For shore!

It starts in early spring when the snow’s still falling: 
We dream of weekends filled with warm breezes, walks in the woods, wildflowers, cool lakes and babbling brooks rushing with life (instead of ice chunks).

We wish for family camping trips. 

Well, it’s time for the wishful thinking to be over — because it’s finally here. That’s right, it’s camping time! 

If you’re just starting to camp with your family or if you’re looking for a new and interesting place to pitch a tent, we’re happy to share six favorite shoreline vacations to inspire you to get out there this summer!

 

BOUNDARY WATERS CANOE AREA

Why go: Wilderness 

What: Leave your electronics at home and breathe in the fresh air. People travel across the globe to experience Minnesota’s BWCA, a 1 million-acre wilderness. You can plan a simple camping trip or an extreme adventure. The beauty of camping in the wilderness is that priceless feeling of being removed from the daily grind and having nothing but stunning views surrounding you on all sides. 

Bonus: Moose sightings are highly typical for campers in the northern region of the BWCA. 

Where: Superior National Forest, Grand Marais, five hours north of the Twin Cities

Information: 218-626-4300, tinyurl.com/bwca-mn


WILLOW RIVER STATE PARK

Why go: Waterfall

What: Willow River State Park features campsites within a peaceful prairie setting as well as sites uniquely carved out of a forest for more adventuresome folks. The natural playground underneath the waterfall is what brings most travelers this way. It’s a bit of a hike to get to the falls (about a mile from most camp sites). However, it’s well worth the journey.

Where: 1034 County Highway A, Hudson, Wis., an hour east of the Twin Cities

Information: 715-386-5931, tinyurl.com/willow-river-wi


ITASCA STATE PARK

Why go: Headwaters 

What: This bucket-list state park is bursting with tall pine trees, lakes, beaches and wildlife. Itasca also offers many opportunities for outdoor recreation such as canoeing, kayaking, fishing or climbing around the rocks at the Mississippi’s headwaters. Boulders mark the point where the river moves out of Lake Itasca and starts its 2,318-mile journey to the Gulf of Mexico.

Where: 36750 Main Park Drive, Park Rapids, four hours north of the Twin Cities

Information: 218-699-7251, tinyurl.com/itasca-mn


LOG CABIN RESORT & CAMPGROUND

Why go: Cabins

What: If sleeping in a tent doesn’t sound like an ideal vacation for your family, the Log Cabin Resort & Campground in western Wisconsin offers the cutest log cabins for their guests. Located on the Namekagon River, these cabins aren’t the only reason so many love this location. The resort features an inflatable waterpark for the kids — the coolest addition to camping!
Canoes, kayaks and tubes are available to rent for trips down the river.

Where: Log Cabin Drive, Trego, Wis., two and half hours northeast of the Twin Cities

Information: 715-635-2959, logcabin-resort.com


BEAR HEAD LAKE STATE PARK

Why go: Explore

What: Like the BWCA, this park is also in a wilderness area, but the luxuries of everyday life are close by. Winner of Coca-Cola’s America’s Favorite Park campaign in 2010, Bear Head Lake boasts 600-plus acres of crystal-clear water. It’s an angler’s paradise.  

Bonus: Chances of seeing a black bear are good. 

Where: 9301 Bear Head State Park Road, Ely, four hours north of the Twin Cities

Information: 218-365-7229, tinyurl.com/bear-head-mn


PLUM CREEK PARK

Why go: Education 

What: Famous Minnesota writer Laura Ingalls Wilder spent some of her childhood here and has shared her stories in the book, On The Banks of Plum Creek. Plum Creek Park is the perfect place to begin reading her book series. You’ll make story time come to life. Enjoy the rest of the day splashing around in the creek!

Where: County Road 78, Walnut Grove, two and a half hours southwest of the Twin Cities

Information: 888-528-7268, tinyurl.com/plum-creek-mn


Kelly Cunningham and her husband, Ryan, live in Maple Grove with their five children. Follow their adventures at LifeInMinnesota.com and BeyondTheTent.com.