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tent camping availability in August, need some help

North, South...
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tent camping availability in August, need some help

First time to Minnesota and we want to tent camp along Hwy 61. The State Parks show no availability for reservations. Does anyone know how difficult it is to find a campsite if you just show up.

We will have a tent and are fine with rustic camping.

Would love some suggestions concerning finding a campsite.

Thanks

Minnesota
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1. Re: tent camping availability in August, need some help

I assume you're talking about the state parks along the North Shore. It's been two summers since I've camped in those, but it has changed from the good old days when you could show up and often get a spot without reservations if you weren't too late. The last few times we would try to get to a park before 12:00 and would usually get a spot. The further up the shore you go, the better your chances. While Gooseberry was very tough, we always got in at Cascade and usually at Temperance River provided we were there before noon or even one.

Another suggestion. If you're coming in later, go up Highway 1 towards Finland. There are Forest Service campsites on a river (Baptism?) there. Further up the shore, if you go up the Sawbill Trail at Tofte, and up the Gunflint Trail at Grand Marais you can find more Forest Service sites. I think on both trails you come to the first ones within 15 miles. They are rustic, but they are always on a river or a lake and very scenic. Since they don't have hookups, your chances of getting a spot are very good provided it's not a holiday weekend. You could camp at one of these the first night and then go back down to Highway 61 and get a spot in a state park the next morning.

Finally, way up the shore north of Grand Marais is Judge C.R. Magney State Park. They don't have hookups so they usually don't fill. You are going in the busiest month, but with a tent and your willingness to rustic camp, you should be okay.

North, South...
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2. Re: tent camping availability in August, need some help

Thank you so much for your advice.

How are the chances of finding a spot towards Voyagers? We then have to head back down the Great River Road and will have the same dilemma.

any more suggestions??

Minnesota
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3. Re: tent camping availability in August, need some help

Never car camped at Voyagers but can't imagine you would have any trouble. On my State Forest Recreation Guide it shows a Wooden Frog Campground with 56 sites on Lake Kabetogama in Voyaguers National Park. There are others but with one this large I can't imagine you wouldn't find a spot. Here is the link to the Minnesota DNR camping site both for state parks and state forests.

http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/camping/index.html

It's very complete and also has descriptions of and contact information for specific campgrounds. When you get to a page that lists all of the state forest campgrounds look for Kabetogama State Forest in that column.

Two things--my own personal preference but I (and most Minnesotans) love the North Shore and don't think that on your first trip to Minnesota you should skip it to go up to Voyaguers simply because you're worried about finding camping spots. You're giving up beautiful Lake Superior views, rocky points, scenic waterfalls, and unique towns for an area that is nice but not that different from many Minnesota lakes. Yes, the North Shore is more crowded but there's a good reason for that.

Second, I got a little confused when you mentioned Great River Road. That is Highway 61 south of the cities--it's completely different than Highway 61 north of Duluth along the north shore of Lake Superior. It's a neat area also but other than White Water State Park I really haven't camped in that area. But the DNR site also has information down there also. The state forest on that camping page to look for along the Great River Road is Dorer Mem. hardwood Forest. How long is your trip and where exactly are you planning to go?

North, South...
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4. Re: tent camping availability in August, need some help

we will be driving up from North Carolina. Heading first up the Michigan peninsula then across northern Wisconsin and up into Minnesota. Back down to NC....

we have two weeks and will be tent camping with a dog. we love to hike and camp in peaceful locations. we ususally head to state parks or national forests.

Would it be better to take this trip at another time of the year? Right now we plan on the last week of July, first of August. Wonder about crowds and heat.. would love any suggestions.

Saint Paul...
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5. Re: tent camping availability in August, need some help

The DNR *used* to hold back several campsites from reservations for walk-ups - you can probably find info on the process (and if they still do this) on their website. Sorry I don't have time to search myself.

There area also some private campgrounds along the shore. Lambs comes to mind but it's been many many many many years since I camped there but it's worth a shot. Many municipalities (I think Two Harbors does) also have campgrounds though I can't remember any off the top of me head but might be worth a quick Goggle search. One final suggestion, have you looked into camping in a national forest site? There are often campgrounds run by the forest service.

Two words: Betty's Pies. :) North Shore Berry Crunch is my favorite.

Good luck and it's definately worth trying to find a few nights along the north shore!

BTW, We will wave at you on the freeway as we drive south! We're heading to NC/SC/TN/VA for the next two weeks! Great Smokey NP for a couple days than to the coast of SC for a week before heading back up through Raleigh-Durham into VA mountains.

Edited: 13 July 2010, 13:58
Minneapolis...
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6. Re: tent camping availability in August, need some help

If I'm trying to reserve an escape up to the North Shore (usually Tettegouche) I call by June because of the demand. I have no experience with the walk-up process described above -- but I would call the MN DNR and ask about policies relating to that. There are tons of camping spots and areas -- but there is also a very high demand. Not as high as late September for the leaves changing , but still high.

Minnesota
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7. Re: tent camping availability in August, need some help

The time you are going is fine. The bugs are down and along the shore heat generally isn't an issue. Again, with your flexibility and willingness, getting a camping spot won't be a problem. If you are hikers, then the North Shore is even more of a fit for you. The Superior Trail runs almost continuously from Duluth to the Canadian border. Most people hike segments of it and there is a shuttle that people use to get back to their cars if needed. There is a store and office for it in the town of Two Harbors. Make sure you stop in there for hiking suggestions. There is also a travel center run by the state in Gooseberry Falls that can give you information and a national forest office in Tofte that can point you at spots to camp.

My wife and I were just discussing our fall trip yesterday and western NC is one of the areas we're looking at. Maybe you can help us out come September.

8. Re: tent camping availability in August, need some help

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