Several Minnesota state parks and recreation areas—mostly in the northwestern region of the state—still have campsites available for Memorial Day weekend. Parks that had at least a dozen campsites still available for the entire three-day weekend (as of May 16) include:
- Hayes Lake State Park in Roseau, which has a boardwalk through a bog and offers a variety of water recreation, including fishing, swimming and canoeing.
- Kilen Woods State Park in Lakefield, where visitors can hike along the tranquil Des Moines River and find views of the river valley from Dinosaur Ridge Overlook.
- Lac qui Parle State Park in Watson, where visitors can fish for catfish and walleye and explore the “lake that speaks” in a canoe or kayak.
- Lake Bronson State Park, north of Thief River Falls, with the world’s largest jack pine, an observation tower and a swimming beach.
- Red River State Recreation Area in East Grand Forks, where reasons to visit include biking, fishing and campsites with full hookups.
- Rice Lake State Park in Owatonna, a quiet spot to hike or paddle not far from the Twin Cities.
- Schoolcraft State Park in Deer River, where visitors can canoe, fish and picnic amid a virgin pine forest.
- Zippel Bay State Park, on Lake of the Woods, a scenic destination for swimming, fishing and boating.
Additional options are available for one- or two-night stays, for campers willing to hike or paddle to their site, for people camping with friends and relatives who want a group site, and for horse riders seeking equestrian sites.
For anyone without a reservation who might have been hoping to nab a campsite at the last minute, the DNR reminds visitors that you now can—and, since early May, must—make reservations before occupying a site. There are no longer any first-come, first-served sites. The good news for those who like to be spontaneous is that state parks now take same-day reservations with no reservation fee.
“While it may be possible to make reservations at the park, we highly recommend making them in advance,” said Erika Rivers, director of Minnesota state parks and trails. “Then you don’t have to worry about whether the office will be open when you arrive or whether cell phone and Internet service will be available. You can take your time getting to the park with the peace of mind that comes with planning ahead. Once there, you can drive straight to your campsite to begin your weekend fun.”
For day and overnight visitors alike, many naturalist-led programs will take place at state parks and recreations areas during Memorial Day weekend. For more information, check the online calendar of events at www.mndnr.gov/parks or call the DNR Information Center at 651-296-6157 between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.
To make reservations, visit www.mndnr.gov/reservations or call 866-857-2757 (8 a.m.-8 p.m.).