There's nothing better than free!

Who doesn't love to camp in the summer? Why not take advantage of a free campsite? I know I will!

According to the DNR, Minnesota state parks have 4,239 campsites available with plenty of visitors and campers taking advantage of them. They explain, "In 2012, state parks hosted 7,989,720 visitors. Day use accounts for most of the visits. Nearly 16 percent of park visitors come from other states and countries." Those numbers have grown since.

If you like to camp as much as I do, here are some free site you can take advantage all near Rochester.

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  • Zumbro Bottoms: It's in Wabasha and you'll have to be sneaky when you're looking for the spots that are specifically free, but they do exist. A website states, "Camping fees ($14//night) are required at the campground, however, there is an obscure parking lot on top of the bluff with a trailhead that takes you to two bluff view points with idle campsites that require no payment."
  • Buckman Coulee Wayside Park: It's pretty much a gravel lot next to the Zumbro River, but you can take advantage of the water nearby!
  • Gibbons Creek: It's not far from Lanesboro. You're really roughing it here too - there's no water or other amenities, just nature!

Would you camp at any of these locations? All of them are within two hours driving distance of Rochester.

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