Campsites at Minnesota state parks in high demand

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Minnesota’s 76 state parks see over one million campers each year, and many northlanders will be loading up their camping gear and heading to the woods this Memorial Day. That means you might have some company at your favorite spot this weekend.

“Expect it to be busy,” said Michaela Rice, Interpretive Naturalist at Goosberry Falls State Park. We have full campgrounds, and I think this is a pattern that most state parks are experiencing anywhere in Minnesota. It’s a great problem to have. But capacity is low, right? So they book up quickly and it means that you got to camp or you got to plan your camping trips earlier than maybe you would normally have to.”

Gooseberry Falls is just a short drive up the north shore from duluth, and is one of Minnesota’s most visited. In 2021, the park saw almost 800,000 visitors.

Some campers have reported trouble booking a site at some of Minnesota’s state parks.

“I have found in recent years it has been maybe a little bit harder to find campsites if you don’t make them far in advance,” said Lonnie Kunze, while setting up camp at Gooseberry. “I just came up to camp for the holiday weekend. I usually camp at the state park several times a year. Typically make reservations earlier in the year. This year, I didn’t make any. And just went online, I think as late as last week. And there was a campsite open for two days in a row. So I grabbed it.”

Park staff recommend you start planning your camping trip early, as availability may become more scarce as the summer season continues.