The Department of Natural Resources expects a busy time at state parks this holiday weekend.
Campgrounds are close to full, but DNR spokeswoman Pat Arndt said programs at the parks are available to non-campers as well as campers.
"Starting on the Fourth of July, we've got digital photography; a flotilla at Big Bog State Park where people can join in a boat parade of sorts; we've got pontoon boat tours at Lake Bemidji State Park," Arndt said, "so there are just programs all over the state that are family programs, and they're free with the price of admission to get into a state park."
At Wild River State Park on the St. Croix River, weekend programs include talks on bats, tips on campfire building, and encounters with live frogs and other amphibians.
For those without a camping reservation, Arndt recommends trying out a state forest campground.
"They aren't like a state park in that they don't offer showers and flush toilets, and don't have naturalist programs," Arndt said, "but they are often in very beautiful settings in our state forests."
Designated campsites have fire rings and litter containers. But camping is allowed elsewhere in the forests, as long as campers practice the "leave no trace" camping ethic.
The DNR website has information on state forests, which are mainly in the northern half of the state.