In honor of National Get Outdoors Day on Saturday, June 8, 2019—a holiday that encourages healthy, active outdoor fun—the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources offers free admission to all Minnesota State Parks.

The Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund, which receives 40 percent of lottery proceeds, has invested in more than half of Minnesota’s 75 state park and recreation areas. Lottery proceeds have provided support to expand, manage and develop some of Minnesota’s most diverse and unique natural landscapes which provides a playground for all Minnesotans to enjoy.

Here are eight state parks and recreation areas (which have benefited from lottery dollars!) that would make for a truly unique experience on this year’s National Get Outdoors Day:   

Minneopa State Park

Check out Minnesota’s first bison herd for conservation purposes at Minneopa State Park in Mankato. Visitors can drive through the enclosed 330 acres of the park to catch a glimpse of one of 20 bison roaming around the prairie.

Zippel Bay State Park

You don’t have to head down south to experience pristine white sandy beaches. It’s the exact opposite in Minnesota: head up north—all the way up north—near the Canadian border to Zippel Bay State Park in Lake of the Woods County. Zippel Bay features two miles of white sandy beaches on one of the world’s largest lakes.

Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area

If action adventure is more your thing then Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area is for you. Cuyuna Country in Ironton is Minnesota’s world-class biking destination and features more than 30 miles of trails with showstopping views spread across 800 acres. 

Gooseberry Falls State Park

Located on the shore of Lake Superior, Gooseberry Falls State Park in Two Harbors is one of Minnesota’s most visited state parks and is known for an abundance of natural beauty, including spectacular waterfalls.

Split Rock Lighthouse State Park

Also located in Two Harbors, Split Rock Lighthouse State Park is home of the historic lighthouse and offers incredible views of Lake Superior. Pack a picnic and make a day of exploring throughout the state park, which includes 12 miles of hiking trails.

Forestville Mystery Cave State Park

Discover Minnesota’s natural wonders underground in Minnesota’s longest cave at Forestville Mystery Cave State Park in Forestville. The underground cave features 13 miles of natural passages with unique geology and phenomenal underground pools.

Nerstrand Big Woods State Park

Explore the outstanding biodiversity at Nerstrand Big Woods State Park in Rice County, home to Minnesota’s largest remnant of the Big Woods. Nerstrand is also home to a 20-foot limestone waterfall hidden in the woods known as Hidden Falls.  

Soudan Underground Mine State Park

Visit Minnesota’s oldest and deepest iron mine at the Soudan Underground Mine State Park in Soudan. Daily tours are available Memorial Day through Labor Day and offer an insightful and educational look into Minnesota’s rich mining history.

For a complete list of Minnesota State Parks and recreation areas, please visit: