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25 Best Campgrounds Near Minneapolis MN in 2023

Whether you’re looking to go camping soon or in the next year, you needn’t make the four-hour drive to the Boundary Waters to find a quality place to sleep under the starts. There are tons of camping options within just two hours of Minneapolis for vacationing out of or near your car. With destinations so close by, you can make a quick decision on where to go and have more time for planning all the fun things you’ll do while you’re there.

METRO AREA

Afton State Park: Hastings, MN

This campsite is very popular during the winter. During the nights, visitors can stay in campsites, cabins or yurts and when the sun comes up you can go cross-country skiing, snowshoeing or winter hiking. Nearby are plenty of golf courses and museums. During the summer, there are picnic areas and shelters to enjoy and courts to play volleyball and horseshoes. You can also bring your own canoe or kayak to go out onto the water.

Recent campers say: “Nicely maintained park.” “Excellent state park.” “Can bring dogs on leashes.”

Afton State Park
6959 Peller Avenue South
Hastings, MN 55033
For reservations, please visit the website

Lake Maria State Park: Monticello, MN

Lake Maria State Park is for those who are more interested in a lightly challenging camping experience. It’s about an hour away from Minneapolis, making the trip there easy but it feels far enough you feel removed from everyday life. Campsites and cabins are about a one-mile hike from where you’ll park your car. Walking and hiking trails are forested and winding, and one even brings you on a wooden trail through a marsh. Vault toilets are available and flush toilets are in the Trail Center. During the winter, a pond next to the Trail Center is popular for ice skating. Lake Maria State Park is also known to have a variety of wildlife and is perfect for bird watching.

Recent campers say: “Park has nice hiking trails.” “Calm and quiet.” “Busy on weekends.”

Lake Maria State Park
11411 Clementa Avenue Northwest
Monticello, MN 55362
For reservations, please visit the website

Wild River State Park: Center City, MN

These campsites near the St. Croix River are well spread out, making visitors feel almost as though they are alone with Mother Nature. You can participate in maple syruping or observe trumpeter swans along with many other birds that are either migrating or nesting. Wild River State Park prides itself on having a geocache puzzle so difficult that it is supposedly even harder to find than the Winter Carnival Medallion.

Recent campers say: “The sites are nicely secluded.” “Campgrounds are nice.” “Nice park, easy trails.”

Wild River State Park
39797 Park Trail
Center City, MN 55012
For reservations, please visit the website

Interstate State Park: Taylors Falls, MN

Interstate State Park has around 100 drive-ins, RV and electric sites combined. There are endless activities for all: interesting geological formations such as glacial potholes, rapids for kayakers, cliffs to climb and an abundance of wildflowers. The usual amenities are available to visitors—showers, toilets, picnic areas and a seasonal dump station.

Recent campers say: “Most sites seemed a bit narrow.” “Beautiful park.” “Lovely little park.”

Interstate State Park
Milltown Road
Taylors Falls, MN 55084
For reservations, please visit website

Lake Elmo : Lake Elmo, MN

This beautiful 2,165-acre park reserve is only half an hour away from Minneapolis. Vehicle permits are required for every vehicle upon entrance, but it’s not too pricy. Canoeing, kayaking and other non-motorized boating is allowed, as is swimming. There’s an archery range, twisting trails for hiking and riding horses, and a play area for children. Picnic areas for day use are accessible. Dogs are allowed inside the park but there are restrictions, so make sure to look into the details if you’re thinking about bringing Fido with you.

Recent campers say: “[Sites] were spacious and semi-private.” “Great place.” “Trails are well-maintained.”

Lake Elmo Park Reserve
1515 Keats Avenue North
Lake Elmo, MN 55042
For reservations, please visit the website

William O’Brien State Park: Marine, MN

This campground offers a variety of outdoor activities such as fishing, canoeing and skiing. It’s pleasant and relaxing sitting next to the St. Croix River or on Lake Alice. Another perk of this campground is that equipment for a variety of activities is available to be checked out for free by visitors, making this a great place to try new things.

