Minnesota State Parks Reservation System FAQ

Reservations are now required when campgrounds are open.
Plan ahead, or make a fee-free same-day reservation.

PAT Reservation Policy Update – Customer FAQs

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Why is the reservation window changing for camping and lodging?

There are several reasons for the change:

  • The reservation process should be as fair and equitable as possible. Many busy families do not have the flexibility to plan trips a year in advance, so this change will provide more equitable access for most customers.
  • A 2017 customer survey indicated customers typically make their camping plans closer to their anticipated arrival date.
  • Analysis of reservation data also shows that a majority of camping reservations are made less than 120 days in advance (77.4%). Only about 6.5% of reservations were made in the first month with a one-year reservation window.
  • DNR previously planned to implement this change in the fall of 2020. However, the operational uncertainties associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as revised cleaning protocols for lodging facilities, necessitate making the changes sooner.
Why did COVID-19 accelerate the DNR’s implementation plan?

DNR planned to implement this change in the fall of 2020. COVID-19 accelerated those plans in three ways:

  • The recent temporary closures due to COVID-19 required DNR to refund more than 25,000 reservations. Shortening the reservation window limits the number of reservations on the books if future closures are necessary.
  • COVID-19 cleaning protocols have also necessitated a 24-hour gap between lodging reservations for cleaning and sanitizing. Shortening the reservation window will help DNR to reschedule reservations and include that gap.
  • Given the uncertainties of COVID-19, people are understandably waiting until closer to their vacation to make reservations. Given that, it makes sense to implement this change now.
What is the impact on existing reservations?

All existing reservations will be honored, regardless of whether they are outside of the new 120-day reservation window or not. Existing reservation holders may cancel at any time. However, if they would like to modify their reservation, they will need to wait until they are within the 120-day reservation window.

What is defined as ‘camping’ vs. ‘lodging’?

Camping includes campsites, camper cabins, wall tents, yurts, and group camps. Lodging includes cabins, guest houses, suites, and rooms.

Will campsites continue to be 100% reservable?

Yes, all campsites in state parks and recreation areas will still be 100% reservable. Same-day reservations are still allowed with no reservation fee, based on availability. If customers are looking to camp without a reservation, they can go to any state forest recreation area.

The reservation window will continue to be a rolling window, meaning a reservation can be made for camping and lodging 120 days prior to the intended day of arrival. Sites will be available for reservation beginning at 8:00 Central Time, 120 days in advance.

Is anything else about the reservation process changing?

Not at this time. However, DNR intends to implement additional changes related to cancellation policies in November. These changes will encourage early cancellations if a reservation-holder’s plans change (facilitating rebooking of available sites), and discourage the practice of date sliding. More information on those changes will be announced closer to implementation this fall.

What should a customer do if they have a question or complaint about a policy change?

Customers should direct any questions/comments/concerns to DNR reservation staff at [email protected].

General Reservation System FAQ

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How do I make a reservation?

Reservations can be made online or by calling toll free: 866-857-2757 (TTY 952-936-4008).

What are the call center hours?
  • April 1 through September 30: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily
  • October 1 through March 31: Mon-Fri 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sat-Sun 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • Closed Christmas and New Year's Day
How far in advance can I make a reservation?

120 days before the arrival date. Online reservations can be made 24 hours a day, except for the first day a reservation becomes available. On that first day, reservations cannot be made before 8 a.m.

What is the reservation fee?

It is $7.00 to make a reservation online and $10.00 to make a reservation by phone. There is no fee to make a same-day reservation.

How can I see my current and past reservations?

Log in and go to "Your Account"and then "Your Reservations."

This page will show all of your upcoming reservations. Use the date filter to see your past reservations.

How can I modify my reservation online?

Log in and go to "Your Account" and then "Your Reservations." Find your upcoming reservation on the list, along with options to cancel, modify or reprint your reservation. Select "Modify" to submit.

To shorten or lengthen your stay, adjust the nights under "Reservation Dates."

  • If you are shortening your stay you will be due back a refund.
  • If you want more nights than are available, you will get an error message.

To change sites or parks, go to "Select New Unit" in the "Unit Details" box. This will take you to the calendar view for the park from your unmodified reservation.

  • Search for and select a new stay just like you did when you made your original reservation.
  • Go back through the shopping cart with your new stay. The system will adjust the amount you owe or the amount we owe you.
How can I modify my reservation online?

Log in and go to "Your Account" and then "Your Reservations." Find your upcoming reservation on the list, along with options to cancel, modify or reprint your reservation. Select "Modify" to submit.

To shorten or lengthen your stay, adjust the nights under "Reservation Dates."

  • If you are shortening your stay you will be due back a refund.
  • If you made your reservation over 120 days ago we will be unable to issue credit online. You will need to contact the reservation call center to make the change.
  • If you want more nights than are available, you will get an error message.

To change sites or parks, go to "Select New Unit" in the "Unit Details" box. This will take you to the calendar view for the park from your unmodified reservation.

  • Search for and select a new stay just like you did when you made your original reservation.
  • Go back through the shopping cart with your new stay. The system will adjust the amount you owe or the amount we owe you.
Can I purchase or redeem Minnesota state parks gift cards online using the reservations website?

