If you visit almost any city, there are a number of parks within an hour’s drive to choose from for your adventures.
The city of Grand Rapids is no exception, and the following are just a few of the many parks in the area to visit in Minnesota.
Map of State Parks Near Grand Rapids, MN
Here is a map of the state parks in Minnesota covered by this post:
List of State Parks Near Grand Rapids
All of the five state parks near Grand Rapids detailed below provide a variety of camping and overnight accommodation options. But since they are all located a relatively short drive from the city, they are also wonderful day trip destinations as well.
1. Schoolcraft State Park
Location: 9042 Schoolcraft Ln NE, Deer River, MN 56636
Schoolcraft State Park is located a short 18 miles West of Grand Rapids.
Sitting on the shores of the Mississippi River, this secluded wonderland offers a serene outdoor experience for visitors.
The campground facilities offer rustic sites for tents, trailers, and RVs up to 40 feet in length. Each site has a picnic table, fire pit, and grate for cooking. There are vault toilets and water pumps available for camper use. Group camping is also available for up to 20 people.
The Mississippi River is somewhat wider through the park, but calmer waters prevail, and visitors can take in the peaceful surroundings as they canoe, hike, or bike through the 22.5-acre park. The trail system leads hikers through a forest that includes a white pine more than 300 years old.
Bring your camera to capture the beautiful views and abundant wildlife that inhabit the park. Take a swim or enjoy a picnic with family and friends. This historic park, named after explorer Henry Schoolcraft, has so much outdoor beauty to offer.
2. Scenic State Park
Location: 56956 Scenic Hwy, Bigfork, MN 56628
Scenic State Park is just a short 43 miles north of Grand Rapids. While not far from the conveniences of town, this park contains a wealth of natural beauty and wildlife.
The park is more than 3,560 acres and encompasses all of Coon and Sandwick Lakes as well as parts of the Lake of the Isles, Tell Lake, Cedar Lake, and Pine Lake. The most popular lakes for visitors are Coon Lake and Sandwick Lake which provide abundant fishing in this wooded paradise.
If you are a fan of wildlife, you will find lots of opportunities to get up close and personal with over 40 species inhabiting the park. Visitors have seen various birds, frogs, toads, snakes, otters, beavers, and even moose on occasion. The lakes are great for canoeing and kayaking, and there is a swimming beach as well.
Scenic State Park has camping facilities consisting of semi-modern campsites with bathroom facilities, rustic backpack-in and kayak-in sites, group campsites, and an accessible cabin for rental. There are 14 miles of hiking trails and 10 miles of snowmobile trails in the park. Boat, canoe, and kayak rentals are available as well.
3. Savanna Portage State Park
Location: 55626 Lake Pl, McGregor, MN 55760
Located just 58 miles south of Grand Rapids, Savanna Portage State Park is a great stopping point on your outdoor excursions through Minnesota.
If you are traveling to Duluth, it is right on the way. With nearly 16,000 acres, this park provides many opportunities for outdoor recreation for visitors to the area.
There are 4 lakes within that park that are excellent fishing waters. Canoes and fishing boats are available for rent in the park. For those that prefer to remain on land, there are over 27 miles of hiking trails throughout the park.
History buffs will enjoy walking in the footsteps of past explorers and Native Americans on the historic Savanna Portage Trail. High above the waters of the lakes, hikers can walk the Continental Divide Trail and follow the waters toward the Mississippi River or Lake Superior. The trails are intermediate level in difficulty and area available for cross-country skiing in the winter.
If you are looking for lodging at the state park, there are a lot of options. Hike-in sites are available for backpackers making the trek, and there is also one canoe-in site. For tent and trailer campers, there is a 61-site campground on the shore of Lake Sumway. A more rustic group campsite is located on Savanna Lake. There is also one seasonal camper cabin available for rent as well as a year-round guest house.
4. Hill-Annex Mine State Park
Location: 880 Gary St, Calumet, MN 55716
Halfway between Grand Rapids and Virgina, MN lies Hill-Annex Mine State Park.
If you are looking for a unique way to spend some time outdoors, this historic mine-turned-state-park in Minnesota’s Iron Range is a must see on your journey. This hundred-year-old abandoned mine is now a part of a state park that visitors can tour to learn about the mining history of the area.
The park’s natural beauty is evident in the wooded forests and manmade lake that was once an iron ore pit. The park offers expansive, open areas for picnicking including a covered pavilion. Guests of the park can take a bus tour of the mines or participate in a fossil hunt. Tours are offered Fridays and Saturdays from Memorial Day to Labor Day.
If you’re strolling through the park, you can explore the mining equipment that still remains on the grounds. There is also a museum and gift shop on site for those wishing to learn more about the area’s history and take a memento away with them.
5. McCarthy Beach State Park
Location: 7622 McCarthy Beach Rd, Side Lake, MN 55781
McCarthy Beach State Park sits just 56 miles Northeast of Grand Rapids and is nestled in the Iron Range.
If you’re looking for natural beauty, this park offers an abundance in the form of statuesque red and white pines.
With over 18 miles of hiking trails, 16 miles of horseback riding trails, and 12 miles of snowmobile trails, the park offers endless opportunities for any traveler. In fact, the park serves as the midpoint for the Taconite State Trail.
The chain of lakes, including the glacier-formed Sturgeon Lake, provide a paradise for swimmers, boaters, fishers, and sailors. Visitors will delight in the sandy beaches and clear waters of the lakes
Camping facilities are available to visitors of the park. There are 86 sites that can accommodate tents and RVs/campers and 3 sites that are tent-only. The campground offers modern amenities with electric sites, hot showers and flush toilets. There is also a group site available.
Bring your own boat, canoe, or kayak to the boat ramp or rent one at the park for your convenience. Spend time in nature with the over thirty-three species of wildlife in the park. McCarthy Beach State Park is a place that outdoor enthusiasts will want to linger during their stay in Minnesota.