Recent campers say: “Beautiful parks and campsites.” “Great place to hike, camp, picnic, canoe/kayak.” “Fantastic park.”

William O’Brien State Park
16821 O’Brien Trail N
Marine on St Croix, MN 55047
For reservations, please visit the website

Carver Park Reserve: Victoria, MN

If you’re looking for a camping trip with a lot of educational elements, check out Carver Park Reserve. There are at least six programs for nature education in the area and history exploration at the Grimm Farm Historic Site among other options. This park reserve is open year-round, so whether you prefer boating, geocaching, sledding or snowmobiling, you have options here. It has areas for your dog to run around free of a leash, too.

Recent campers say: “Great campground with lots to do/” “Campground has smaller feel.” “Only gripe is sites are very close together.” 

Carver Park Reserve
7025 Victoria Dr.
Victoria, MN 55386
For reservations, please visit the website

Baker Campground: Maple Plain, MN

This highly rated campground is not only well managed and maintained, but also only half an hour away from Minneapolis. There are over 200 sites and of those, 98 of them have electric hookups. A lot of areas here are wheelchair-accessible. Flush toilets and showers are nearby all of the sites. If you’re hoping to go camping but don’t have an RV or tent, five furnished cabins with electricity, heating and ceiling fans are also available.

Recent campers say: “Great campground with nice facilities.” “Grounds are well cared for, sites have plenty of space.” “Harder to get a reservation.”

Baker Campground
2309 Baker Park Road
Maple Plain, MN 55359
For reservations, please visit the website

Cleary Lake Regional Park: Prior Lake, MN

The Cleary Lake Regional Park has two campgrounds: Red Pine and Basswood. You can reserve a tent site or one of the two RV sites with full hookups up to a year in advance. The regional park has tons of activities year-round, similar to a few other campgrounds in this region of Minnesota, but two standouts are skijoring and dog sledding in the winter on a 1.5-mile-long trail.

Recent campers say: “Paths are wide for walkers.” “Campsites look really nice.” “Great place for family gatherings.”

Cleary Lake Regional Park
18106 Texas Avenue
Prior Lake, MN 55372
For reservations, please visit the website

Lebanon Hills: Apple Valley, MN

The land here is wooded and lake-ridden, which makes it a lot further away than just half an hour south of Minneapolis. The park’s visitor center has educational programs and displays to enjoy. Take your little ones for an educational day trip or stay the night to get away from the hubbub of the city. There’s a laundry facility, onsite caretaker, picnic tables, fire rings and restrooms with showers.

Recent campers say: “Lots of choices for hiking.” “Staff is helpful.” “Well-maintained campground with nice bathrooms.”

Lebanon Hills Campground
12100 Johnny Cake Ridge Road
Apple Valley, MN 55124
For reservations, please visit the website

St. Croix Bluffs: Hastings, MN

This giant park has an abundance of campsites for tents, RVs and cabins. The picnic area has an enclosed picnic shelter, playground, volleyball court and more. The campground is near a swimming beach. so make sure to pack your swimwear and sunscreen. One of the most interesting aspects of this campground are the canoe sites, which are only accessible by watercraft. It might be more difficult to bring your stuff, but it’s definitely something worth trying out.

Recent campers say: “Amazing park, great staff.” “We love to kayak and camp here.” “This is an excellent state park.”

St. Croix Bluffs Regional Park
10191 Saint Croix Trail South
Hastings, MN 55033
Guesthouses: $235+ per night

NORTHEAST REGION

Sandy Lake: McGregor, MN

Because of its history of being on a fur-trading route, this campsite is near a small museum dedicated to the memory of the industry at that time. Among the typical outdoor camping activities, Sandy Lake offers a variety of fish and birds, making it alluring for anglers and birdwatchers alike. There are multiple overnight choices for your stay here: walk-in sites, group camping and cabins.

