Best Dog-Friendly Campsites at Minnesota State Parks

Wondering where you can camp with your dog at Minnesota State Parks? According to the MN Department of Natural Resources, pets are welcome in all Minnesota State Parks as long as they’re kept on a leash of no more than 6 feet and are personally attended at all times. And unless your dog is a service animal, he can’t go in state park buildings, lodging, cabins, camper cabins, on tours, or in beach areas. With 66 dog-friendly Minnesota State Parks, how do you heckin’ choose? Well you’ve got a fren in Sidewalk Dog! Sniff out the best dog-friendly campsites at Minnesota State Parks.

Dog-Friendly Minnesota State Park Campgrounds

You’ll have a happy camper on your hands when you visit any of these dog-friendly campsites.

St. Croix State Park

With lots of paved and turf trail options, St. Croix State Park has three campgrounds all within walking distance of the St. Croix river. The scale of the park (34k acres, 2 rivers, 10 streams) makes it great for a full-day outing or a short sniff walk to burn off some energy. Plan to camp in a tent or RV; the guesthouses and cabins aren’t dog-friendly.

Wild River State Park

Wild River State Park provides many trail options and good vegetative screening in the campgrounds, which means less distractions and stress for your dog. Enjoy hiking, canoeing, geocaching, and more. Reservations strongly encouraged at this pupular campsite.

Fort Ridgely State Park

Interesting topography, a pup ton of MN history, and prairie/forest diversity is just what the dog-tor ordered, and you’ll find it all at Fort Ridgely State Park. Pup’ll ruv the view of prairie wildflowers from the bluffs overlooking the Minnesota River.

Bear Head Lake State Park

Bear Head Lake State Park is a remote northwoods getaway with vegetative screening in camping areas, scenic trails, and several lakes. The secluded campsites are located in wooded areas (more shade for your hot dog!). Allow your doggy paddler to explore miles of shoreline by canoe.

Nerstrand Big Woods State Park

This State Park provides yearround wonder and fun with wildflowers galore in the spring, active waterfalls in the summer, some of the most impressive fall colors in the state, and picturesque winter trails for hiking, snowshoeing, or skijoring. Campsites vary from open to wooded.

Blue Mounds State Park

Your dog can’t wait to see the giant fluffy dog pack (AKA bison herd) at Blue Mounds State Park. Pups of all fitness levels can hoof it on paved trails, tallgrass prairie hikes, or more primitive and challenging hikes. Enjoy a picture pawfect view from the Sioux Quartzite cliff, which rises 100 feet above the plains.

Dog-Friendly Camping Tips

Sniff out these tips to make sure your camping experience is a pawsitive one for you, your pupper, and your camp neighbors.

  • Smaller parks often mean fewer dogs, which can make for a better experience for two- and four-legged campers.
  • Help your dog get used to the tent by popping it up in the yard and trying a backyard practice run overnight. Human pups’ll love it too!
  • Check yourself and your dog for ticks, and use a safe insect repellent. Ticks are harder to find on furry bodies, so vaccinate your dog for Lyme Disease (parks located in the south and southwestern part of the state tend to be outside of the deer tick hot zone).
  • Outfitting your dog with a personalized pack can be a fun way to simplify carrying pick-up bags, water, and treats. Many pet parents say their dogs love having a job.
  • Keep dogs leashed so that they don’t mingle with other critters.
  • Clean up after your dog and pack it out.
  • Don’t leave dogs unattended in vehicles or tied up at the campsite. It’s just rude.

Featured photo: @aulka

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