Minnesota state parks free on Friday

One of four free park days comes the day after Thanksgiving.

Visitors on the swinging bridge at Jay Cooke State Park in Carlton on free park day in November 2018. All Minnesota state parks will offer free entry again this Friday, Nov. 26. Bob King / 2018 file / Duluth News Tribune
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Looking to avoid the big crowds on Black Friday? Head outdoors, and it’s on sale, too.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is waiving entrance fees to all 75 state parks and recreation areas Friday.

The DNR offers four free park days every year, one in each season, to encourage all Minnesotans to get outdoors and enjoy the benefits of nature throughout the year.

“Public lands are for all of us to enjoy,” DNR Commissioner Sarah Strommen said in a statement. “The free park days ensure everyone has the chance to experience the peace and beauty of Minnesota’s state parks and recreation areas. There’s no better time to do this than with family and friends following Thanksgiving celebrations.”

State parks and recreation areas are open year-round and there's at least one park within 30 miles of most Minnesotans.


Most state park offices and visitor centers will be minimally staffed on Friday, so visitors are encouraged to to plan ahead and arrive prepared for their visit:

  • Check visitor alerts and find directions on state park web pages at

  • Download GeoPDF maps before the trip. These maps will display a user’s current location, like Google Maps or other map applications, but the user does not have to be connected to the internet or have cell service while using them.

  • Visit the self-orientation signs near the park entrance for suggestions on what to see and do while visiting.

  • Help protect these special places for the future by staying on trails and leaving no trace.

Go to for more information.

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