With 66 state parks and 9 state recreational areas located within its borders, Minnesota is a haven for those who love to explore nature.
Blessed with a landscape rich in scenic beauty, the state famously contains over 10,000 lakes. In addition, it also features sprawling, verdant forests, jagged bluffs, flowing rivers and gorgeous meadows.
For those who live near Detroit Lakes the opportunities for outdoor adventures are limitless. Ranging from kayaking and canoeing along the largest of the Great Lakes, to hiking or biking along picturesque paved trails, they are a great place to visit in the summer.
While the winter also brings exciting opportunities to climb frozen waterfalls or explore over 22,000 miles of snowmobile trails.
Now that lockdown has finished, if you fancy partaking in some al fresco recreational activities, below is a list of 5 state parks near Detroit Lakes which are great places to do it at.
Map of State Parks Near Detroit Lakes, MN
Here is a map of the state parks in Minnesota covered by this post:
List of State Parks Near Detroit Lakes
All of the five state parks near Detroit Lakes outlined below can be reached within a 2.5 hour drive from the city. So they can easily be visited as a day trip.
If you would like to stay for longer at any of them however, they all offer a range of overnight camping facilities to suit all budgets and preferences too.
1. Sibley State Park
Location: 800 Sibley Park Rd NE, New London, MN 56273
Located in west-central Minnesota, a 2 hour and 20 minute drive north from Detroit Lakes, Sibley State Park has something for everyone.
One of the most popular things to do here is hike to Mount Tom. One of a number of elevated scenic lookouts in the area, the views of the surrounding forests, lakes, prairie knolls and farmlands are sensational.
During the summer swimming, fishing and boating are very popular on Lake Andrew. There is also a waterway route which invites adventurers to canoe, kayak or portage their way on to neighboring Henschien Lake and Swan Lake.
Dominated by red cedar, oak, ironwood, aspen, green ash, basswood and maple, the forest here is very photographic. It is also home to a wide range of wildlife including coyotes, white-tailed deer and ruffed grouse.
The park also offers 132 campsites as well as a modern group center. In addition it has horseback camps, as well as a picnic area and interpretive programs all throughout the year.
2. Lake Bemidji State Park
Location: 3401 State Park Rd NE, Bemidji, MN 56601
Lake Bemidji State Park is an area rich in history, dating back to around 1750 when the Anishinabe are first believed to have frequented the region.
Reached via an hour and 40 minute drive south from Detroit Lakes, the park is a popular year round playground for those who enjoy everything from swimming, fishing, boating and birdwatching to hiking, picnicking, cross-country skiing and snowmobiling.
In late spring and early summer, anthophiles and nature photographers will love the tamarack bog that blooms with gorgeous wildflowers like grass pink, dragon’s mouth, lady’s slippers and pitcher plants. Whilst winter sports lovers will enjoy plenty of opportunities to ski and snowshoe once the snowfall comes.
The park also provides unique opportunities to spot eagles and osprey, while the campsite here can accommodate 95 sites for tents and RVs, as well as four cabins too.
3. Glendalough State Park
Location: 25287 Whitetail Ln, Battle Lake, MN 56515
Situated just a 45 minute drive south from Detroit Lakes, the Glendalough State Park offers a true rest from the pace of everyday life.
Named after the Gleann Da Loch in Ireland, which means ‘Valley of Two Lakes’, the park boasts one of the largest undeveloped lakeshore in western Minnesota. Covering some 9.2 miles, it is a haven for canoeing, kayaking, paddle boarding and boating.
Fishing on the 335-acre Annie Battle Lake is a popular past time here too, whilst the gentle, rolling patchwork of intertwining wooden countryside and prairies is perfect for hiking, biking and photography.
In the summer, picnicking and swimming is also available around two sandy lakes, while the historic and recently restored Glendalough lodge details the park’s interesting past.
Onsite the park features 22 camping sites, as well as a group camp that can accommodate up to 40 people. It also has 4 cabins as well showers, flush toilets and vault toilets too.
4. Crow Wing State Park
Location: 3124 State Park Rd, Brainerd, MN 56401
A true nature lover’s delight, the Crow Wing State Park is situated an hour and 30 minute drive south east of Detroit Lakes.
Nestled at the confluence of the Crow Wing and Mississippi Rivers, the 3,119 acre park showcases the history of Old Crow Wing. One Minnesota’s most populous towns during in the 1850s and 1860s.
Featuring a gorgeous landscape of woodlands that include aspen, jack, oak forest and red and white pine, as well as gorgeous prairies, and lush wetlands, the park is a great place to explore on foot.
Both rivers also provide excellent opportunities for fishing, kayaking, canoeing and boating, while white-tailed deer, beavers and muskrats are among the many species of wildlife you may see.
In terms of camping, the park has 59 wooded sites that cater to tents and RVs. It also has a group camp that can accommodate up to 75 people, as well as a handful of camper cabins too.
5. Red River State Recreation Area
Location: 515 2nd St NW, East Grand Forks, MN 56721
Just over a 2 hour and 10 minute drive north of Detroit Lakes lies the Red River State Recreation Area.
Forming part of the Greater Grand Forks Greenway, it is nestled on the banks of both the Red River of the North and the Red Lake River.
Encompassing some 1,200-acres the parks offers full range of outdoor recreational activities including hiking, fishing, swimming and boating.
It also boasts a new campground that features 113 modern campsites, including 85 electric sites that provide full hookups with sewer and water.