7 Best Camping Spots Near Duluth, Minnesota

Posted by
Brittany Varano
June 01, 2023

camping near duluth minnesota
Split Rock Lighthouse State Park. Photo: Dustin Lee Thibideau

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From glamping resorts with modern conveniences to remote and rustic campgrounds, there’s beautiful camping for everyone near Duluth, Minnesota.

Tucked along the North Shore of Lake Superior, Duluth is home to scenic camping for all levels and styles.

Minnesota’s North Shore is beyond beautiful, boasting epic waterfalls, historic lighthouses, and fall foliage that you have to see to believe. It’s got plenty to keep you happily occupied nearly year-round.

Duluth’s prime location, where the St. Louis River meets Lake Superior, means campers can choose campgrounds with excellent fishing, sea kayaking, beach-going, and more.

Plus, not far from downtown lies the Wisconsin border, making it easy to explore Northwest Wisconsin’s scenic forests, lakefront, and famous islands, like Apostle Islands National Lakeshore.

1. Split Rock Lighthouse State Park

Split Rock Lighthouse State Park
Photo: Wesam Taleb

Why you should go: Experience the natural wonder of Minnesota’s North Shore with a stay at Split Rock Lighthouse State Park. This seasonal campground is open from May to October and is best known for panoramic views of Lake Superior and its historic 1910 lighthouse perched atop a cliff.

When the weather is warm, you can lay out on the aptly named Pebble Beach or take advantage of 12 miles of picturesque hiking trails along the shore.

Pros: The park’s Shipwreck Creek Campground features relatively new facilities, such as hot showers and flush toilets. There are 46 modern campsites with electricity as well as 20 cart-in sites and four backpack sites for an exciting roughin’-it experience.

One camper remarked of the drive-in plots, “We appreciate the sites being spaced apart, giving people some space to stretch out.”

Cons: You won’t find a dump or a water-fill station for RVs within Split Rock. However, there are fill stations in nearby Silver Bay where you can stop to fill up.

This campground is quite popular thanks to its incredible location along Lake Superior and its excellent facilities. Be sure to book ahead since spots can fill up quickly in the summer.

If you go: 3755 Split Rock Lighthouse Road, Two Harbors, MN 55616; 218-595-7625

2. Indian Point Campground


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Why you should go: Indian Point is a pet-friendly campground right on the St. Louis River, conveniently located just 15 minutes from downtown Duluth. Although the grounds are near the city, the lightly forested property and riverside location offer a taste of the great outdoors.

Pros: Indian Point is excellent for families with kids and those wishing to camp without traveling far. This private campground features 76 campsites and is equipped to handle big rigs. Visitors enjoy access to laundry and free WiFi, so you don’t have to worry about being disconnected during your stay.

There are many things to do near the grounds, like rent kayaks and bikes at the Spirit Lake Marina, visit the Lake Superior Zoo, and hike the nearby trails.

Cons: This campsite is not ideal for campers who prefer remote and private sites. One reviewer noted, “The site was long enough but very close to neighbors on the door side.” Additionally, the grounds are pet-friendly, but there are breed restrictions that should be noted before arrival.

If you go: 7000 Pulaski St, Duluth, MN 55807; (218) 628-4977

Related read: 11 Best Cabin Rentals Near Duluth, Minnesota

3. Jay Cooke State Park

Jay Cooke State Park
Photo: Lost_in_the_Midwest/Shutterstock

Why you should go: As one of Minnesota’s most popular parks, camping at Jay Cooke State Park promises an outdoorsy experience filled with epic views.

The park is known for its dense forests and iconic swinging bridge that’s surrounded by unique rock formations and the passing St. Louis River. The park’s campground is conveniently less than 30 minutes from Duluth.

Pros: At Jay Cooke, there are 79 campsites, with a mix of options featuring tent pads, RV hookups, and five cabin rentals.

The sites are pretty wooded, offering a secluded and private camping experience not far from the city. There are a variety of outdoor activities to do in the park, including mountain biking, horseback riding, hiking, fishing, swimming, and winter sports.

Cons: Something to note is that the campground is across the way from a highway, but one camper mentioned that “it is a quiet, low-usage road.”

Another commented, “We stayed in the first loop, and the sites were slightly unlevel, but there was plenty of room, and the trees offered a lot of privacy.”

If you go: 780 Highway 210 Carlton, MN 55718; 218-673-7000

4. Gooseberry Falls State Park

Gooseberry River minnesota
Photo: MH Anderson Photography

Why you should go: Gooseberry Falls State Park is an exciting place to enjoy heavily wooded campsites along Lake Superior. The park’s namesake waterfall is majestic and beautiful, featuring an upper, middle, and lower cascade totaling a drop of about 90 feet between the three.

