Okay if there is one thing I love most about Minnesota, it is the number of parks, forests, and places with preserved nature we have. Minnesota is honestly one of the greatest places to find unique, fun, and well-kept areas of nature.

With today being International Day of Forests I thought it would be on point to share some of Minnesota’s best state forests.

If you didn’t know International Day of Forests is observed annually on March 21 to celebrate forests and create awareness about the importance of preserving them.

What is funny is that many of us (including me until today) have the misconception that state forests and state parks are the same thing, but did you know they are actually very different?

Okay, well they aren’t too different, but there are some.

According to Google, “a state Park is managed in a way to preserve it as is in as close to an original pristine condition with enjoyment by the public but a State Forest is managed to include aspects such as timber use, grazing, wildlife, and fish management.”

Essentially, vamonosoutside.org shares that differences amount to: who owns the land, how land is used, and what branch of government manages the land.

Okay, so with that, what State Forests should you visit in Minnesota?

According to Google, here are, in no particular order, the top 9 State Forests:

Foot Hills State Forest

Located in Backus, MN, and Covering 46,896 acres, Foot Hills State Forest has cross-country skiing, hiking, and all-terrain vehicle trails.

Buena Vista State Forest

The Buena Vista State Forest, located in Bemidji, MN, with 18,693 acres of state land is managed by The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. What is interesting is that Google shares that the majority of the forest is split between private and other public ownership.

Kabetogama State Forest

Kabetogama state forest covers 619,287 acres of Northern MN (Orr, MN) and apparently, people love going there to fish!

Pillsbury State Forest

Located in Nisswa, MN, Pillsbury is Minnesota's first state forest, which came into official status in 1935.

Birch Lakes State Forest

While Birch Lakes is one of the smallest Minnesota state forests (Melrose, MN), it is still an awesome place to visit. According to Google, it is managed primarily for recreation by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

Superior National Forest

Not only is Superior National Forest a Minnesota Favorite, but it is also well known across the country as it is a part of the United States National Forest system. The forest, of course, located in Duluth, features many recreational opportunities, including camping and fishing.

Chippewa National Forest

Located in Deer River, MN, this beautiful natural area shares many lakes offering camping, fishing, hiking, nature viewing and so much more!

Mississippi Headwaters State Forest

Another State Forest Located in Bemidji, MN, the Mississippi Headwaters is honestly such a beautiful area and is highly reviewed by many on Google.

Sand Dunes State Forest

And last but not least is Sand Dunes State Forest in Big Lake, MN. Wrapped around Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge, the 11,040-acre forest offers hiking and horse-riding trails and campgrounds.

Hope you get a chance to visit at least one of these beautiful forests!

All information is credited to Google, which gathered information about local places and services.

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