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Explore the North Shore's most stunning State Parks

Minnesota might called the "Land of 10,000 Lakes", but it's got lots of waterfalls too!

  • 9
  • 08:13
  • 396 mi
  • $58

Created by Kampgrounds of America - February 28th 2018

Minnesota is known for a few things: the Mall of America, the Twin Cities, and, of course, its many, many, many lakes. What it should be known for, though, is its state parks. There are a lot, and each is more beautiful than the last. Start in the heart of the North Star State; then cruise through the forests, dotted with lakes big and small, on your way to Minnesota's North Shore along Lake Superior. Enjoy the dense hardwood forests, rocky gorges, and misty cascades along the way!

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Park Rapids, MN

Kick off your journey through the North Shore at Itasca State Park, Minnesota's oldest state park, established in 1891. Perfect to visit any time of year, Itasca Park covers over 32,000 acres, and is home to more than 100 lakes. That's a lotta lakeshore to love! The park is especially colorful during the fall; you won't find its unique views of the changing seasons anywhere else. Whether you're looking to hike dozens of beautiful trails, or kick back and relax at one of the many world-class lodges, Itasca State Park has you covered. FYI: Your visit doesn't count until you walk across the Mississippi River! Oh, and be sure to stop by the Jacob V. Browser visitor center, which is open year-round.

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Bemidji KOA Journey

A trip through Minnesota's state parks demands camping, so book a stay at the Bemidji KOA Journey. With RV, cabin, and tent accommodations, this KOA property can handle whatever you need, all at a reasonable price. Just a stone’s throw from Itasca State Park and the Mississippi River, there’s plenty to explore... and there's plenty to enjoy in the comfort of your campground, too. With a dog park, mini golf, and a comfortable pool, the options are endless. Add in a friendly staff and clean, modern campsites, and it's clear that the Bemidji KOA Journey resort is a no-brainer. The Bemidji KOA Journey property also holds both the Founders Award and President’s Award, given to the properties that best demonstrate the KOA spirit and excellence. Pro tip: On weekends, there’s a pancake breakfast that's not to be missed!


Deer River, MN

Not all parks are created equal, and if you’re looking for the perfect secluded park to enjoy nature and just get away, Schoolcraft State Park checks all the boxes. Quiet and on the less-crowded side, Schoolcraft State Park is home to dozens of well-maintained trails. With boat access, picnic areas and more, there’s plenty to keep you and your entire group busy. And did we mention the gorgeous views of the Mississippi and Vermillion rivers? Plus be sure to keep your eyes peeled for Tundra Swans, Canada Geese, and deer!

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Cloquet / Duluth KOA Journey

It's not often you get to wake up to views of gorgeous Lake Superior while staying at one of the top campgrounds around. But when you book your stay at the Cloquet / Duluth KOA Journey, that's exactly what you'll get. The perfect place for lovers of the outdoors, the Cloquet / Duluth KOA Journey campground has everything you need to enjoy your stay and take in the outdoors. Spend the day rock climbing, biking, golfing or hiking nearby trails... with over 15 acres to explore, you just might have to extend your stay. After a long day out and about, come back to a hot tub and heated pool, perfect ways to relax and prepare for another day of fun.


Carlton, MN

Considered the best state park in Minnesota by many, you definitely don't want to miss the once-in-a-lifetime views at Jay Cooke State Park. With hiking galore and entry to Willard Munger State Trail, Jay Cooke State Park is perfect for bikers, backpackers, and nature enthusiasts. Whether you're visiting in the fall or spring, Jay Cooke State Park will greet you with gorgeous scenery of the lower St. Louis River, and colors you'll have to see to believe. If you're looking for a little adrenaline rush, be sure to check out the insanely fun swinging bridge.

Gooseberry Falls State Park

Nestled quietly on the northern shores of Minnesota, Gooseberry Falls State Park is a year-round destination. Famous for its incredible waterfalls, river views, a dramatic rocky gorge, and Lake Superior setting, it might tempt you to fill your phone with photos. A quick walk takes you to the park's Upper, Middle, and Lower falls, where you can bask in the mist and soak up the scenery. Whether you're looking to hike, fish, cross-country ski or snowshoe, this stop has it all. Be sure to kick off your visit with a stop at the Joseph N. Alexander visitor center.


Silver Bay, MN

Next stop? The beautiful Tettegouche State Park. With six inland lakes and 2.5 miles of Lake Superior shoreline, there's no better place for the perfect day (or three) of hiking and natural beauty. A staple for most locals, Tettegouche State Park has a reputation for being one of the most-visited parks in the state. Whether you're just passing through or making it a core part of your trip, there is plenty to do and explore. Be sure to check out the breathtaking Shovel Point; the 300+ step climb is worth every drop of sweat once you reach the top.

Judge C.R. Magney State Park

Itching for a trek that will challenge the entire group? Look no further than the trail to Devil’s Kettle, located in the heart of Judge C.R Magney State Park, along the Brule River. This mysterious waterfall is the site of an unsolved enigma. As the river forks into two down the cascade, one side empties into a hole... and no one is sure where it lets out! Judge C.R Magney State Park offers incredible views year-round, and each season carries a unique and unforgettable experience. Pitch a tent, spend the day fishing, or get lost in your thoughts while observing the beauty (and mystery) that this park has to offer.


Grand Portage, MN

As your journey through the many wonderful state parks of Minnesota comes to a close, end your trip with an unforgettable stop at Grand Portage State Park. Snuggled in between the US and Canadian border, this area played an important role in American Indian trade. It's not just historical; it's quite beautiful too. With waterfalls, forests and a lakeshore coast, it's no wonder Grand Portage State Park is such a popular destination for locals and tourists alike. As you explore the trails, you can improve your state park knowledge via the dozens of educational signs that guide you through your trek.

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While famous for incredible views of the lakes that surround the state of Minnesota, don't underestimate what else the state parks here have to offer. From gorgeous lakeshore views and the humble start of the Mighty Mississippi, to epic waterfalls hikes and bizarre natural mysteries, a trip to Minnesota will bring excitement-- along with plenty of chances for quiet relaxation in the heart of nature.

Banner Photo Credit: Creative Commons

Kampgrounds of America

Behind the Yellow Sign at KOA, we combine the great outdoors with great service. We offer modern sites, facilities and amenities designed to meet the needs of every kind of camper. And with 500+ campgrounds across North America, it’s easy to find an amazing place for camping fun!