Find Spacious, Great Lake Campsites In One Of Minnesota's Most Underrated State Parks

Lake Superior, like all the Great Lakes, is famous. Although it is considered one of the best vacation spots in the state, the park with the best view of the lake is far less well-known. In Minnesota's beautiful Cascade River State Park, the trail along Lookout Mountain Overlook gives visitors access to one of the best views of the Great Lakes. From above, it's possible to see Lake Superior and the staggeringly beautiful forest landscape below. The trail along Lake Superior gives hikers a much closer look at the famous lake, and there is even a picnic area for anyone hoping to enjoy lunch while looking out at the water.

There's plenty of beautiful nature to appreciate at Cascade River State Park, and for many, a day trip is not long enough to fully appreciate everything the park has to offer. Fortunately, it also has numerous campsites within the park. In some cases, you can even have a view of the lake from your campsite. If you are staying at the state park's campgrounds, you can wake up early and hike the trails. In the evening, sit around the grill, share stories with friends, and watch the sunset reflect on Lake Superior.

Spending the night in Cascade River State Park

Multiple campgrounds are available in Cascade River State Park, and all of them allow visitors to get close to some of Minnesota's most beautiful landscapes. After spending the day looking at rushing rivers and roaring waterfalls, campers can spend the night under the stars. Several backpacking campsites throughout the park are perfect for guests hoping to get close to nature and don't mind roughing it. One of the best is Lookout Mountain Campsite, which requires a 1.5-mile hike to reach civilization. However, it offers a short walk to the spot where you can view the incredible landscape below. 

For those who want to drive up to their campsite but still get the full camping experience in nature, there are several options, like Cascade River Rustic Campground, which is large, private, and far from everything except Cascade River. If you prefer to spend the night comfortable and warm inside an RV, Cascade River State Park Campground is available year-round. Do note that far more campsites are available in the summer, with only six staying open for the winter.

How to secure your spot

There is a wide range of options for camping in Cascade River State Park, and all of them are relatively affordable, even for those with tight budgets. Parking your car inside the park costs $7 per day, while the campsites are usually less than $40 per night. Parking in some spaces, like Cascade River Rustic Campground, is free. You can book a backpacking campground for as low as $20 per night, and drive-in campgrounds with electricity still cost less than $35 per night.

You may have to book in advance to stay at a particular campsite, especially during warmer weather. Most campsites can be booked four months in advance on the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources website, which costs between $8 and $10. If your favorite campsite hasn't been claimed, you can still make a reservation the day of — and best of all, your spontaneity will be rewarded because the booking fee is waived. Walk-ins are generally allowed, and campsites are handed out on a first-come, first-served basis. However, for some, like the Cascade River State Park Campground, you'll have a better shot if you reserve in advance —  or at least show up early in the morning to claim your place.