Need some time with nature this winter? Camper cabins allow “camping” at MN State Parks during all seasons, but are especially enjoyable when the temp dips below freezing.
Camper cabins are 12×16 feet cabins with bunk beds, mattresses, a table, and benches. Many (but not all) have electricity and heat, allowing winter use.
They are described as “rustic” because they do not have running water/indoor plumbing. Vault (Biffy-like) toilets are available nearby as seasonal restrooms and showers are closed during the winter months.
Each cabin has a fire ring with a grill for outdoor cooking. Slow cookers and coffee pots are allowed inside the cabins. It is recommended that you bring in your own water from November to April.
We spent Thanksgiving at a camper cabin at Bear Head State Park. We checked in after 3 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day. The kids quickly claimed the upper bunks while Tim started a campfire to roast turkey dogs and boil a pot of water for making mashed potatoes (it was Thanksgiving, after all). It was a holiday meal that will become family lore.
We didn’t utilize a slow cooker, but did bring a coffee maker (Tim is not a “happy camper” without a cup first thing). We used an outdoor gas camp stove for warming up soup and water for oatmeal. Like camping, we washed dishes in a bucket and brushed our teeth outdoors.
The best part of the entire experience was being able to enjoy the solitude and beauty of another MN State Park in the wintertime — in this case, Bear Head State Park, which is #6 in our quest to visit them all.
There are dozens of camper cabins spread across the state. For more details, check out the DNR’s camper cabin webpage. If you stay in a camper cabin in the winter, we highly recommend slip on boots, as they will make trips to the toilet much easier!
Have you stayed in a camper cabin? Any advice? Share your experiences in the comment box below. Thanks!