State parks

Minnesota state parks include:

  • 65 state parks 
  • 9 recreation areas
  • 9 waysides
  • 4,440 campsites
  • 207 horse camp sites
  • 104 group camps
  • 105 water access campsites
  • 644 archaeological and historic cemetery sites
  • 306 buildings on the National Register of Historic Places

Number of visitors:

  • There are an average of 9,857,793 visitors to Minnesota state parks each year
  • Most visitors come just for the day
  • An average of 1,049,382 visitors camp overnight each year
  • Nearly 19 percent of park visitors come from other states and countries

Most visited parks:

The most visited state parks in 2021 included:

  • Gooseberry Falls –  782,125 visitors
  • Fort Snelling – 702,351 visitors
  • Itasca –  569,835 visitors
  • Tettegouche- 564,992 visitors
  • Split Rock Lighthouse – 544,327 visitors

Oldest state parks:

  • Minnesota became the second oldest state park system in the country with the establishment of Itasca State Park on April 20, 1891.
  • The next state park added to the system was Interstate State Park on April 25, 1895.
  • The most significant growth years occurred in 1937, 1957, and 1963. In 1937, ten new parks were added across the state. In 1957, five parks were added including four along the North Shore of Lake Superior. The largest number of parks added at one time (11) occurred in 1963.
State parkYear established
Itasca State Park1891
Interstate State Park1895
Minneopa State Park1905
Fort Ridgely State Park1911
Jay Cooke State Park1915
Sibley State Park1919
Whitewater State Park1919
Scenic State Park1921
Lake Bemidji State Park1923
John A. Latsch State Park1929
(First established as Scenic Highway State Park, it was officially designated as a state park in 1997.)
Charles A. Lindbergh State Park1931
Camden State Park1935
Beaver Creek Valley State Park1937
Blue Mounds State Park1937
Buffalo River State Park1937
Flandrau State Park1937
Gooseberry Falls State Park1937
Lake Bronson State Park1937
Lake Shetek State Park1937
Lake Carlos State Park1937
Monson Lake State Park1937
Split Rock Creek State Park1937
Father Hennepin State Park1941
St. Croix State Park1943
St. Croix Islands State Recreation Area1943
(Originally designated as a Scenic Reserve. Re-designated as a state recreation area in 1969.)
Kilen Woods State Park1945
McCarthy Beach State Park1945
Nerstrand Big Woods State Park1945
Split Rock Lighthouse State Park1945
Myre-Big Island State Park1947
William O’Brien State Park1947
Carley State Park1949
Old Mill State Park1951
George H. Crosby Manitou State Park1955
Cascade River State Park1957
Frontenac State Park1957
Judge C.R. Magney State Park1957
Mille Lacs Kathio State Park1957
Temperance River State Park1957
Crow Wing State Park1959
Lac qui Parle State Park1959
Schoolcraft State Park1959
Zippel Bay State Park1959
Bear Head Lake State Park1961
Big Stone Lake State Park1961
Fort Snelling State Park1961
Savanna Portage State Park1961
Banning State Park1963
Forestville/Mystery Cave State Park1963
Glacial Lakes State Park1963
Great River Bluffs (formerly O.L. Kipp)1963
Lake Louise State Park1963
Lake Maria State Park1963
Maplewood State Park1963
Rice Lake State Park1963
Sakatah Lake State Park1963
Upper Sioux Agency State Park1963
(The state park was permanently closed 2/16/24. Lands returned to the Upper Sioux Community.)
Franz Jevne State Park1967
(Official designation was as a state wayside park. Legislation in 1969 officially changed the name to Franz Jevne State Park.)
Hayes Lake State Park1967
Afton State Park1969
Minnesota Valley State Recreation Area1969
(Minnesota Valley Trail was designated in 1969, and re-designated along with seven state waysides as a state recreation area in 1994.)
Moose Lake State Park1971
Wild River State Park1973
Tettegouche State Park1979
Hill Annex Mine State Park1988
Grand Portage State Park1989
Glendalough State Park1991
Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area1993
Iron Range Off Highway Vehicle State Recreation Area1996
Garden Island State Recreation Area1998
Big Bog State Recreation Area2000
Red River Valley State Recreation Area2000
Greenleaf Lake State Recreation Area2003 (First established as a state park, it was re-designated as a state recreation area in 2007.)
La Salle Lake State Recreation Area2011
Lake Vermilion-Soudan Underground Mine State Park2014 (Combined Lake Vermilion State Park, established 2010, with Soudan Underground Mine State Park, established 1963.)
WaysidesYear established
Sam Brown Monument1929
Inspiration Peak1931
Joseph R. Brown1937
Caribou Falls1947
Kodonce River1947
Ray Berglund1951
Cross River1961
(Became a part of Temperance River State Park in 1998. No longer a wayside.)
Devils Track Falls1961
Flood Bay1965

(Updated February 2024)

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