State parks

Minnesota state parks include:

  • 67 state parks 
  • 9 recreation areas
  • 9 waysides
  • 4,382 campsites
  • 227 horse camp sites
  • 103 group camps
  • 97 water access sites
  • 950 archaeological and historic cemetery sites
  • 600 buildings on the National Register of Historic Places

Number of visitors:

  • There are an average of 9,700,000 visitors to Minnesota State Parks each year
  • Day use accounts for most of these visits
  • Nearly 19 percent of park visitors come from other states and countries

Number of campers:

There are an average of 1,100,000 campers each year. 

Most visited parks:

The most visited state parks in 2019 included:

  • Gooseberry Falls –  756,704 visitors
  • Fort Snelling – 558,926 visitors
  • Itasca –  478,146 visitors
  • Tettegouche- 478,146 visitors
  • Split Rock Lighthouse – 394,972 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 parks

Year established

Itasca

1891

Interstate

1895

Minneopa

1905

Fort Ridgely

1911

Jay Cooke

1915

Sibley

1919

Whitewater

1919

Scenic

1921

Lake Bemidji

1923

John Latsch

1925
(First established as Scenic Highway State Park, it was officially designated as a State Park in 1997.)

Charles Lindbergh

1931

Camden

1935

Beaver Creek Valley

1937

Blue Mounds

1937

Buffalo River

1937

Flandrau

1937

Gooseberry Falls

1937

Lake Bronson

1937

Lake Shetek

1937

Lake Carlos

1937

Monson Lake

1937

Split Rock Creek

1937

Father Hennepin

1941

St. Croix

1943

Kilen Woods

1945

McCarthy Beach

1945

Nerstrand Big Woods

1945

Split Rock Lighthouse

1945

Myre-Big Island

1947

William O’Brien

1947

Carley

1949

Old Mill

1951

George Crosby Manitou

1955

Cascade River

1957

Frontenac

1957

Judge Magney

1957

Mille Lacs Kathio

1957

Temperance River

1957

Crow Wing

1959

Lac qui Parle

1959

Schoolcraft

1959

Zippel Bay

1959

Bear Head Lake

1961

Big Stone Lake

1961

Fort Snelling

1961

Savanna Portage

1961

Banning

1963

Forestville/Mystery Cave

1963

Glacial Lakes

1963

Great River Bluffs (formerly O.L. Kipp)

1963

Lake Louise

1963

Lake Maria

1963

Maplewood

1963

Rice Lake

1963

Sakatah Lake

1963

Soudan Underground Mine

1963

Upper Sioux Agency

1963

Franz Jevne

1967
(Official designation was as a State Wayside Park.. Legislation in 1969 officially changed the name to Franz Jevne State Park.)

Hayes Lake

1967

Afton

1969

MN Valley State Recreation Area

1969

Moose Lake

1971

Wild River

1973

Tettegouche

1979

Hill Annex Mine

1988

Grand Portage

1989

Glendalough

1991

Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area

1993

Garden Island State Recreation Area

1998

Big Bog State Recreation Area

2000

Red River Valley State Recreation Area

2000

Lake Vermillion

2010

LaSalle Lake State Recreation Area

2011

Waysides

Year established

Sam Brown Monument

1929

Inspiration Peak

1931

Joseph R. Brown

1937

St. Croix Islands

1943
(Exchange discussion underway with National Park Service ’05)

Caribou Falls

1947

Kodonce River

1947

Ray Berglund

1951

Cross River

1961
(Became a part of Temperance River State Park in 1998. No longer a wayside.)

Devils Track Falls

1961

Flood Bay

1963

(Updated August 2019)