The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) offers a number of tips for busy Minnesotans to reduce the burden of planning an outdoor adventure.

“Minnesotans love the outdoors – we know this,” said Erika Rivers, state parks and trails director, “but we also know that the biggest barriers for families to get outdoors and enjoy nature are time, cost and information. We’re working to alleviate this for people by creating new online trip-planning tools, providing no-cost or low-cost activities and making information easier to find online.”

Whether people are looking for some laid-back time outdoors or a little adventure, state parks and trails are likely to have just the place and the activity for everyone.

• Want to go on a bike adventure? Minnesota has one of the most extensive state trail systems in the country, with 25 state trails reaching more than 1,300 miles.

“Depending on what type of adventure you’re looking for, we have the trail for you,” Rivers said. “Our start-up guide helps you determine which trails best meet your needs – whether you’re looking for a kid-friendly ride or a more rugged, backcountry adventure.”

• Camping with kids? With 75 state parks and recreation areas, there are almost 5,000 campsites across Minnesota offering every type of adventure for families. There are a number of resources on the DNR Web site to make it easier for everyone to get out and camp.

“You’ll find a helpful parenting guide for how to camp with kids, a camping checklist and an events calendar that highlights all the free, fun naturalist programs that are happening all summer long,” Rivers said.

• Want to get out on the water to escape the heat? Minnesota has 35 state water trails that offer great paddling adventures – from easy day trips to overnight canoe-camping trips to challenging whitewater trips. Rental equipment is available at many state parks and recreation areas across the state.

The DNR’s Web site also provides a list of outfitters by state water trail that can help people plan and equip for the perfect paddle trip on any of the state water trails. Visitor safety is the DNR’s highest priority, so people should make sure to always wear a life jacket and check river levels before hitting the water. There is a number of state park swimming beaches across the whole state. Many parks also have picnic areas, so people can pack a lunch and make a day of it.

• A lot of terrain, just a little time? There are hundreds of miles of off-highway vehicle (OHV) trail miles to enjoy in Minnesota's state forests, and thousands of miles of volunteer-maintained trails throughout the state. People can book a campsite and plan an outdoor adventure with the many resources available online.

For more information, visit mndnr.gov, or contact the DNR Information Center at info.dnr@state.mn.us or 888-646-6367 (8 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday).

– Photo courtesy of the DNR Web site.