Recent campers say: “Great recreational lake.” “Great campsite.” “A small, rustic campground.”

Sandy Lake
22205 531st Ln
McGregor, MN 55760
$26+ per night

Moose Lake State Park: Moose Lake, MN

Wooded and secluded, Moose Lake State Park’s campground is around two hours from the Twin Cities. It has great reviews; the only complaints are that sometimes you hear a hum from the highway. The silver lining is the easy access by car. There is a wheelchair-accessible fishing pier, beach for swimming, playground and picnic area with space for sports. Showers, toilets and rental boats are all available for visitors.

Recent campers say: “A little gem.” “Small drive-in campground.” “Variety of campsites.”

Moose Lake State Park
4252 County Road 137
Moose Lake, MN 55767
For reservations, please visit the website

Jay Cooke State Park: Carlton, MN

This campground is in a park rich with history and wildlife. The French fur trade flourished here because the St. Louis River is directly next to it. The park itself suggests that trailblazers visit because of the beautiful hiking areas. The other unique factor of this park is the swinging bridge that suspends you above the St. Louis River.

Recent campers say: “It is a very nice park.” “Gorgeous views.” “So much to do here.”

Jay Cooke State Park
780 Minnesota 210
Carlton, MN 55718
For reservations, please visit the website

SOUTHEAST REGION

Old Barn Resort: Preston, MN

This resort has a golf course and heated pool, both of which are very popular and well maintained. The trails and beautiful sights to be explored will have you waking up early so you can fit in as much as possible. The misty and picturesque golf course is an early morning treat for campers who choose an early tee time. Fire pits are provided in every campsite, hookups are available for RVers, and there are outdoor restrooms nearby.

Recent campers say: “The campground is very well maintained.” “Favorite for fall camping.” “Some sites are unlevel.”

The Old Barn Resort
24461 Heron Rd.
Preston, MN 55965
$40+ per night

Nerstrand Big Woods State Park: Nerstrand, MN

This campground has drive-in and walk-in sites, both of which are easy to get to and either open or wooded. It’s a beautiful campground with a rustic feel. If you’re interested in plant life, there is a wildflower garden that features the endangered dwarf trout lily that is only found here. In fact, the reason this park has boardwalks for trails is in an effort to protect the blossom from being stepped on or disturbed while still allowing people to view them.

Recent campers say: “Great campground.” “Lots of trees even though the campsites are close together.” “Nice, level private sites.”

Nerstrand Big Woods State Park
9700 170th Street East
Nerstrand, MN 55053
For reservations, please visit the website

Forestville/Mystery Cave State Park: Preston, MN

This campsite is known for being the site of Mystery Cave, the longest cave in Minnesota and only two hours away from Minneapolis. The cave has seven tour options, one being the Flashlight Tour, a unique experience you’ll want to try if you’re not afraid of the dark. If you’re planning on going here for the cave, make sure to pack good shoes and warm clothes regardless of the time of year because the cave is a constant 48°F. There are around 100 campsites, some electric, and 55 for people who want to bring their horses with them for the 17-mile horse trail.

Recent campers say: “We had an amazing time.” “A nice quiet campground.” “The park was clean and beautiful.”

Forestville/Mystery Cave State Park
21071 County Highway 118
Preston, MN 55965
For reservations, please visit the website

Whitewater State Park: Altura, MN

This 2,733-acre park has over 100 drive-in campsites and a number of other ways to stay the night. You’ll find several different levels of difficulty for hiking and a relaxing time on a sandy beach or swimming in the water. During the winter, the warming house is a great place to huddle after hiking, snowshoeing or cross-country skiing in the frigid weather.

Recent campers say: “Beautiful park.” “Semi-modern campsites.” “Not a bad camping spot in the park.”

