2. Gull Lake Recreation Area
  3. Afton State Park Backpack Sites
  4. Lakeview Campground, Father Hennepin State Park
  5. Eagle Cliff Campground
  6. Split Rock State Park Cart-In Campgrounds
  7. Jay Cooke State Park
  8. Portsmouth Campground, Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area
  9. Cedar Hill Campground, Whitewater State Park
  10. Fall Lake Campground, Boundary Waters Canoe Area
  11. Wild River State Park Campground
  12. Itasca State Park
  13. Camp Holiday Resort & Campground, Turtle Lake
  14. Fall Lake Campground, Superior National Forest
  15. Stony Point Campground, Chippewa National Forest
  16. Grand Marais Campground & Marina
  17. Lake Maria State Park
  18. Ann Lake Campground
  19. Voyageurs National Park
  20. Lake Vermilion-Soudan Underground Mine State Park
  21. Gooseberry Falls State Park
Lake Kabetogama in Voyageurs National Park, Minnesota
Rustic lakeside camping in Kabetogama State Forest.

1. Woodenfrog Campground, Kabetogama State Forest

If you prefer rustic, lakeside camping, then Woodenfrog Campground is one of the best tranquil camping spots in Minnesota. All its campsites are situated near Kabetogama Lake, providing ample opportunities for kayaking, canoeing, and fishing in the scenic surroundings.

For those looking for a little R&R, the pine-covered shoreline offers the perfect spot to go for a swim or soak up some rays. 

Kabetogama is a state forest, meaning you’ll save quite a few bucks on-site fees. The campground features 61 spacious but primitive sites with just the bare necessities. This includes pit toilets, fire rings, and picnic tables. All the sites are first-come, first-served, and they’re known to book up fast, so get there early! 

Gull Lake minnesota
History, geology, and unspoiled nature combine in the Gull Lake Recreation Area to offer one heck of an outdoor adventure! 

2. Gull Lake Recreation Area

The Gull Lake Recreation Area showcases Minnesota’s stunning scenery and encompasses the largest inland lakes that make up the Gull Chain of Lakes. The entire area was formed by an advancing glacier that fought its way southward from Canada, sculpting the landscape as it made its voyage. The result is an area of vast geological importance and natural beauty. 

The Gull Lake Campground is popular for its wooded campsites, all with electric hookups, picnic tables, and fire rings. Other campground amenities include centrally located showers, a boat ramp, and plenty of playgrounds. 

Afton State Park Minnesota
Remote camping at its finest in Afton State Park!

3. Afton State Park Backpack Sites

Afton State Park offers almost 30 miles of horse riding, hiking and biking trails to explore! The park’s 27 campsites are pack-in only but situated less than a mile from the parking lot for convenience. For those preferring not to carry their gear, cabin or yurt rentals are available.

If you love your camping quiet and rustic, it’s hard to beat these spacious campsites. Each one is nestled in the woods and located so far apart from one another you’ll be left wondering if you’re all alone amongst the trees. Afton State Park Campground amenities include fire rings, picnic tables, potable water, and pit toilets. 

Lake Mille Lacs Minnesota
Lakeside camping with easy access to swimming and a network of awesome hiking trails in Father Hennepin State Park.

4. Lakeview Campground, Father Hennepin State Park

Lakeview Campground, located within Father Hennepin State Park, offers a chance to immerse yourself in the diverse and stunning environment that once captivated Father Louis Hennepin — a 17th-century priest, who documented the beauty of the Mille Lacs area in great detail.

Explore everything from sandy beaches and lush forests to intriguing bogs and swamps, and appreciate the wild, rugged landscape for yourself.

The camp features both electrical and non-electrical sites. You’ll have easy access to Lake Mille Lacs thanks to two boat ramps, a fishing pier, and several places to moor your boat. Amenities include seasonal showers, a playground, and flush and vault toilets.

Root River Minnesota
Eagle Cliff Campground is one for the water sports lovers!

5. Eagle Cliff Campground

Located just outside the city of Lanesboro, Eagle Cliff Campground offers family fun for every type of camper. Positioned along the picturesque Root River, the campground facilitates a range of water activities such as swimming, tubing, canoeing, and kayaking.

Eagle Cliff offers a variety of campsites to choose from, including riverside tent camping, full hookup sites, and even a five-room motel. The campground is jam-packed with comfort-enhancing amenities. These include clean restrooms and showers, an on-site ATM, a game room, a canoe launch, and complimentary Wi-Fi all over the camp.

Split Rock Lighthouse, Minnesota
Facing Lake Superior is the nearby, scenic Split Rock Lighthouse.

