Outside in MN: Make the most of the outdoors this summer

Get Outside in MN this summer
Connect with MPR News and The Water Main as you plan a new summer outdoor adventure.
The Water Main

The fireworks are over but there's still lots of weekend left.

Looking for something to do with your family? In Forestville, Minn., this weekend, down by the Iowa border, park staff at Mystery Cave State Park are hosting a "learn to camp" program for beginners. But if you miss it don't worry, there's more

The Minnesota DNR has a helpful series of events that run through the summer designed to help build skills and confidence in spending time outdoors. The "I Can Camp" program is a family friendly overnight that happens in several parks across the state.

DNR staff serve as your guides and teachers to help you learn the ropes of camping. From pitching a tent, gear planning, building a campfire and cooking a meal over it. Staff are also on hand to teach campers how to fish, geocaching and how to take good nature photos.

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It's less expensive than a full camping trip by a private outfitter. An overnight in the park with the "I Can Camp" program covers all your gear including a tent with room for two adults and three small children. That's going to run you $60 for a single night or $85 for two nights.

You can find more program and event suggestions on our new app, Outside in MN.

The goal of Outside in MN

Let's say you're looking for something to do this weekend. But you're not sure of the weather. You don't really know what's going on. And maybe you have kids — and you're busy and stressed. This app can help.

It includes up to date weather, activity suggestions, things for people of all ages and abilities.

Its also a place for people to share their questions about getting outside in Minnesota.

Other events this weekend

This weekend, we're also highlighting this great new guide we have for beginner stargazers.

It's a great weekend to check out the sky if you can catch a break in the clouds.

Our solar system's two biggest planets will also be two of the brightest objects in the night sky this weekend. Jupiter and Saturn should both be visible. Around 11 p.m., look to the south to spot Jupiter, and Saturn will be slightly to the east; both relatively low in the sky.

And if you are far enough away from the light pollution, see if you can find the Milky Way.

There are also two great events on Saturday morning.

At 8 a.m. there is a birding outing at Bear Head Lake State Park near Ely.

And there's a fossil hunt planned in Fillmore County at Whispering Winds that gets underway at 1 p.m.

You can download the Outside in MN app on iOS or Google Play, just follow the links.