September 7, 2023
Minnesota is best known for its 10,000 lakes (11,842 to be exact), but there is a lot more to this state than just lakes. Home to 67 state parks, Minnesota is great for exploring, checking out waterfalls, hiking, biking, and a plethora of other outdoor activities. Whether you are looking for waterfalls, caves, glistening lakes, or stunning vistas, you will find it at one of these unique parks.
If you are camping in Minnesota this summer, don’t miss out on these 8 beautiful state parks.
1. Gooseberry Falls State Park
Often referred to as the gateway to the North Shore, Gooseberry Falls is best-known for its stunning waterfalls. Bring a picnic along and relax by the river gorge, take pictures of the Upper, Middle, and Lower falls, walk along the Lake Superior shoreline, or take a hike through the forest.
2. Tettegouche State Park
Popular for its many hiking trails, climbing routes, and breathtaking vistas, Tettegouche is a North Shore must-see. Venture to the gorgeous 60-foot High Falls of the Baptism River, take in the views of the Sawtooth Mountains, marvel at the sheer cliffs, watch for wildlife, or walk to a spectacular inland lake.
3. Minneopa State Park
Located in the beautiful Minnesota River Valley, this park boasts lovely waterfalls, short trails, panoramic views, and free roaming bison. Visitors can explore Seppmann Mill, an old grist mill, or hike through native grasslands.
4. Split Rock Lighthouse State Park
Situated on the North Shore of Lake Superior, this park is well-known for Split Rock Lighthouse which sits atop a massive cliff. Hiking is extremely popular here, especially the Gitchi-Gami State Trail, and many of the trails hook up with the Superior Hiking Trail. Swimming and rock skipping are popular at Pebble Beach. Fishing and historical sites are also popular within the park.
5. Blue Mounds State Park
This unique park in southern Minnesota features massive quartzite cliffs, a large herd of bison, and beautiful prairie land. Visitors enjoy biking, hiking, climbing, and birding within the park, as well as watching the bison and enjoying the wildflowers.
6. Judge C.R. Magney State Park
This park is home to the famous Devil’s Kettle Falls, a mysterious two part waterfall created by the Brule River. Half of the river tumbles 50 feet into a pool while the other half of the river disappears into a hole never to be seen again. This is a beautiful place for picnics and many people come here for the fishing and hiking.
7. Forestville/Mystery Cave State Park
This park offers adventure both above and below ground. Mystery Cave remains at a cool 48 degrees throughout the year and features unique underground pools, stalagmites, and stalactites. After a cave tour, explore the old restored 1800 village above ground, hike, go horseback riding, or check out Big Spring.
8. Grand Portage State Park
The main attraction at Grand Portage is High Falls of the Pigeon River, the highest waterfall in the state. The gorgeous scenery here is a photographers dream, and a walk or picnic along the river is a beautiful way to spend an afternoon. In total, the park offers 6 miles of hiking.