ST. PAUL - The new $7.4 million Minneiska campground at Whitewater State Park - featuring 40 sites with electrical hookups, four non-electric tent sites, four camper cabins and three group camps - will open this weekend in southeast Minnesota.

Across the state to the north, on Tuesday, Sept. 12, the $7 million Vermilion Ridge Campground will open at Lake Vermilion-Soudan Underground Mine State Park, Minnesota’s newest state park. Beginning at 8 a.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 6, campers can make reservations for arrivals Sept. 12 and later, just in time for fall color.  The campground has 33 campsites with electricity and Wi-Fi, three large group camps with screened picnic shelters and modern shower buildings.

At Whitewater State Park, the $7.4 million campground will have a phased opening.  About 25 percent of the sites will be available Friday and Saturday nights, Aug. 25 and 26, and the campground will fully open on Thursday, Aug. 31, in time for Labor Day Weekend. Reservations can be made starting at 8 a.m. Friday, Aug. 25.

The southeastern Minnesota park’s three group camps each have their own picnic shelters and share a modern restroom building, with showers and flush toilets.  One of the group camps can accommodate both RVs and tent campers. Two of the camper cabins also have tent pads, a feature not yet available at other Minnesota state parks.

“These new configurations make it easier for families and friends to stay together, even when they have different equipment needs,” said Erika Rivers, director of Minnesota state parks and trails.

Visitors to the northern Minnesota state park will have access to the Armstrong Bay picnic area, the Mesabi Bike Trail and a new boat ramp that provides access to Lake Vermilion. Tours of Soudan Mine will run daily through the end of September and weekends in October.