The Land of 10,000 Lakes is also notable for its likewise numerous assortment of trails and campgrounds for avid lovers of the great outdoors. Minnesota has many diverse natural environments to explore all across the state. While there are lots of spots to choose from, here are a couple especially neat sites to consider for your next foray when camping in Minnesota.
Part of the massive Dulux Complex rock formation, Eagle Mountain stands at a whopping 2,301 feet, the highest point of elevation in the state. Isolated from higher ground for hundreds of miles and overlooking several different lakes and a vast forest, the peak offers excellent opportunities to take a bird’s eye view of Minnesota’s rich natural beauty.
In addition to the campsites adjacent to Whale Lake, there are also many trails that run along the mountain, through the woods, and beside the lakes. Just keep in mind that Eagle Mountain’s trails overlap with the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, so be sure to get a BWCAW permit if you plan to cross over. Plus, you need an overnight permit from the Forest Service in nearby Tofte, MN.
The starting point for the grand Mississippi River, Lake Itasca, rests within Itasca State Park. The park hosts a variety of camping amenities such as lodges and internet access. You can also stop at the Mary Gibbs Mississippi Headwaters Center to learn more about the lake and its link to the Mississippi. Or you can check out the University of Minnesota’s Itasca Biological Station and Laboratories campus.
In addition to excellent camping facilities, Lake Itasca has many other outdoor sights and activities for visitors to explore. Multiple trails snake by the shores of the lake and into the adjacent wilderness, and it’s definitely a great place to experience the beauty of Minnesota’s northern ecosystems. Plus, you can go fishing at the lake, assuming you have the necessary permits.
With so many different campsites and trails throughout Minnesota’s diverse natural environments, there’s bound to be one that’s just right for you. Whatever you’re looking for in your camping experience, whether it’s finding deluxe accommodations or exploring unique trails or getting a great view of the landscape, you’re sure to have a blast camping in Minnesota.
Most sites have a view of the water, but this campground has a very specific purpose to this area, and it's not for long term camping. I mean, you can, but there isn't much glamour here.
The good part… They have electric, the bathroom is close, you can take a shower and even do laundry! In the summer, my husband says it's fun to people watch here (he's stayed before), but this time of year, it's quieter. The slips and dock are right in front as well as the camp office. The casino is an easy walk, and since you are so close to the border, you can exchange your money as well (Canadian to USD and vice versa).
We didn't know in advance, but paying for the campground allows you free use of the pool inside the casino!
Now, the ugly party.. The price. It was about $45 for an electric site. I think tents were about $20. While it did come with the amenities mentioned above, there is no privacy at any of the sites. The back row sits against the trees, but that's as good as it gets.
Bottom line, it's a good stopping spot near the border where you can plug in and swim, but not great if you want privacy or upscale.
I'd stay here again, but probably opt for a tent site to save some money if I could make do off the grid.
The staff were very friendly on arrival. Allowed us to pick a preferred spot which is nice. They had a small pool that was to chilly for me but my kids still gave it a shot!!
The restrooms were very clean and the property was well maintained. I would definitely stop here for the evening again if I was driving through.
