Where To Camp When All The MN State Parks Are Full
If you are a camper and you are reading this, I'm guessing you've already found out what a lot of unhappy campers have: State Parks are filling up fast. This last year we did not plan on owning a camper. After a series of bizarre events in the family (losing a cabin in the family, other drama), we decided to buy a camper to make the best of our summer weekends. We had a lot of great places in mind, but quickly found out that State Parks in Minnesota were filling up real fast.
To be clear, we are talking mostly about weekends. There are still some places to stay during the week on a Monday-Thursday. Weekends are in short supply. In fact we've been looking and it is more uncommon to find a site with electric hook up to actually find it. There are more tent site available than RV sites, but I've also been surprised to see how many of those are filling up.
This also applies across the border to Wisconsin State Parks as well. We got lucky finding one in May, but a lot of the other parks are booked for a site with any type of hook ups. Basically we can get by without any, but we have a camper with 30 amp service and we would sure like to use it.
I'm on a camping forum on Facebook, and there is actual bartering and trading of available campsites. There's also posts letting people know that their plans fell through so there's an open spot at such and such state park. It's really interesting to see how this is all playing out.
So what do you do if you can't find a state park that's open? Look for the other campgrounds that are "mom and pop," or resort campgrounds. We've had much better luck finding those. There are also still a lot of campgrounds that are first come, first served only. So to reserve you just have to be the first one there. You could always take an extra day off to arrive on a Thursday to claim your spot. It's a gamble, but it's an option.
What you shouldn't do is reserve a non hook up campsite and run a generator. Why? Because most people that camp in those areas prefer the quiet and peacefulness of that area.
Good luck, and happy camping!