This last weekend we got out to our first Minnesota State Park in 2015. While we were out hiking, geocaching, taking pictures, and having multiple discussions about our summer camping plans, I realized how many things we actually do when we go to the different state parks and recreation areas.
You can purchase a hiking club kit at most of the parks. It's less than $20 and then you hike specific trails within each park, enjoy the sites and log the password you will find on a sign along the way. For each park you find the password for, you earn a certain amount of hiking miles. Hiking miles will earn you completion patches for 25, 50, 75, 100, 125, 175 and all park miles. Our favorite perk is that once you hike 100 miles, you earn a coupon for a free night of camping. Complete all the miles and earn another free night of camping plus an engraved plaque.
Passport Club is similar to the hiking club but even easier to do. Just purchase the passport club kit for less than $20, get the stamp for each park which is typically at the entrance building and get rewarded for your visit! Similar to the Hiking Club, when you visit 25 parks, you will receive a coupon for a free night of camping and a commemorative pin. Visit all the parks and earn another free night of camping.
What's your favorite activity to do in Minnesota or other state parks?
Every couple years, the Minnesota State parks release a new geocaching adventure and challenge. You don't need to be a registered geocacher on Geocaching.com so this is a great way to try out geocaching! Borrow a GPS unit from the state park if you don't have one and follow the coordinates to find the final geocache container that is hidden somewhere in the park. For each park geocache that you find, you will collect a card. They will teach you something about the park. The current adventure cards are all about wildflowers. Once you collect 10, 20, 40 or 60 cards, you can turn them in for reward cards. And then if you collect all 81 cards, you will get a special completion card and can upload your photo with that card to the Finishers page!
Many of the parks also have other geocaches within them that have been placed by other geocachers with approval from the park. You will need to be a member on Geocaching.com to find these caches but most are available with the free account.