Vacation planning can be fun with so many interesting options available. National parks offer a variety of venues near and far. Here are five fascinating parks Minnesotans could easily visit this summer. Check out “Best National Parks To Visit In Winter” for other great ideas when you are looking for a break when the snow flies.
800 E. Lakeshore Drive
Houghton, MI 49931
Where else do wolves and moose outnumber cars? Natural wildlife is favored by the prohibition of wheeled vehicles and the only access to this beautiful isle is by boat or seaplane. Furthermore, the National Park Service closes this park every winter opening on or about April 15, 2015. As a result, the numbers of visitors each year is less than some national parks see in a day. Hikers and campers embrace nature in its purest form on this 50-mile-long island. In case you are curious, moose number around one or two thousand and the wolves necessarily range from 10 to 50.
Related: Under-The-Radar National Parks
Voyageurs National Park
360 Highway 11 E.
International Falls, MN 56649
Hikers, fishers, campers, boaters and naturalists alike can find their ideal vacation somewhere in this 218,054-acre park. Many come back year after year. Hikers and campers will find over 290 individual sites for tenting overnight, or stopping points during the trek across any of the four main lakes in the park. Campsites feature everything from bear-proof food lockers, picnic tables, fire rings and privies. Boaters benefit from the many boat ramps, parking sites, canoe, kayak, boat and houseboat rentals. One especially attractive destination is Kettle Falls and the hotel that can only be reached by air, boat or shuttle. Naturalists can relive the saga of the Ojibwe and the Voyageurs as they made their way through this splendid scenic North Woods of towering trees, Precambrian rock and crystal clear water.
Theodore Roosevelt National Park
315 Second Ave.
Medora, ND 58645
“I do not believe that any man can adequately appreciate the world of to-day unless he has some knowledge of…[and] some feeling for…the history of the world of the past,” said Theodore Roosevelt. He first visited the area in 1883 as a skinny city kid seeking to hunt bison. Roosevelt cherished the strenuous life in this rocky, craggy landscape. Visitors find inspiration in our past president’s ardor and commitment to conservation chronicled by the park. It also offers an opportunity to learn about the natural environment of western North Dakota and the history of the peoples in this region.
Badlands National Park
25216 Ben Reifel Road
Interior, SD 57750
Catch a spectacular sunrise or a sunset amplified by the colorful geological formations. Learn about one of the richest fossil beds in the world in a half-hour Park Ranger talk. Rangers also give hour-long guided walks through picturesque rugged terrain. Drivers can follow the Badlands Loop Road, stopping for scenery at the picturesque overlooks or see bison, bighorn sheep, prairie dogs and black-footed ferrets on the Sage Creek Rim Road. Hikers can follow the trails or make their own way through rugged terrain examining striking geologic deposits.
Apostle Islands National Lakeshore
415 Washington Ave.
Bayfield, WI 54814
While not a National Park, the Bayfield Peninsula offers a most unique experience within a day’s drive for Minnesotans. Sailboaters, power boaters, kayakers and canoeists love to explore in the calm waters created by protected bays and 21 islands. There are plenty of lighthouses, beaches and scenic splendor to lure the inquisitive. Daring canoeists and kayakers venture to Devil’s Island exploring the Sea Caves. Visitors can rent bicycles and mopeds, kayaks and canoes and take a ferry to explore Madeline Island or camp in Big Bay State Park.
Robin Johnson was born in Annandale, and graduated from Richfield High School and then the University of Minnesota where he studied Political Science, Business and Industrial Relations. A writer for Examiner.com, he also consults with a variety of organizations and individuals helping them develop and grow. His work can be found at Examiner.com.