Camper at Bunker Hills campground in Coon Rapids
Photo courtesy of Anoka County
Voyageurs National Park. The BWCAW. Gooseberry Falls State Park. Minnesota is home to some of the best on-the-water camping in the country. Local family camping pro Ryan Cunningham of beyondthetent.com shares a few of his faves.
Afton easily has one of the best beach and swimming areas in Minnesota. At this state park you can enjoy remote campsites, horseback riding, and hiking, as well as a long afternoon at the beach.
While Bunker Hills campground may not necessarily be “on” the water, it’s definitely a campground for water lovers! Only a quarter-mile walk from the campgrounds is Bunker Beach Water Park. Bunker Beach has a lazy river, wave pool, water slides, and everything else your kids would want in a water park.
If you and your family enjoy swimming, Ham Lake Campground may just be one of the best-kept secrets in the Cities. The swimming area is so shallow that it goes out nearly 150 feet before the depth even reaches 5 feet. (Your kids will love the swing set that sits in the water.) This area is perfect for stand-up paddle boarding, float mats, and any other water toys you care to bring.
If you want to feel like you’re a million miles from civilization yet still be within about an hour of Minneapolis/St. Paul, Lake Maria State Park is the spot for you. Most of the campsites are located two miles away from parking, so you’ll have to backpack in. Once you’re in, though, the view is simply marvelous. You’ll enjoy breathtaking views of Maria Lake and Little Mary.
Marine on St. Croix
If you’re looking for a getaway to do some canoeing or kayaking, then William O'Brien may be perfect. Only a one-hour drive from the Twin Cities, William O’Brien is located along the St. Croix River. Enjoy secluded camping, incredible hiking trails, sandy shorelines, fishing, canoeing, and more.