[Four years after I wrote this post, I started a new blog called Revisiting Minnesota State Parks in which I review and rank the state parks. Please go take a look]

I love state parks. Pay your 25 bucks and your car (with anyone in it) can go into any state park for a year.


We haven’t been to all of the 66 state parks in Minnesota, but (I just counted) we have been to 27 of them. Here’s some we recommend and don’t recommend:


Unrecommended –


1. Blue Mounds – Okay, so there’s buffalo there – big whoop. This (as far as I can tell) is largely a walk through pasture surrounded by farmland. I am shocked that you can find this on the MN state park director’s list of the top three MN state parks. Why?


2. . . . Okay, maybe that’s all I wouldn’t recommend.


Recommended –


1. Anything on Lake Superior – A total of 8 parks. Recommended because – c’mon, it’s Lake Superior! You can throw rocks in the biggest lake in the world! You can climb up the waterfalls of the spectacularly beautiful rivers that flow into the biggest lake in the world. You can see lighthouses that used to help boats cross safely over the biggest lake in the world.


Now some may say that Gooseberry, one of the most visited state parks in MN, and the first park that you come to as you head north, is overrated. True, but it’s still better than the best state park of half the states in the country.


If we had to choose our favorite, we would say . . . we can’t.


 2. Anything in the St. Croix / Mississippi river valley (8 Total). Go in the fall. Amazing bluffs. Great hiking. Thanks to the State, Local and Federal Government making a ton of rules, most of the St. Croix is undeveloped. It’s water is very blue. And while the Mississippi isn’t the biggest river in the world, it’s still pretty impressive.


And again, we have more than one favorite.


3. Itasca.

You can walk across the very beginning of the Mississippi! You can see how many people it takes to encircle the biggest white pine in Minnesota! You can see a video on how this lake was finally discovered! Go!


But bring sandals if you’re going to try to do the walk-across thing.


4.  White Water.

Cool Cliff Climbing. And honestly, I think all the warnings about rattlesnakes are overblown.


5. Forrestville/Mystery Cave.

In the 1890’s a store owner closed his shop and left everything in it. For Decades. And when they found it, they kept it that way. Take a family tour. It’s cool history.


6. Fort Snelling.

Historic Fort Tours and International Airport Plane watching – An interesting mix.


State Parks are one reason why I’m not a libertarian.


Any other recommendations?


And / Or


Do you like your state’s state parks?