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10 of the best state parks in America

By: Josh Lew on Feb. 11, 2014, 9:32 a.m.
Mississippi River headwaters at Itasca State Park

Photo: Mark Evans/flickr

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Itasca State Park

Itasca State Park, in northeastern Minnesota, is famous because it is home to the headwaters of the Mississippi River. The famous river starts as a stream that flows out of Lake Itasca, the park's namesake body of water and one of Minnesota's “10,000 lakes.” There are actually more than 100 lakes inside this 32,000 acre park itself. These bodies of water sit between old growth forests.

More than 200 campsites and 33 miles of trails give Itasca a very good infrastructure. This is probably one of the most crowded parks on our list because of its famous headwaters. If you step away from the river, however, you will quickly leave the crowds behind.