In the Land of 10,000 Lakes, state and national park units can get crowded in a hurry. And if you’re hoping to find a campsite reservation on a summer weekend, forget about it! But what if I told you that there’s a place in the Brainerd Lakes Area – in fact, it’s on the southwest shore of Gull Lake – where you can not only get a campsite on a first-come, first-served basis, but you may even have the trails and lakeshore to yourself? Read on to learn more about this Minnesota state forest gem.

Another cool thing about Pillsbury State Forest is if, by chance, the campground actually fills up, you can just wander off into the woods and set up camp. That’s right – as long as you follow the rules, dispersed camping is permitted in this Minnesota state forest. Parts of the forest are popular with equestrians, so while visiting, consider a trail ride through the woods.

Have you visited or camped at Pillsbury State Forest? What is another beautiful place in Minnesota where you can escape the nature-loving crowds?

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