If you’re looking for an escape that is the perfect mix of nature and fun, pack up your RV and head up to Minnesota. Whether you are planning an adventure or a family getaway, this trip is a guaranteed match! Here are some of our suggestions on destinations that are sure to make your vacation worth while.
Hiking, biking and kayaking – Minnesota has endless nature filled activities that it’s visitors can enjoy. Unique flora and fauna alike have made Minnesota their home. Explore the waters or camp in the forest, these destinations will have your wanderlust satisfied!
The Boundary Waters in Duluth
If you enjoy exploration and canoeing then Boundary Waters Canoe Are Wilderness should be next on your travel list. With over 1,500 miles of water split between the Canadian and US border to explore, this outdoor adventure will be one of the most adventurous trips of your life. You can make a day trip out of the wilderness or stay at one of the 2,200 campsites within the Superior National Forest. Here, you can also find Minnesota’s highest point, Eagle Mountain. However if this is one of your stops, be sure to plan ahead and get your permit.
Gooseberry Falls State Park in Two Harbors
Explore the North Shore of Lake superior and so much more! Gooseberry Falls State parks offers spectacular views of five different waterfalls. Enjoy the falls from various lookout points or venture down through the trails to experience. For the best falls scenery we suggest visiting in the summer or fall, however, if you plan on visiting in the winter, no need to worry! Catch the falls frozen over and go snowmobiling along the trails. We also hear the fishing here is unmatched, especially if you’re searching for trout!
Lake Itasca in Bemidji
Known for being the headwaters of the Mississippi, Lake Itasca is a popular destination among many Minnesotan natives. For those travelers looking for a historical tie in with nature, this is your destination. The state park the waters lie within was established in 1891 to ensure the dwindling population of virgin pines would be saved. This park is only outdated by one other US state reserved land, Niagara Falls. These 32,000 acres of land are filled with history from early settlers and Native Americans. These waters of origins are guaranteed to be an enjoyable stop.
Voyageurs National Park in International Falls
If your idea of fun in the sun is out on a boat enjoying a nice day out on the water, we suggest reserving a watercraft and heading out to Voyageur’s National Park. The Kabetogama area that is known for it’s incredible trails, fishing, boating and canoeing is only accessible by water and fully enclosed within the national park. Take tours on the water or by land led by rangers. If you visit during season, you may even me lucky enough to catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights. This is the perfect time to unplug and reconnect to nature and your travel partners!
National Eagle Center in Wabasha
If fauna is the nature experience you are looking for, you have to add the National Eagle Center to your travel list! Receive an in depth education about eagles and their habits. At the end our your visit here, be sure to head to the viewing room. Here, you can encounter eagles face-to-face without even a glass barrier between you and the magnificent birds. As one of the only places in the US that you can get this experience, we are sure you won’t want to miss out on this!
There are countless sights to see throughout the state that you won’t want to drive by! We suggest taking a trip during Autumn to capture the colors of the seasonal scenery. These locations will truly be worth the trip and leave you with perfect memories!
Minnehaha Park in Minneapolis
Hidden right outside the city, this regional park holds a famed waterfall that drops over 50 feet. Written about by Longfellow, there is a significant draw to this area that locals can’t even deny. During the day, this is a sight to take in. Enjoy the view from overlooks or take the steep staircase down into the gorge below and level with the bottom of the falls. On warmer days enjoy the luxury of taking a dip into the wading pools below as well.
Clemens Garden in St. Cloud
Originally founded as a way for a family to give back to the community, Clemens Gardens is a array of flowers and plants that held special meaning to the founders. Snap some photos of the flowers or have some pictures taken of you in the beautiful scenery of any of the six gardens this area includes. Whether the garden is the background or the forefront of your picture, the colors are sure to bring the photo to life. While you visit, don’t forget to stop and smell the roses – literally! the sweet scent is one of the main attraction of this destination.
Whether you are looking for a scene on the water, on the course, or on the trail, this city is for you! Full of picture perfect locations, your options here are endless. Fireworks on the lake make for festive scenes that capture the celebration, while neatly trimmed greens set the scene for some of the most beautiful golf courses in the US. If neither of those are your cup of tea, we suggest embarking on the Paul Bunyan Trail and enjoying a portion of the 110 mile paved road through nature.
Lanesboro Root River in Lanesboro
Here, visitors have the option to enjoy the view a variety of different ways. For those who are looking for an adventurous workout with a beautiful reward, we suggest you rent a kayak and head down the river to take in the turning of the leaves and the one of a kind waterfall. Travelers also have the option to hike trails by the river to get a closer experience. However, if you are just passing through or need a quick stop, you can always park close and enjoy the view from an overlook. Be sure to take some pictures of this view because you won’t want to forget it.