Yes, you can purchase a gift card online and it will be mailed out to you.

You may use your gift card to make a reservation online. You can split your payment between a gift card and a credit cards, but only one gift card may be used per transaction. You can use multiple gift cards by making a reservation through the call center.

What else can I reserve or purchase using the reservations website?

You can make online reservations for tours and programs, including cave and mine tours and the popular I Can! programs.

Can I buy passes, permits, or licenses there?

State park permits (day and year-round passes) are available through the reservation website. Ski and horse passes, OHV and snowmobile registrations, and fishing and hunting licenses are sold through the electronic licensing system, not through the Minnesota state parks reservations system.

What should I do before I make my reservation?

To speed up the time it takes to process your reservation, please research the parks and campsites you're interested in, and consider having a campground map on hand for reference as you make your reservations. If your first choice is not available, having a map can help speed the process of selecting an alternative. Each state park has a campground maps available as PDF downloads. Here's an alphabetical listing of all Minnesota state parks and recreation areas.

It will also help speed things up if you have already set up your user name and account on the reservations system.

I don't know much about Minnesota state parks. Where should I start?

Start with the Minnesota state parks home page—there are virtual tours for every park and lots of good information to help you plan your trip.

You can also find seasonal tips in the summer and winter activities guides, or join the crowd on the Minnesota State Parks and Trails Facebook page.

What if I have a question not answered here? How can I reach a reservation specialist?

Staff at the Minnesota-based call center are available at 866-857-2757 (TTY 952-936-4008). Call center hours are listed at the top of this page.

And if I have a comment or suggestion?

If you have a suggestion on how we can improve the reservation system to better serve you, please send it to [email protected].

Same-day reservations now available

All campsites in Minnesota state parks and recreation areas now require a reservation before they may be occupied. We strongly recommend you make your reservations before leaving home, because cell phone coverage and wi-fi can be unpredictable at some parks.

For those who prefer to be spontaneous, we offer same-day reservations with no reservation fee, whether you're booking your site from home, from the road, or even from the park. Reserve a site online Friday morning and be camping in it that same night!

Common questions about these changes

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How can I find out what sites are available for a same-day reservation?
  1. Go to the reservations website
  2. Click on "Camping & Lodging"
  3. Click the green "Search All Parks" button
  4. A list, sorted by region, will show you exactly how many available spots there are at each park.

Or, if you already know where you want to go, just search for the park on the main "Camping & Lodging" page of the reservations website.

How do I make a same-day reservation?

Whenever possible, we strongly recommend you make reservations before leaving home, because cell phone coverage and wi-fi can be unpredictable at some parks. Same-day reservations can be made online or by calling 866-857-2757.

  • IF YOU DO NOT ALREADY HAVE AN ONLINE ACCOUNT:
    If you have never made a reservation at a Minnesota state park, but registered at the park office or self-registered, you may encounter issues upon opening a new account.
    If you have been a "walk-in" customer in the past, some of your information was probably entered into the reservation system by park staff when you registered on site, so the reservation system may not recognize you as a current customer. More than likely, your name and address were entered, but no email address.

  • If you are already at the park and if there is a staff person in the park office: Park staff can look up your account by your name, add an email address to your account and create a temporary password. You can then use the temporary password to access the reservation system and make your reservation.

  • If you have not yet arrived at the park or if no staff person is available at the park: If you are unable to access the online reservation system, contact the Call Center (866-857-2757) and ask for help getting access to your account. Once the Call Center agent locates your account, they will be able to enter your email address and generate a temporary password for you. You can then use your email address and the temporary password to access the reservation system and make your reservations online. Or you can make reservations via the Call Center.
What if I don't have a credit card (or don't want to use one) to make my reservation?

No problem. You can pay with cash or check if you prefer.

For same-day reservations:

Contact the Reservation Center at 866-857-2757 and let them know which spot you would like to reserve. They will put your reservation on hold, and you can pay at the park when you arrive, using the self-registration station.

For reservations more than 24 hours in advance:

If you need to pay by check, please call the Reservation Call Center at 866-857-2757 to book your stay, and inform the agent that you will be paying by check. The agent will place a hold on your site and provide you with instructions to mail your payment.

To ensure that payments are received prior to arrival we only accept check payments for reservations with arrivals over 30 days out. If we do not receive your check 21 days prior to your arrival, your reservation will be cancelled. If you are paying by check, be sure to pay as soon as possible so it is not forgotten.

Why do all campsites require reservations?

We had an overwhelmingly positive response from customers when we piloted 100% reservable sites at 17 state parks in 2014-2015.

Families with young kids told us they wouldn't drive to a state park without knowing for sure they would have someplace to park their camper or pitch their tent, and we are trying to make it easier for busy families with young children to spend time outdoors.

We think making all sites reservable will make camping easier for everyone. No more arriving on a Friday hoping to stay at a first-come, first-served site, only to find there isn't one available! And now, with same-day reservations, you can count on your campsite being there whether you reserved it 10 months ago or 10 minutes ago.

If everything is reservable, does that mean I need reservations year-round?

Yes. Reservations are needed whenever a campground is open. Please keep in mind that most parks have limited office hours in the off-season so it's best to go online or call before you arrive. Don't forget that same-day reservations are free!