Campgrounds in the Twin Cities
The Minneapolis/Saint Paul metro area hosts several beautiful public campgrounds as well as a handful of private ones. Perfect for both local residents and visitors!
Whether you’re a local looking for a quick weekend camping trip or are a visitor to the Twin Cities area, you’ll find many beautiful campground options in the 7-county Minneapolis/Saint Paul metro.
PETS: Be sure to check each campground’s pet policy before assuming you can bring yours!
First, we’ll give some definitions to beginning campers to help you clarify what you’re looking for in a campground:
What’s the difference between public and private campgrounds?
Good question! Here are the basic differences…
PUBLIC CAMPGROUNDS (owned by a county or state) are generally less expensive, but have fewer amenities. There are usually flush toilets (at least the ones near the Twin Cities), but often no showers. Most of the activities available will be nature-based—hiking and biking trails, maybe a swimming beach and paddling if it’s on or near a lake. There’s often a stay limit of 7-14 days, depending on the campground.
PRIVATE CAMPGROUNDS (owned privately as a business) usually have more activity options like a swimming pool, game room, laundry facilities, wi-fi, even cable TV. Because of that, the rates are normally higher, and they often charge for extra people, extra vehicles and for pets. Many private campgrounds offer weekly, monthly and full-season rates.
What’s a camper cabin?
A camper cabin is a great option if you don’t have a tent or RV, or if you want to “camp” off-season (they’re usually available year-round). They’re rustic, usually with no bathroom facilities, rather nearby vault or (if you’re lucky!) flush toilets. Most have electricity and heat for winter use. They’ll offer bunks, but expect you to bring your own sleeping bags or type of bedding.
The camper cabins in Minnesota’s state and regional parks are usually open all year round. That can mean a fun winter getaway, especially when combined with cross country skiing and/or snowshoeing.
Winter Camping in the Twin Cities
If you love winter and are extra hardy, why not try winter camping (not in a cabin)? Here’s what you need to know about winter camping in the Twin Cities.
OK, let’s take a look at campgrounds in the Twin Cities…
Anoka County (North)
Anoka County has two public campgrounds. Unfortunately, the only private campground in the County—Ham Lake Campground—has been sold, and won’t be open to the general public anymore. It’s now a membership-only campground through a South Dakota company.
Carver County (Southwest)
Carver County has two campgrounds in its park system, plus a few equestrian campsites in the Minnesota Valley State Recreation Area.
Dakota County (South-Southeast)
Dakota County has a campground at Lebanon Hills, plus camper cabins in Whitetail Woods.
Hennepin County (West-Central)
Hennepin County has a large public campground and a private KOA. Both are well out of the downtown Minneapolis area.
Ramsey County (East-Central)
Ramsey County has no campgrounds! You’ll just have to venture to one of the other counties.
Scott County (South-Southwest)
Scott County has three campgrounds, all private. That usually means they’ll be more expensive, but they’ll also have more amenities.
Washington County (East)
Washington County has the most campgrounds of the Metro Area—5 total, both public and private. Two of them are State Parks. One of them has backpack-in sites only.