6. Split Rock State Park Cart-In Campgrounds

Embark on a rugged adventure at Split Rock State Park Cart-In Campground, located on the north shore of Lake Superior. In winter, traverse the well-kept snowshoeing and cross-country skiing trails. Summer offers ample opportunities for swimming and sailing on the lake. Be sure to visit the nearby Split Rock waterfalls, which are especially impressive after periods of abundant rainfall.

The Split Rock Lighthouse State Park Cart-In Campgrounds are located approximately 2,000 feet from the parking lot, so you’re in for a bit of walking. Hauling along your stuff is well worth it to enjoy the wild and rugged wilderness that surrounds Lake Superior. 

Campsites can be booked up to a year in advance so try and snag one of the coveted spots on the lakeside part of the campground.

Jay Cooke State Park
Jay Cooke State Park is home to some of the best hiking trails in the state.

7. Jay Cooke State Park

Jay Cooke State Park stands out as Minnesota’s premier destination for combined camping and hiking adventures, offering a variety of campsites and featuring over 50 miles of trails across 8,000 acres. Don’t miss the iconic swinging bridge over the St. Louis River or walk along a part of the historic Grand Portage Trail. 

Jay Cooke State Park Campground features over 80 campgrounds ranging from full-hookup RV camping sites to walk-in sites perfect for tent camping. Look forward to amenities like hot showers, flush toilets, and picnic areas. Camper cabins are also available for rent.

Huntington Mine Lake, Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area, Minnesota
Portsmouth Campground in Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area is our favorite destination in the state for winter camping trips.

8. Portsmouth Campground, Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area

The Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area offers an awesome winter camping experience. 

Rent a yurt and stay nice and toasty warm thanks to a cozy, wooden stove or head out to the backcountry for some snowshoeing or cross-country skiing. And if you visit during the peak season, you’ll find miles and miles of hiking and mountain biking trails to keep you occupied! 

The Portsmouth Campground features 18 electric and 15 non-electric sites. Amenities include all the usuals like showers, restrooms, picnic areas, and fire rings. The quaint little town of Crosby is also nearby in case you need to stock up on anything. 

Whitewater River Minnesota
Cedar Hills is of the most popular campgrounds in the state, and with good reason! Hiking opportunities abound, and there’s plenty more fun to be had on the Whitewater River.

9. Cedar Hill Campground, Whitewater State Park

Whitewater State Park houses Cedar Hill Campground, renowned as one of Minnesota’s top camping destinations. This park is a favorite among adventurers seeking a break. Embark on a morning journey along the bluff-lined hiking trails leading to Inspiration Peak, and upon completing this strenuous hike, you’ll be greeted with breathtaking views of the vibrant river valley below.

If you’re still in need of more outdoorsy fun when done with that, go tubing down the Whitewater River or head to Trout Run Creek and try to catch dinner. 

Boasting everything from primitive sites to pull-through electric sites, you’ll feel right at home thanks to showers, restrooms, and sheltered picnic areas. Don’t miss out on the Whitewater State Park Visitor Center just a short walk from the camp! 

Boundary Waters Canoe Area, Minnesota
The Boundary Waters Canoe area offers modern camping on the doorstep of one of the wildest portions of the nation as a whole.

10. Fall Lake Campground, Boundary Waters Canoe Area

Visit Northeast Minnesota for a retreat in one of the North State’s most stunning and secluded regions, and stay at Fall Lake Campground in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area. Boundary Waters, once named as one of National Geographic’s “50 Places of a Lifetime,” offers an extraordinary natural beauty that truly needs to be seen to be believed.

The Boundary Waters Canoe Area extends 150 miles across the U.S./Canadian border. It offers unparalleled access to Minnesota’s vast and varied natural environments, including over 1,000 lakes, rivers, and streams. 

Boundary Waters Canoe Area is also Minnesota’s first designated ‘Dark Sky Sanctuary’ making it the perfect spot to see the Northern Lights. Catching the Northern Lights is notoriously tricky, but the dark and vast skies of fall and winter offer up your best chances! 

You’ll need a special permit to spend the night here but, thankfully, you can gain direct access to Boundary Waters Canoe Area from Fall Lake Campground. This modern campground offers showers, flush toilets, and a playground. 

St Croix River, Minnesota
Wild River State Park offers basic amenities at the campground, but bountiful opportunities for outdoorsy fun.

11. Wild River State Park Campground

Wild River State Park Campground, situated by the tranquil and picturesque St Croix River—one of the initial eight National Wild and Scenic Rivers—is teeming with wildlife, providing birdwatchers ample opportunities to observe species such as bluebirds, grouse, woodcocks, and eagles.