Whitewater State Park
19041 Minnesota 74
Altura, MN 55910
For reservations, please visit the website

Carley State Park: Plainview, MN

This park and campgrounds are exceptionally relaxing and tranquil. Colored with wildflowers in the spring and the rusty range of reds and oranges in the autumn guarantee you won’t get bored with the view here. Located about two hours away from the Twin Cities, it has 20 drive-in sites and two group sites and vault toilets for your comfort.

Recent campers say: “Nice park with potential for more.” “Suggest it for slightly more seasoned campers.” “A nice park for day hiking.”

Carley State Park
Plainview, MN 55964
For reservations, please visit the website

CENTRAL REGION

Crow Wing State Park: Brainerd, MN

Visitors can learn about the history of the area through the educational programs available to everyone here. You’ll find over 50 drive-in campsites and one cabin surrounded by forest. Vault and flush toilets are in the campgrounds here, as are seasonal showers. The one group campsite has a screened-in picnic area and a hand pump for water.

Recent campers say: “Our campsite was really big and nice.” “Beautiful park.” Great trails.”

Crow Wing State Park
3124 State Park Road
Brainerd, MN 56401
For reservations, please visit the website

Mille Lacs Kathio State Park: Onamia, MN

The Mille Lacs Kathio State Park is known for its wildlife and history. There is a fire and observation tower that visitors can climb that climbs 100 feet into the air. It offers you a view that you cannot get at any of the other campgrounds in the two-hour radius of Minneapolis. The park is open year-round, making it a popular place for winter and summer activities alike. With 70 drive-in sites and three pull-through sites, it’s a great option for camping near or in your vehicle.

Recent campers say: “This place was beautiful to camp at.” “Loved our time here.” “Easy access to the hiking trail.”

Mille Lacs Kathio State Park
15066 Kathio State Park Road
Onamia, MN 56359
For reservations, please visit the website

Father Hennepin State Park: Isle, MN

This park is smaller than most other state parks, but it’s described as being quiet and worth coming back. Its wooded campsites are abundant but there are only two bathroom buildings in the park—that said, visitors say they are well maintained. Eagle-eyed guests may also spot one of the the handful of albino deer that live in the area.

Recent campers say: “Great state park to camp at,” “Private campsites.” “Clean bathrooms.”

Father Hennepin State Park
41296 Father Hennepin Park Road
Isle, MN 56342
For reservations, please visit the website

SOUTHWEST REGION

Flandrau State Park: New Ulm, MN

There is a large variety of options for your sleeping arrangements in Flandrau State Park’s campgrounds, two hours from the city. Visitors can go geocaching or participate in a variety of water activities including fishing and swimming at the beach. There are plenty of things to do within one mile of the campgrounds, so exploring the area is encouraged.

Recent campers say: “Nice trails.” “Nice camping experience.” “Plenty of trails and wildlife.”

Flandrau State Park
1300 Summit Avenue
New Ulm, MN 56073
For reservations, please visit the website

WEST CENTRAL REGION

Glacial Lakes State Park: Starbuck, MN

Glacial Lakes State Park is scenic and easily navigable. There are fun and interesting things and activities to try out with the family. This campground is located about two and a half hours away from the Twin Cities, but it is well-rated and worth the extra bit of driving. Campers can take their boat out on the lake (electric motors only), eat on a porch overlooking a lake or go horseback riding.

Recent campers say: “The park staff does a good job.” “Truly enjoyed our stay here.” “Great place to visit.”

Glacial Lakes State Park
25022 County Road 41
Starbuck, MN 56381
For reservations, please visit the website

Sibley State Park: New London, MN

This park has group campsites that can hold up to 128 people, making it a great place for family gatherings. Play volleyball next to the swimming beach or relax while fishing on the fishing pier. A gift shop is nearby, as is a grocery store and restaurants. Whether you’re looking to find a place to be for a day or stay the night, make sure you call ahead and check availability.

Recent campers say:  “Great campgrounds.” “Lots of hiking trails.” “Some unlevel campsites.”

Sibley State Park
800 Sibley Park Road Northeast
New London, MN 56273
For reservations, please visit the website

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