MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — This is the time of year when Minnesotans head to cabin country. It can be expensive to rent if you don’t own a place. The Department of Natural Resources owns cabins, camper cabins and yurts at state parks across Minnesota. Anyone can rent them. The goal of the DNR is to have an option that is affordable.
“You get out here especially to Afton, we kind of maintain that wilderness experience so you feel like you’re a lot farther away than you really are,” Park Ranger Nick Bartels said.
Afton State Park has Yurts and camper cabins available to rent.
Bartels calls the camper cabins a simple set-up with bunk beds.
“Different amenities offered, some of them have electricity, some don’t. You’re required to bring in your own sheets, sleeping bags things like that. A dining table, you have to do all your cooking outside either over the campfire or bring a grill,” Bartels explained.
While the camper cabins ranging from $65 to $70 a night may be more traditional, at $60 a night, the Yurts are newer and gaining in popularity.
“I kind of think of it as hybrid between camping and cabin camper camping for the people that don’t want all the creature comforts that the cabins have to offer but don’t want to worry about packing up a tent and doing the whole set up. It’s got kind of rustic furniture set up, rocking chair and then the wood stove we actually provide the fire wood for that in the winter,” Bartels said.
There are higher end places as well that can run up to $400 a night for a place that sleeps 10. Itasca State Park features suites, cabins and guesthouses. Some of the options have bedding provided, along with the comforts of home, including a full kitchen plus access to boats and canoes.
There’s a variety of options across the state. And they all have access to the state park and all it has to offer.
“We’ve got a lot of beautiful terrain for hiking, some challenging trails, some easy trails, so we’ve got over 22 miles in the park so a lot of ground to cover. We’ve got a swimming beach, a half mile hike from the parking lot, you get a little more privacy it’s not quite as busy as some of the other beaches along the St. Croix,” Bartels said.
Bartels said making affordable options available is a priority.
“Just to give people that opportunity to experience that cabin living, camping at a reasonable price and experience some of the great things Minnesota has to offer,” Bartels said.
Reservations can be made a year in advance, so they’re already taking reservations for this time next year. They book up quickly.
The Yurts at Afton are booked for nearly the next 10 months. Booking a campsite is also an option.