Families have been camping at this spot on the Minnesota River for 8,000 years. Follow in their footsteps in an authentic Native American tepee southeast of Granite Falls in western Minnesota at the Upper Sioux Agency State Park. The expansive, wide-open prairie setting gives visitors the feeling that they’ve got the whole place to themselves to enjoy scenic views along the Minnesota River and stellar stargazing opportunities.
Rustic pine poles with ribbons blowing in the breeze jut from the tops of these sturdy 18-foot-diameter tepees. Inside, a wooden sleeping deck accommodates up to six people. The tepees aren’t as well ventilated as modern tents so can get stuffy and humid in a heat wave or during summer storms. They do have an inner curtain to block rain, but guests should make sure they know how to set it up ahead of time because there aren’t any instructions and the park office-visitors center is only staffed on weekends. Tepee campers should also plan to bring bug repellant or devices to ward off mosquitoes; there are no screens to keep them out. These minor inconveniences aside, the tepees make for a unique and enjoyable overnight stay.
The grounds also house more traditional camping options like drive-in, electric and rustic sites, and visitors can fish without a license within park boundaries. A day pass to the park is $5; tepees rent for $30 per night.