Bring on the late-spring snowfalls: In my mind, the prolonged dreary weather will only make us relish summertime that much more.

I have been dreaming of warm-weather entertainments, and one that most intrigues me is renting a camper cabin at one of our state parks.

These simple one-room wooden structures — decked out with bunkbeds and mattresses, dining tables and benches — give people wary of pitching tents a way to spend the night in the woods or prairie. While the cabins do not have plumbing, they are situated near campgrounds with restrooms and showers. Many have screened porches.

More than 25 state parks offer rental cabins, from Jay Cooke near Duluth to Afton, just east of St. Paul on the St. Croix River, and Lake Shetek in the prairielands of the southwest. Many of the cabins with electricity and heat are open year-round.

The price for a mattress among the trees? Cabins without electricity run $45 a night Sunday through Thursday and $50 on the weekend. Add $5 to the nightly rate if the cabin has electricity. They sleep up to six people.

Online reservations can be made 24 hours a day at the Minnesota State Park reservation site: MinnesotaWeb. You can also call 1-866-857-2757 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily.

Spots fill quickly, especially for busy holiday weekends, so it is best to book while it still feels like winter (like today).

For people who have survived a rough winter, state park camper cabins are a great way to ease “roughing it” in the wild. Summer never looked so good.


Send your questions or tips to travel editor Kerri Westenberg at, and follow her on twitter @kerriwestenberg.