Free Access to Minnesota State Parks for 24 Hours
The MN DNR offered four days of free access to all of Minnesota's 75 state parks this year, and your last opportunity is right around the corner. If you're not feeling the hustle and bustle of Black Friday shopping this year, talk about a fantastic alternative option with the fam.
Did you know that there is a state park within 30 miles of most Minnesotans? How cool is that? There are quite a few within an hour from Rochester. The closest is Carley State Park in Altura. Open daily 8a-10pm. A great place to take a quiet hike along the Whitewater River.
Speaking of Whitewater river, you can head down the road a few miles from Carley State Park and go to Whitewater State Park where you can take in some gorgeous views of the bluff and river, rugged hiking trails, trout fishing, and year-round interpretive programs.
Another excellent option nearby is Frontenac State Park. They're open Fridays from 10:00 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. You'll be able to hike the many trails that overlook Lake Pepin, meander through restored prairies, or take you to the shores of the Mississippi River.
How about the longest cave in Minnesota, with over 13 miles of underground passages? Tell me that doesn't sound amazing! At Mystery Cave State Park you can choose from scenic, lantern, geology, photography, and wild caving tours. Reservations are recommended and hours may vary, so definitely give them a call if you want to take the 45-minute trip down there.
Who knows what the weather will be like come the end of November? It's been nice lately, but you never really know when we will get hit by that big winter storm. If regular hiking is out of the question, great news, several state parks offer snowshoe rentals for just $6 a day.
"The goal is to encourage families to spend time together with a walk outdoors. Research shows that walking offers multiple benefits, from increased creativity and better brain function to more flexibility and stamina. So you won't just burn calories, you'll also improve your well-being."
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Gallery Credit: Nick Cooper