MidwestWeekends.com — Your Travel Guide to the Upper Midwest

Lodgings in Minnesota state parks

Surrounded by nature, a lucky few sleep in relative luxury.

Douglas Lodge at Itasca State Park.

© Beth Gauper

In Itasca State Park, the Douglas Lodge has been housing visitors since 1905, when it was known as "a jewel standing in mud.''

If you don't have a cabin of your own, Minnesota has one you can borrow.

Some really are cabins, but others are houses, complete with two-car garages, like the one at Bear Head Lake State Park, previously occupied by the park manager. Some were private houses that have been renovated, like the Illgen Falls Cabin in Tettegouche State Park.

There's something for everyone in Itasca  State Park: rooms in a historic lodge, classic cabins, motel-style rooms and new suites with computer access. It doesn't have camper cabins, but you'll find those at 22 other Minnesota state parks.

No matter what kind of "cabin'' it is, it's a good deal, because we all know what counts: Location, location, location. You're a lucky lodger when a state park is at your doorstep. So, needless to say, reserve early.

For more about camper cabins in Minnesota and around the region, see A roof in the woods.

For more about inexpensive group lodgings in Minnesota and around the Upper Midwest, see Cabins for a crowd.

For more about privately owned vintage lodgings, see Classic Minnesota lodges.

Reservations: They can be made a year in advance online or at 866-857-2757; reservation fee is $8.50-$10.

On the first day of availability, reservations can be made starting at 8 a.m. Central Standard Time; after the first day, they can be made on-line 24 hours a day.

The TDD number is 866-290-2267, and the international number is 605-718-3030.


In Tettegouche State Park on the North Shore, the nightly rate at the Illgen Falls Cabin is $180; for midweek stays between November and May, it drops to $140. The rate is for one or two adults; extra people over age 11 are charged $10 per night.

For more, see Cabin on a waterfall.

Guests must bring their own bedding, towels and bath soap and clean the cabin before they leave. Kitchens include plates, pans and utensils; usually, salt, dishwashing soap and coffee filters are available, but don’t count on it.

For more, see What to bring to a rented cabin.

The four cabins on Tettegouche’s Mic Mac Lake rent for $95-$140; Cabin B, which is right on the lake, is most popular at $115-$140.

Illgen Falls cabin at Tettegouche.

© Beth Gauper

There's a waterfall in the backyard of the Illgen Falls Cabin in Tettegouche State Park.

Cabins have fully equipped kitchens but no running water; there’s a nice central shower house and a lodge with wood stove. They’re popular in winter, too.

For more, see Heirs to a hideaway.

Bear Head Lake's guesthouse has three bedrooms and two baths and sleeps 10, $160. For more, see Ensconced in Ely.

St. Croix has guesthouses, $215. Guesthouse 1 has eight bedrooms and 2˝ baths and sleeps 15; Guesthouse 2 has six bedrooms and two baths and sleeps 12.

Savanna Portage's guesthouse has one bedroom and sleeps six, $105.

St. Croix State Park also has six cabins with half-baths and kitchenettes that sleep two, $75, that are open from mid-May to mid-September.

Wild River's guesthouse has two bedrooms and a wood-burning fireplace and sleeps eight (four or six are a better fit), $110. For more, see Snug on the St. Croix.

Scenic has a cabin with a fireplace, hot plate and mini-fridge but no indoor plumbing, $70.

At Itasca, suites in Douglas Lodge are $127; guest rooms with shared baths are $75. The 12 newer two-room Itasca Suites have kitchenettes, color television and phone, $138 (in winter, when they're the only park lodgings open, they're $99). Rooms in a four-plex have fireplaces and bathrooms, $94.

The 1910 Clubhouse has 10 bedrooms and rents for $470. The two-bedroom Historic East Cabin has a fireplace, heat and air-conditioning, $215. The Itasca Ozawindib Lake Cabin sleeps up to eight and is $140 for four; bring bedding.

Bear Paw housekeeping cabins sleep four and have a toilet but no shower, $105. Douglas Lodge cabins of various sizes with no kitchen (some have fireplace and screened porch) are $120-$203.

For more on Itasca and its lodgings, see The people's park.

There's also a guesthouse and cabin, both with full kitchens, at La Salle Lake State Recreation Area, eight miles north of Itasca.

The three-bedroom Black Bear Guesthouse sleeps 10 in four queen beds and a futon and rents for $225. The two-bedroom Lone Wolf Cabin sleeps four in two queen beds and rents for $200.

At Fort Ridgely, the chalet on the golf course rents for $80 a night and sleeps 14 on the floor, though eight would be more comfortable. There's a full kitchen, and bathrooms with shower on the lower level.

The park also rents a farmhouse that sleeps six, $55. It's air-conditioned but not heated, and it has only a small refrigerator. Showers are at the nearby Equestrian Campground.

For more about the park and surrounding activities, see Ponies and putters.

Camper cabins

There are 88 of them in 26 Minnesota state parks, renting for $60-$70 with electricity and $55-$65 without, plus $8.50 reservation fee.

None has running water, and cooking is outside. Pets are not allowed in the cabins.

For more, see A roof in the woods.

Vehicle fees: Overnight guests also pay a vehicle fee of $5 daily or $25 for an annual pass. 

Last updated on December 29, 2016