Jul 12, 2021 - Things to Do

Minnesota's rush to the great outdoors

Minnesota park permits sold
Data: Minnesota Department of Natural Resources; Chart: Will Chase/Axios

The pandemic has introduced and reintroduced Minnesotans to the outdoors.

Driving the news: Sales of annual state park permits are up 60% so far this year compared with the first half of 2021, according to data from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

  • Campsite and cabin occupancies at state parks are also way up in the first half of 2021, compared to 2019.
  • Campers reserved 142,000 individual sites from January through June this year, an increase of 37% over the same period in 2019.

Of note: State campgrounds were closed for part of 2020, so it's not a good year for comparisons.

Zoom out: It's not just Minnesota. National park visits are also surging this year.

  • For example, Grand Teton National Park visits were up 30% in May and camping nearly doubled over the same month of 2019, according to CNN.

Yes, but: State park permit sales and campsite reservations slowed down in June — both camping and park pass sales were up only 15% compared to June 2019.

  • There's a lot more to do now with restaurants reopening, gyms returning to full capacity, air travel picking up and sporting events and concerts coming back.

Our thought bubble: It's great that people have gotten back out into nature, but don't forget to pick up your trash.


Get more local stories in your inbox with Axios Twin Cities.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more

More Twin Cities stories

Twin Citiespostcard

Get a free daily digest of the most important news in your backyard with Axios Twin Cities.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more