Enger Park and Tower in Duluth
If a quaint city overlook is what you have been searching for, look no further. At Enger Park and Tower, you are rewarded with the most beautiful views of the city and lakes below free of charge! The challenging climb up the tower is known to be well worth the rewarding view. If your schedule is tight, don’t worry! This sight can be squeezed in day or night! During the day you will have a clear view of the city, however, at night, the lights come bring the area to life. enjoy the view of the tower while driving up and once inside at the top of the tower, you have the opportunity to enjoy the lit city below.
While Minnesota may not be known for its significant history, it has had played an inadmissible role in our country’s development. The culture throughout the state is a vibrant reminder of some of the first settlers in our nation. Enjoy historical ties in everything from art shows to reservations. The diversity visitors can find here is bound to impress any history buff.
Grand Marais Art
Once a year in July, this artistic community comes together to showcase their unique art at the art festival. Artists from all over the area are given the opportunity to share their work with visitors. The Grand Marais Art Colony also has smaller events year round which gives this town such a unique feel. Some of the art presented even holds significant historical meaning.
Northfield – Jesse James
If you enjoy a bit of a spice in your history, this town is for you! Here, a band of bank robbing bandits, that included none other than the infamous Jesse James himself, staged a heist at First National Bank back in 1876. While the group of five failed to make it out unscathed, Jesse was able to elude capture and retreat to Nashville where he continued his career. Visit the bank that these outlaws targeted and stroll the streets that they gang rose their horses on. Little ones and adults alike will be drawn in by the capturing tale this town holds.
Forestville Mystery Cave State Park in Preston
Looking for a natural historical area? Forestville Mystery Cave State Park is home to a system of 13 miles worth of underground caves that were eroded by the water in the surrounding area. Here, you can take tours down into the caves to explore the history of nature and exactly how these caves came about. Enjoy learning about all the formations on any tour option available including scenic, rugged and photography tours! If you do add this destination to your list, be sure to bring a jacket as it will be much colder down deep.
Mill City Museum in Minneapolis
Known for it’s start in the flour milling business, Minnesota takes pride in it’s roots with this destination! This mill was once the Washburn A Mill which opened in 1874 next to the river to harness the energy. This mill contributed as an influential piece of the development of Minneapolis until 1991 when the final building fire claimed the entire estate. The museum was opened in 2003 to give visitors an experience of the industry and how it played a role in developing a city. Today, it stand and is thriving! We suggest joining a daytime tour to overlook the river from the top levels of the museum.
This historical city is a product of what was originally Native American land. Supposedly named after Chief Wabasha’s daughter, the area is rich in Sioux culture and history. However, as the city grew and became more industrialized, the Indians were outnumbered by businessmen. The invention of the railroad and steamboat were monumental in the development here. The city is now most famously known for Sugar Loaf Mountain and you can find more history through the Heritage Preservation Commission.
Quick Roadside Stops
If you are just passing through, we have a list of stops to add on your road trip! Statues, attractions and memorials are just a few of the roadside detours that make Minnesota unique. Get ready to stretch your legs and be entertained at these one-of-a-kind destinations.
Alexandria Viking in Alexandria
Known as “Big Ole,” this monumental statue is thought to be of the viking that discovered American in 1362 before Christopher Columbus. This town’s pride and passion about being the first American city discovered is almost as tall as this statue itself! Stop and learn more history that back up these beliefs or jump out of the RV for a quick photo op with the giant. Ether way, this is a must see when visiting Minnesota!
Mall of America in Minneapolis
We all know of the biggest mall in America: The Mall of America. But if you need a break from your trip, what better place to stop? Let the kids enjoy the rides and rollercoaster and you can stretch your legs and shop until you drop! This mall is full of entertainment and events that you won’t want to miss.
Crenelated Water Tower in Brainerd
Also known as Paul Bunyan’s flashlight, it is said to be built because it is one of the many items that Paul Bunyan left behind. This water tower looks just like a flashlight pointing up toward the sky. On the same street, it is said that you can find a water fountain shaped like a lion. Embark on a search for both and you will have an interesting afternoon!
Paisley Park Prince Memorial in Chanhassen
If you enjoy classic music, we have found a treat for you! Paisley Park is where Prince once built his iconic, state of the art recording studio. Today, you can find memorials to the famous singer outside and take a historical tour of the studio to get an inside look to what his life may have been like. Get the full experience or just drive by the park and you will se that there are still devout fans paying their respects.
No matter what you enjoy, Minnesota has a destination for you. This less traveled list is just a start to the adventure the state holds!
Leave a comment below letting us know your favorite places to visit in Minnesota!