With over 6,000 acres of state park to explore, the hiking trails are plentiful! At the heart of the park’s 25-mile trail system is the park’s visitor center. Learn more about the park’s history, take part in interactive wildlife displays or enjoy one of the year-round naturalist programs available. 

Pitch or park in any of the 90+ available campsites along the St Croix River. At the Wild River State Park Campground, amenities are basic. Half the sites provide electricity and all of them have a picnic table and fire ring. 

Itasca State Park Minnesota
Itasca State Park is home to 100 lakes, dozens of miles of hiking trails, multiple historic sites, and the pleasant, well-maintained Bear Paw Campground.

12. Itasca State Park

Founded in 1891, Itasca State Park is Minnesota’s first state park, designated as a natural national landmark, and encompasses 81 campsites. The park features the headwaters of the mighty Mississippi River; ensure to visit before the river embarks on its extensive journey to the Gulf of Mexico.

The park is jam-packed with other must-see highlights. These include historic sites, guided history and wildlife boat tours, fishing on one of Itasca State Park’s 100 lakes, or meandering down any of the 49 miles of hiking trails. 

Once you’re properly tuckered out from all that outdoorsy fun, catch some zzz’s at the Bear Paw Campground. You’ll find 81 RV and tent camping sites along with all the usual state park amenities you’ll need to enjoy your trip. 

13. Camp Holiday Resort & Campground, Turtle Lake

Minnesota, the “Land of 10,000 Lakes,” is home to numerous bodies of water, yet Turtle Lake stands out for its peaceful serenity, offering opportunities to camp at the Camp Holiday Resort.

Anglers aren’t going to want to forget their rods since the lake is well-known for its largemouth bass fishing. The lake’s crystal-clear waters and sandy beach make it the ideal spot for swimming or relaxing. 

If fishing isn’t your thing, don’t worry. The many secluded bays along the shores of the lake provide ample opportunity to catch sight of local residents like black bears, deer, moose, and waterfowl. 

With 12 camping cabins, a seven-bedroom lodge, and over 40 campsites, there’s plenty of room at the Camp Holiday Resort. This family-friendly resort offers lots to do and see including beaches, docks, a playroom, camp-wide Wi-Fi, playgrounds, and more. 

Falls Lake Minnesota
The Fall Lake Campground in Super National Forest is one of the best rustic campgrounds in the state and next to the beautiful Falls Lake.

14. Fall Lake Campground, Superior National Forest

Northern Minnesota, known for its wilderness, hosts some of the state’s finest rustic campgrounds, with Superior National Forest’s Fall Lake Campground being the standout option.

Fall Lake Campground is a modern campground nestled in the heart of wild and rugged landscape. Campsites include everything from boat-in-only primitive spots to fancy, full-hookup RV sites. 

What really makes Falls Lake Campground shine is its proximity to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. Because you need a special permit to stay overnight in Boundary Waters, it’s easier to stay at Fall Lake and just paddle over for a visit. 

Kabekona Bay, Leech Lake, Minnesota
Stony Point Campground boasts forty-four sites with direct access to Leech Lake, hundreds of miles of hiking trails, and some of the state’s best fishing.  (Photo by Greg Gjerdingen / CC BY 2.0)

15. Stony Point Campground, Chippewa National Forest

Stony Point Campground offers 44 campsites, all with access to the stunning Leech Lake and its swimming beach in Chippewa National Forest.

Get ready for some relaxing R&R on the shores of Leech Lake. The lake is just one of the many bodies of water in Chippewa National Forest. Chippewa is filled with more lakes and wetlands than any other national forest in the US! If you feel like stretching your legs, adventure down any of the 290 miles of hiking and mountain biking trails. 

Get out on the water via the boat ramp or one of two harbors, or just kick back and enjoy the peaceful scenery. Amenities here include flush toilets, hot showers, and a playground.

Artists Point at Grand Marais, Lake Superior, Minnesota
Grand Marais Campground & Marina offers 300 campsites with a full spectrum of prices and settings, all of them within walking distance of the mighty Lake Superior. 

16. Grand Marais Campground & Marina

Explore Grand Marais Campground & Marina for a nature retreat with easy access to the comforts of the big city. Nestled between a harbor and Lake Superior’s shores, this location offers the best of both worlds: immersive nature experiences during the day and city conveniences at night, with numerous restaurants and shops nearby.

The campground is massive and features over 300 campsites. These range from primitive spots to full-hookup lakeview sites. Enjoy the finer things in life with amenities such as clean bathhouses, discount green fees, playgrounds, a softball field, and boat service to Isle Royale National Park. 

Lake Maria Minnesota
Lake Maria State Park offers a pleasant wilderness area within easy driving distance of Minneapolis–Saint Paul.

