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State park cabins provide solace

Sharon Hintgen and her son, Mark, relax on the porch of a small rental cabin at Maplewood State Park. Tom Hintgen/FOCUS1 / 2
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If you'd like to spend a night or two at Maplewood or Glendalough State Parks but don't want to use a tent, and don't have a camper, have some fun and relaxation by staying in one of the available small cabins.

"We call these cabins a hidden treasure in Minnesota's state parks," said Maplewood State Park Manager Don Del Greco. "It's great that people have the opportunity to stay the night in a rustic cabin."

Each 12-by-16-foot cabin contains a table, benches and wooden bunkbeds with mattresses. Most cabins have a screened porch.

All cabins have a picnic table, fire ring and grill for outdoor cooking. No cooking is allowed inside the cabins, except for crock pots and coffeepots.

Guests need to bring sleeping bags and/or sheets and blankets, pillows, towels and toiletries. Showers and bathrooms are located near the cabins in both Maplewood (rural Pelican Rapids) and Glendalough (rural Battle Lake) State Parks.

For those who want to do some cooking, items to bring along include cookware, plates, cups and eating utensils. Don't forget matches and flashlights. Bundles of wood can be purchased near the park headquarters.

On Sunday evening, July 29, my family and I cooked an evening meal of brats and beans on our Coleman Stove, near our outdoor picnic table. We enjoyed s'mores for dessert. There's nothing better after a meal, in the great outdoors, than a roasted marshmallow and a layer of chocolate sandwiched between two pieces of graham cracker.

On Monday morning, we took it easy. After morning showers, we traveled to nearby Pelican Rapids for breakfast in a restaurant.

Added bonuses at state parks are the call of the loon, a beautiful array of stars and planets on a cloudless night, swimming at a nearby state park beach, bird watching, and hiking along the many trails. We enjoyed our cabin stays at both Maplewood and Glendalough.

Online reservations can be made through the Minnesota State Parks website. Phone reservations can be made by calling 866-857-2757 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., April through October.

There are costs involved, which must be paid in advance when the reservation is made.

Some camper cabins are heated for year-round use and some are handicapped accessible.