We love our Boundary Waters Canoe Area to the north of us, and the North shore of Lake Superior to the east, both of which offer some of the best wilderness camping in northern Minnesota. However, they are both a good three hour drive from our home in north central Minnesota. Itasca State Park, between Park Rapids and Bemidji, is our go-to special place when we want to take to the woods for a weekend but only have to drive about a half hour to get there. Most campers at Itasca head for the main campgrounds for standard tent and RV camping…but for a near Wilderness experience, there are 11 remote backpacker campsites which are between 1 and 6 miles trek into the roadless wilderness area of the park south of the parks main loop drive. The Iron Corner Lake remote campsite is one such campsite off on its own in the backcountry, actually by the nexus of the Ozawindib Trail and the North Country National Scenic trail that runs through this part of the park. It is an easy trek in from a small parking area near Josephine Lake, or from a larger parking area at the south entrance of the park. Either trail in goes up and over the Itasca Moraine, so there is some good elevation change along the traild, but not too rugged, and it is really just over a mile that you need to pack in to this campsite. The campsite comes with fire ring and benches, beautiful bed of pine needles for a tent pad, access to a gorgeous crystal clear lake, and a clean three-sided outhouse with a scenic view toward the lake. (No need for a door—its the wilderness! ) You can camp here as a base camp, and then have the chance to hike miles of trails in every direction to dozens of other wilderness lakes in the area. The trails in are both wide, soft, and well maintained so you could easily bring in a kayak ir canoe if you dont mind portaging the distance. Quiet, rustic, pristine, and dark skies at night! Check this page for a description of the MN state park remote campsites with a link to reserve one: https://www.dnr.state.mn.us/state_parks/remote_camping.html and check this link for info on the Itasca State Park overall https://www.dnr.state.mn.us/state_parks/park.html?id=spk00181#homepage
Large sites. Great tubing and canoeing.
We camped here last minute when the rain held off and we could only find this campground with availability. We haven’t done much camping at Regional Parks but this park did not disappoint! Our “hike in” spot was very close to the car but hidden in a forest. Gorgeous spot. We walked around and looked at all the other sites and each was unique and pretty. I would have liked staying at any of the sites. Cleary Lake is a good size and a kayakers delight! The park also has a golf course and is very well kept! We really want to use one of the large group camp sites for a weekend party!
One of my favorite parks to cart into. The site office is very big and accommodating. There is a small gift shop with coffee and small conveniences. The carts are usually busted. Be prepared for that. The trails are groomed. You will need to hike in wood and water. Unless you have site J or K, the other sites are not beach level. Site H is visible from the trail. People can see everything and you can see them. It is close to the bathroom. Site H has a concrete slab that the picnic table rests on. There are metal railings that are broken. Do not lean on them. There are a few wood steps that lead closer to the cliff edge. There is some flat surface. I placed my tarp and netting here. There is a beautiful view towards the south west. This is not the tent pad. There is enough tree coverage for rain and wind. You can still see the stars. The cart out and in is about 20 minutes. Very easy. You can not see between sites, which is nice. I would still stay here again.
Very well maintained property, beautiful location right on the lake. Clean showers and bathrooms, nice little store, playground for the kids, clean swimming beach, this place has it all! The family that runs the place is awesome and very helpful, we love it and will definitely be back!
We pulled in later and pick it based on a previous review. Easily found a spot by the lake and woke to a pleasant midwestern vista. There are 3 tiers of sites, most are hook up sites for larger RV's. But they do have primitive sites for $15. Which we couldn't find in the dark lol. Showers and toilets well maintained- good safe feeling spot to pull in when you are putting in the miles.
Lots of great camp sites available and awesome hiking. Bathrooms were clean so that was a plus. It’s a little annoying that you can only park one vehicle at your site when there was room for 3 or more. The other parking lot isn’t close or safe to walk to in the dark. I really wish you would have just charged us for 2 cars.
We prefer to use this campground later in the year, after baseball season. It can get busy and can have a lot of adults drinking during baseball season. Nice baseball fields, play ground, shelter picnic area, beach with a dock and bathrooms with showers. There electric hook ups, water available but no water hook ups and a dump station. The campsites are not private but roomy enough. Reservations are made at the city liquor store.
We stayed in the lower campground. It is very opened. The campsites are medium size and close together. The bathroom was well taken care of. There are train tracks really close to the campground. The trains didn't seem long nor did they blow the horns. The swimming area looked nice, but it was too cold to use.