17. Lake Maria State Park

Lake Maria State Park is one of the last refuges of ‘The Big Woods,’ an extensive, dense forest of maple, oak, and basswood trees that used to cover Minnesota, with foliage so thick that sunlight hardly reached the ground. Today, visitors flock to this picturesque park to enjoy hiking, rock climbing, and horseback riding.

If you’re looking for the perfect weekend getaway close to the Twin Cities, try Lake Maria State Park Campground. The walk-in and primitive campsites offer a rustic and secluded escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. Be prepared to stretch your legs as each campsite is at least a mile away from the parking lot! 

Ann Lake Minnesota
Peaceful camping on one of the Lower Peninsula’s most pristine lakes at Ann Lake Campground.

18. Ann Lake Campground

For those who prefer a rugged and primitive camping experience, Anne Lake Campground, with its minimal amenities, provides a genuine return to nature.

The campground lies on the shores of Lake Ann, the perfect spot for some swimming or panfishing. Be sure to get there early, though, because these first-come, first-served sites book up fast.

Sunset at Voyageurs National Park Minnesota
At Voyageurs National Park all the campsites are only accessible by boat, but each one is well worth the effort required to get there!

19. Voyageurs National Park

With 50 group campsites, the 220,000 acres of endless Wilderness in Voyageurs National Park is a camper’s paradise.

The vast and scenic Voyageurs National Park is an outdoor-lover’s paradise. Its highly diverse landscapes include mighty cliffs, wetlands, forests, streams, and four major lakes. Visit the park in the right season and you might even catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights! 

Land lovers, find your sea legs, because all the campgrounds in the Voyageurs National Park are only accessible by boat. Both frontcountry and backcountry sites are available and you’ll require a permit for either one. Winter camping spots are also available and can be reached by either foot or snowmobile. 

Lake Vermilion Minnesota
Explore an underground iron mine, hike the Mesabi Trail, take a dip in Lake Vermilion, or just kick back at one of the park’s 50 peaceful campsites.

20. Lake Vermilion-Soudan Underground Mine State Park

History buffs looking to geek out a little during their Minnesota adventure will love Lake Vermilion State park.

How cool does exploring an underground mine sound? The park’s biggest attraction is its underground tour of the Soudan Mine, an underground iron mine that was active from 1892 to 1962. Other local activities include swimming and fishing on Lake Vermilion, or hiking the nearby Mesabi Trail. 

Vermilion Ridge Campground hosts 50 campsites and eight cabin rentals. Two additional boat-in campsites are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Expect to find all the usual state park amenities like showers, restrooms, and picnic areas. 

Gooseberry Falls Minnesota
Enjoy plenty of fun recreational activities and lakeside camping at Gooseberry Falls State Parrk on the North Shore of Lake Superior.

21. Gooseberry Falls State Park

Gooseberry Falls State Park, a favorite among campers along Lake Superior’s north shore, promises a wealth of natural splendor and a plethora of enjoyable activities. Allocate ample time to explore the stunning waterfalls, engage with exhibits at the Visitor Center, or participate in an interpretive program to delve into the park’s rich history and diverse wildlife.

You’ll find plenty of North Shore overnight accommodation options, but few as fantastic as Gooseberry Falls Campground. The camp is located right on the Lake Superior shoreline, so book early to snag one of the coveted lakeside sites. With 69 spacious campgrounds, there’s plenty of room, but you’ll want to make sure to book ahead of time during the peak season. 

Best Campgrounds in Minnesota!

We hope that our list of our favorite 21 campgrounds has helped you plan for your next adventure. With landscapes ranging from roaring river valleys to peaceful prairies, Minnesota is truly an outdoor lover’s paradise.

No matter where you decide to pitch or park, the North Star State offers boundless wilderness just waiting to be discovered!

If you have any questions or comments, don’t hesitate to leave a comment below. And don’t forget to follow us on social media for more trip inspiration!

Further Reading

Last update on 2024-05-22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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Jolanda Lapegna Avatar

Jolanda is a full-time writer and life-long outdoor enthusiast. Growing up on a small island off the Eastern Canadian coast, she spent most of her childhood hiking, swimming and fishing in the Atlantic ocean.

After a short stint in the corporate world, Jolanda quit her day job to write full-time and check out what lies beyond the Canadian shores. Ever since, she’s been hiking, biking and kayaking her way across 11 European countries and counting.

Jolanda currently lives in the beautiful, Tuscan countryside. When she isn’t hanging out in the woods or at the beach, you’ll catch her foraging for mushrooms and truffles with her truffle-dog, Red.

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