The charming small town of Two Harbors is just down the road, where you can stop by for lunch at mom-and-pop diners and enjoy local breweries and more.

Pros: The grounds boast 69 drive-in campsites, three group camps that can accommodate up to 50 people and one first-come, first-serve kayak site on the Lake Superior State Water Trail. The grounds also have an indoor clubhouse with a fireplace and tables.

The campground is far enough away from light pollution that, according to one camper, “At night, the stars seem close enough to touch. If you’re lucky, you may be treated to the Northern Lights.”

Cons: There are no electric sites at Gooseberry Falls, and campsites can only fit RVs up to 40 feet long. This is another beloved state park amongst Minnesotans, so booking in advance is recommended to guarantee a spot. That also means Gooseberry Falls is busier than other campgrounds on this list.

If you go: 3206 Highway 61 East Two Harbors, MN 55616; 218-595-7100

Related read: 7 Best Great Lakes Destinations for an Unforgettable Vacation

5. Amnicon Falls State Park

Amnicon Falls State Park
Photo: John Brueske

Why you should go: Amnicon Falls State Park is a campground for those seeking a quiet and rustic camping experience without the crowds.

Situated across state lines about 30 minutes from Duluth, the park offers a chance to swim at the base of waterfalls in the Amnicon River. Amnicon Falls is also known for its historic covered footbridge that leads to a scenic little island surrounded by the passing river.

Pros: Amnicon Falls State Park is in Wisconsin, only 30 minutes from Duluth. This tranquil little campground is rarely busy, making it easy to plan a last-minute camping trip. For even more waterfalls (including the tallest in Wisconsin), venture to nearby Pattison State Park.

Cons: With limited attractions and less than two miles of hiking trails in the park, Amnicon Falls is a destination for those seeking a less active camping experience. The park’s campsites are also rustic and do not feature electricity, showers, or a dump station, and only has a vault toilet.

If you go: 4279 County Rd U, South Range, WI 54874; 715-398-3000

6. Spirit Mountain

Why you should go: Spirit Mountain is an all-in-one camping and recreation hotspot perfect for families and those who prefer to stay busy while camping. Take your pick from 73 campsites, 39 equipped with water hookups and all furnished with fire pits, picnic tables, and electricity.

Pros: From disc golf to mountain biking, a jumping pillow, and mini-golf, you and your family will have plenty to do at Split Mountain.

The seasonal Adventure Park even offers heart-thumping attractions like a zip line and an alpine coaster. Once the snow begins to fall, the grounds welcome winter campers interested in skiing and tubing at one of Minnesota’s top ski hills.

Dogs are allowed to join you at this private campground for an additional fee. Other convenient amenities include hot showers open 24 hours, flush toilets, a camp store, and an onsite bar and grill.

Cons: As a private campground less than 15 minutes from downtown Duluth, Spirit Mountain is not your typical outdoorsy venture. However, the property is wooded, providing ample privacy between sites.

Many visitors have noted that the water pressure can be quite high, and some hookups are inconveniently placed.

If you go: 9500 Spirit Mountain Pl, Duluth, MN 55810; 800-642-6377

Related read: 7 of the Most Romantic Getaways in Minnesota

7. Getaway Kettle River

getaway kettle river Minneapolis
Photo: Getaway Kettle River

Why you should go: Getaway Kettle River is a glamping resort about an hour’s drive from Duluth that combines the joys of staying in the great outdoors with the comforts of home.

It is the best choice for those seeking ultimate relaxation (and camping without the hard work). During your stay, take advantage of nearby hiking, like the Wolf Creek Falls Trail, and activities at Banning State Park, home to epic kayaking on the Kettle River.

Pros: There’s no need to haul gear or worry about setting up camp at Getaway Kettle River. Campsites are outfitted with cozy one or two-bedroom tent cabins equipped with modern conveniences like a kitchenette and a private bathroom.

The tiny cabins protect you against the elements, promising a comfortable stay regardless of season or weather.

One camper said, “The provisions and furnishings are well thought out — good lighting, comfortable bed, essential cookware, Bluetooth speaker, even dog treats, and a few other nice touches for our canine companion.”

Cons: As cozy as the glamping cabins are, this is far from traditional camping. The resort has 48 tiny cabins on about 96 acres, and while the sites are positioned to optimize privacy, you’ll likely be able to see your neighbors.

If you go: 77112 Long Lake Rd, Willow River, MN 55795

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