MidwestWeekends.com — Your Travel Guide to the Upper Midwest

Free days in Minnesota and Michigan state parks

On the second weekend of June, everyone is invited to join naturalists for a day of fun.

Kids at the Itasca headwaters.

© Beth Gauper

In Itasca State Park, kids run across the rocks that mark the start of the Mississippi.

The second weekend in June is a good time to try something new in Minnesota and Michigan.

On June 8 in 2019, admission to all Minnesota state parks is free to celebrate National Get Outdoors Day.

Many parks are holding special events, such as archery at Afton, birding at Bear Head and a ukulele picnic at Split Rock.

There will be a Civil War encampment and canoeing on the Minnesota River from Fort Ridgely and a 100th-birthday bash at Sibley that includes a concert, paddling in a voyageur canoe and kittenball. 

This is the only day the $7 daily vehicle charge is waived in state parks. But it's free to borrow GPS units and kits for birding, fishing and kids' discovery any time.

On the North Shore, Split Rock Lighthouse historical site offers Children's Day on June 8, with free admission and special activities for children 17 and under.

The weekend of June 7-9 is Take a Kid Fishing Weekend, when people 16 or older don't need a license if they take a youth 15 and younger fishing.

In Michigan, June 8-9 is Three Free weekend, with free fishing, free ORV trail riding and free admission to Michigan's 103 state parks. On other days, non-residents pay $9 for a day pass.

In 2019, Michigan state parks are celebrating their centennial, with many special events.

Where to stay

Minnesota has a large selection of camper cabins, guesthouses and even tipis. Reserve early for weekends.

For more, see Lodgings in Minnesota state parks.

Michigan has an even bigger selection of mini-cabins, rustic cabins, camper cabins, lodges, yurts and tipis.

For more, see Michigan's great lake cabins.


Last updated on June 7, 2019