Free day in Minnesota state parks
On June 11, everyone is invited to join naturalists for a day of fun.
© 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.
Many parks are holding special events, such as archery, bird and flower hikes and raptor programs.
There will be a peregrine falcon program and a blues concert at Tettegouche, birding at Bear Head Lake, backpacking at Lake Maria, a selfie scavenger hunt at Interstate and a picnic at Fort Snelling.
In Lake Carlos and Whitewater state parks, people can try canoeing, archery, geocaching and bird-watching during Summer Samplers.
Nearly 20 public paddles will be on the Minnesota River State Water Trail between Ortonville and St. Paul.
On the North Shore, Split Rock Lighthouse historical site will have an open house June 11, along with the state park. The park will offer storytelling about the shipwrecks of 1905 and host a guided bike ride on the Gitchi-Gami Trail to Iona's Beach natural area.
This is the only day the $5 daily vehicle charge is waived. But it's free to borrow GPS units and kits for birding, fishing and kids' discovery any time.
The weekend of June 10-12 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.
It's also Free Fishing Weekend in Michigan.
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.
Last updated on June 6, 2016