I camped at the Baptism campground with my mom and our dogs. The state park is simply beautiful. And so is the campground. The sites are all very private. Some have electricity, some are without. There are even some walk in campsites. The bathhouse with showers and toilets is very clean. A lot of people had campers so I had the feeling it was not used so much. The walk in sites had little vault toilets in the parking lot. From the campground you have the choice of several hiking trails and access to 2 waterfalls. You can also park at the visitor center and enter hiking trails from there. They have a very nice gift shop. Firewood can also be purchased. There are a lot if cool things around the park as well like Split Rock Lighthouse or Gooseberry Falls. I would definitely camp here again. It was a great experience.
I had a love/hate with this campground. They have a great website with pics & details of each . It was super easy to use & reservations were a breeze. The site looked absolutely nothing like the pics ! They also mention water but this site had none. We found that out AFTER booking. But whatever, we had electricity & a full water tank. No sewer either. Price was reasonable. Well cared for site. Roomy. Clean picnic table. Fire ring, no grill grate. Garbage in the pit though, people suck. Not much for privacy between sites. We had site 28, it wasn’t bad . Much better than most ! We were kind of up on a hill above a very overpopulated part of the campground. We scoped our site 30 & would probably dig that if we were to return. We lucked out & had quiet neighbors next to us. Everyone else was out of control noisy. I won’t judge too harshly based of Labor Day weekend, but the crowd here lacked any common courtesy this time around. It was a bummer. Nice paved paths to Redwood Falls. Not much to see once you get there. Too many people. The river was nice but had murky grey water that had a very odd smell. The dogs couldn’t enjoy it. There was a bridge you cross to get to the paths but nowhere designated for pedestrians so you contend with cars. Cute swing bridge along the way though. There was a “zoo” - enclosures containing birds, bison, prairie dogs, goats etc. Maybe it would’ve been ok had parents not stood idly by whilst their children threw apples, over hand, at the poor animals & laughed. It all seemed far too stressful for these poor creatures. There was no one to be found in regards to any keeper. It was all pretty disturbing. People at the campground set off fireworks all day & night causing the peacocks to scream out. Yes you can hear it at the sites. I get this was a municipal park. And actually it was quite nice when everyone left and we were literally the only ones for 2 days. Camping in southwest MN was a new experience. I’d venture to say it would be nice to camp during a weekday. Be warned- there is NOTHING to do & the flies ( non biting houseflies) were abundant!! We had to buy fly strips!! All in all, we’d go back if we were just looking for a quick, closer getaway.
This is a community campground in the city park of a small farming town near the Canadian border. The park is clearly a source of pride for the town, as it is well kept with landscaping, beautiful gardens, great playground, picnic areas, disk golf, and campground with full hookups. It is several hours drive from our home town, and it isnt a place we would go to as a camping destination in and of itself, but we often take long trips up into Canada and if it is late when we are heading home then this is a good stopping point to overnight before going the last few hours drive home. There is also a great Scandanavian restaurant down the block with lots of local ethnic heritage recipes that is a big draw for the region. We have neighbors at home who are originally from this town, and the campground is good for family reunions and other special events. The surrounding area has a lot of moose, so one special event is the annual Moose festival which is worth attending. If you are into birdwatching this is a stop on the Pine to Prairie Birding Trail, just as the nearby Twin Lakes WMA nature preserve is a seasonal stop for migratory birds and waterfowl. The town is also along the “Dancing Waters Scenic Byway” , a scenic road that runs roughly parallel to the Canadian border and is known for views of the northern lights and for great views of the Milky Way in case you are interested in Dark Skies and astronomy.
Disadvantages: the campground is more oriented to RVs than tents; its on first-come first-served basis, which usually isnt a problem but could be on an event weekend; and, unfortunately, a train line with occasional trains does pass by the vicinity which creates some noise.
The campground doesnt seem to have its own website, but here is some info: its $12 a night for campsites, bathrooms available, hookups abailable. Call (218) 436-2178 at the city office if you have more questions. See community website for more info on the town, including the park: http://www.lakesnwoods.com/Karlstad.htm