Sometimes you just need to GTFO of town and spend some time around a bonfire eating hotdogs and some cheap beer, ending the night in a tent. It sounds counterintuitive, but it can be so restorative. And for those of us who can’t take a fancy vacation, this is an easy and affordable way to score some respite on a budget, whether you prefer full-on backpack camping or something a little more like glamping.
The following is a starting point for those who like to become one with nature during the summer months.
Afton State Park
Guys, they have yurts here. You can rent a yurt. The park also has 28 all-season backpack camping sites, lodges, canoe loading, and more. 6959 S. Peller Ave., Hastings; 651-436-5391; dnr.state.mn.us.
Baker Park Reserve
More than 200 public campgrounds and group campsites, electrical hookups are available at some sites. 2309 Cty. Rd. 19, Maple Plain; 763-694-7662; threeriversparks.org.
Banning State Park
Featuring 33 drive-in campsites, 11 electric, and one cabin. With canoeing and trails for hiking. Hwy. 23 and I-35, Sandstone; 320-245-2668; dnr.state.mn.us.
Charles A. Lindbergh State Park
Featuring 38 drive-in sites and 15 electric sites. With wildflowers, picnic areas. No reservations necessary. 1615 Lindbergh Dr. S., Little Falls; 320-616-2525; dnr.state.mn.us.
Cleary Lake Regional Park
Public campground includes 20 tent sites, plus two RV sites with full hookups. 18107 Texas Ave., Prior Lake, 763-694-7777; threeriversparks.org.
Crow-Hassan Park Reserve
Group campsites that also accommodate the horse buddies in your life. 12595 Park Dr., Hanover; 763-694-7860; threeriversparks.org.
Interstate State Park
Featuring backpack campsites, accessible campsites, horse campsites, water campsites, and all kinds of other options. 1275 State Hwy. 35, St. Croix Falls, WI; 715-483-3747; dnr.wisconsin.gov.
Lake Auburn Campground
This 57-site “rustic” campground features a beach, play equipment, miles of trails, and other park amenities. 7290 Victoria Dr., Victoria; 763-694-1112; threeriversparks.org.
Lake Maria State Park
Lake Maria features three heated log cabins; 17 secluded backpack sites, available year-round. 11411 Clementa Ave. NW, Monticello; 763-878-2325; dnr.state.mn.us.
Minnesota Valley State Recreational Area
With hiking, horse trails, 25 drive-in campsites, eight walk-in sites. This park links Fort Snelling State Park with the Minnesota Valley Wildlife Refuge. 19825 Park Blvd., Jordan; 952-259-5774; dnr.state.mn.us.
Sakatah Lake State Park
With hiking, biking. More than 60 drive-in and RV campsites, 14 with electricity. 50499 Sakatah Lake State Pk. Rd., Waterville; 507-362-4438; dnr.state.mn.us.
Temperance River State Park
With rock climbing, hiking, fishing. 52 drive-in sites, 18 with electricity, and six cart-in sites. 7620 West, MN-61, Schroder; 218-663-7476; dnr.state.mn.us.
Tettegouche State Park
With scenic waterfalls, hiking, rock climbing. More than 25 drive-in and RV sites, 13 cart-in sites, and six walk-in sites. 5702 Hwy. 61, Silver Bay, 218-353-8800; dnr.state.mn.us.
Wild River State Park
Canoeing, self-guided trails, hiking. 96 drive-in and RV sites (34 with electricity), seven backpack sites, six heated camping cabins with screened porches and electricity, and one guest house are located on 6,000 acres of state park. 39797 Park Tr., Center City, 651-583-2925; dnr.state.mn.us.
With canoe and boat rentals, fishing, bike trails, and more. N. 1499 State Hwy 22, Montello, WI; 608-297-2002; wildernesscampground.com.
William O’Brien State Park
Featuring 120 drive-in sites, 77 electric. The park features trails for hiking and bird-watching. 16821 N. O’Brien Tr., Marine-on-St. Croix, 651-433-0500; dnr.state.mn.us.
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