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Ralph Wiggum

NR State Park Campsites

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How do the non-reservable campsites at state parks work? What happens if you get there and there are no sites left? Are you SOL? What are the chances of getting a site? What can you do to up your odds of getting a site?

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The non-reservable sites are first come first serve. If they don't have a site available most parks have a call list, but most of the time you're sol unless one of the first on the list. To up the odds would be to show up early and get your name down, or reserve a site earlier. I know this time of the year it is a royal pain to reserve a site. Also depending on where you're going look at some of the smaller parks that don't get visited as often. Much better luck getting into one of those.

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I think it would depend if you are tent camping or "rv-ing". We are coming up to the Duluth area in August to camp and planning on taking two days to get there. Our logical choice for the first day is near Owatonna. We called the park and left a message. They called back and said that "typically" they always have non-reservable's left, but of course not always. I would say that you should call your park of choice and see what the odds are on your weekend of getting a site.

In this day and age of lots and lots of people taking up camping, the reservable sites are the way to go. Either that, or do like we have to down here in Nebraska...if you want to camp Friday thru Sunday, put your camper down at the site no later than Wednesday and just pay the price. It stinks, but it boils down to "you got to pay to play".

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We normally reserve spots. I would hate to drive a hundred miles or so and not get a spot to camp. They do normally change a reserve fee, but when you compare that to the cost of a couple gallons of gas, not a big deal.

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I normally reserve, too, but the wife and I decided to plan another trip to the North Shore, and reservations aren't so easy to come by on short notice.

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Some state park campgrounds have overflow camping that isn't advertised. North Shore might be tricky, the major campgrounds might have overflow, but the small ones back in the woods that are self-registration I doubt will have anything like that. Any time I've gone up there I didn't have any problems finding places, but with the economy now more folks are doing it to save money on family trips.

If you get stuck without a site and are tenting, you could head over to one of the parking areas for the superior hiking trail and set up there in the woods a bit. Technically they have sites set up along the trail, but as long as you aren't chopping down the forest and building a bonfire and raising hell, I don't think anyone will bother you. wink

I've also had luck with being willing to jump to other spots in the campground as folks leave through the weekend. Sometimes a spot is only available for one night, then I'd have to move to another for the second night. Not a big deal for me, I don't have a lot of gear and people to deal with.

ps. Eckbeck campground is nice, near Finland. smile

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