This is a partial listing of state park rules and regulations. Visit the Minnesota State Legislature for the complete rules.
- Park hours
8 a.m. to 10 p.m., 365 days a year. Office hours vary by season and by park.
- State park permit
All vehicles entering a state park must display a valid year-round or one-day Minnesota state park vehicle permit affixed to the lower right hand corner of the windshield. Learn more about vehicle permits. Funds from state park vehicle permits and fees are used to help manage park resources and facilities.
In accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, state parks are working to make facilities accessible to people of all abilities. Learn more. Call the specific state park you are planning to visit for up-to-date information on accessibility. Discounted or free vehicle permits are available to some people with disabilities, disabled veterans, and active duty personnel.
It is illegal for any person to consume intoxicating liquors, or to display liquor containers in public. State laws apply to possession and use of drugs.
Biking is permitted only on designated trails or park roads where motor vehicles are allowed, unless otherwise posted.
Campers must register at the office or self-registration station. Only registered campers are allowed in the park after 10 p.m. Quiet hours are from 10 p.m. to 8 a.m.
The policy for canceling or making changes to a reservation varies, depending on what specifically the reservation is for, and how many days are left before arrival. Read the details about cancellations.
- Check in/check out
Overnight guests must check in by:
- Lodging: 4 p.m.
- Camping: 4 p.m.
Overnight guests must check out by:
- Lodging: 11 a.m.
- Camping: 4 p.m.
Burning non-local firewood can spread invasive species, and it's against Minnesota state law. Gathering firewood is also not permitted, as it disrupts the forest and soil cycle. Always buy your firewood at the park, or from an approved local vendor.
Fireworks are not permitted in state parks.
When fishing in waters entirely within state parks, anglers must comply with Minnesota fishing laws and rules. Minnesota residents can fish without a fishing license in most Minnesota state parks, including ice fishing. Learn more.
- Flotation devices
In a state park, while in the water, use of air mattresses, inner tubes or other flotation devices that are not approved by the Coast Guard is prohibited except when used in an area specifically designated for that use.
Geocaching is allowed in Minnesota state parks, state recreation areas and waysides managed by the DNR. All caches placed in these locations require a signed permit prior to placement. Download permit applications and geocaching guidelines, or pick them up at the park office.
Harvesting edible fruits and mushrooms is allowed in Minnesota state parks, as long as they are for personal consumption. Commercial harvesting is not allowed. It is not allowed to pick wildflowers or other plants (edible or not), even for personal use.
Except on state forest roads or forest road right-of-ways, anyone riding a horse on land managed by the DNR—including state parks, state recreation areas, state trails, and state forests—must have a valid horse pass in their possession.
Hunting is prohibited in Minnesota state parks unless authorized by the Commissioner of the Department of Natural Resources. Learn about special hunts held in state parks.
- Metal detectors
Use of metal detectors is prohibited.
Parking on the grass is not allowed. Park only in designated areas and spaces provided in the campground.
Pets are welcome in Minnesota's state parks, as long as they are kept on a leash six feet or shorter and are personally attended at all times. Only service animals are allowed in state park buildings, lodging, cabins, camper cabins, yurts, tipis, on tours, or in beach areas.
Easy access and abundant natural features make Minnesota state parks perfect for a variety of resource-related research projects. You must obtain a research permit before beginning work. Download a permit application and learn more about research in state parks.
Lodging reservations can be made from one day to one year in advance. Camping reservations can be made the same day as arrival, and up to one year in advance. As of May 2016, all campsites at every Minnesota state park and recreation area are now reservable. Learn more.
On the first day a facility becomes available, reservations can be made beginning at 8:00 a.m. CST.
Cave and mine tours in the current calendar year can be reserved beginning April 1.
With all reservations, if you are paying by check or money order, you need to make your reservation a minimum of 15 days in advance.
The reservation fee is $7.00 to make an online reservation and $10.00 to make a reservation by phone. In the event of cancellation, these fees are non-refundable. There is no fee for same-day camping reservations.
- Rock climbing
Rock climbing in state parks is allowed only in designated areas and only by permit. Permits are available at the park office.
Skiers 16 years and older must have a Great Minnesota Ski Pass to ski on groomed trails in Minnesota state parks or state forests, or on state or grant-in-aid trails. Sign your ski pass and be sure to carry it with you every time you go skiing.
Snowmobiles in state parks can be operated only on designated trails or posted areas. A snowmobile state trail sticker is required for all snowmobiles operating on state or grant-in-aid trails.
Snowshoeing is allowed anywhere in state parks except on groomed trails or where posted.
- Unmanned aircraft systems/drones
The division discourages use of unmanned aircraft in state parks, state recreation areas, and state waysides because of the impracticality of their operation under existing rule. Unmanned aircraft or drones are defined as "aircraft" by the Federal Aviation Administration and it is unlawful to land any aircraft on lands or water totally within the boundaries of any state park, state recreation area, or state wayside. Because of the prohibition on "landing," operating unmanned aircraft in these areas is not practical. The division is also concerned about the impact of unmanned aircraft to natural resources (especially wildlife), to division buildings and infrastructure, and to other visitors' safety, privacy, and quality of experience.
It is unlawful for any person to possess explosives of any kind. It is also against the law for any person to possess a firearm (including an air gun) unless the firearm is unloaded and completely contained in a fully enclosed gun case or unloaded and contained in the closed trunk of a vehicle. A person who is legally permitted under MS 624.714 to carry a handgun in the State of Minnesota may legally carry that handgun in state parks.