12 Minnesota Vacation Spots: Big Cities And Scenic Drives

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The diverse landscape of Minnesota makes it a great state to explore with numerous vacation spots. Minnesota has a cultural and natural beauty that makes it a visitors paradise.

You can also experience amazing outdoor concerts and summertime Renaissance Festivals, in Minnesota which will make your experience great.

Let us explore some of the best Minnesota vacation spots.

Minneapolis, Minnesota


Minneapolis is the biggest city in the state and has a lot going on for it. The city has a lot of cultural importance and is big on art as Prince, Hüsker Dü and The Replacements all hail from the city.

Visit the  Minneapolis Institute of Art, Minnehaha Park, Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, and the Basilica of St. Mary when here. If you are an outdoor enthusiast, then you can check out the 200 miles of bike trails, many of which wind through various parks and forests. 

There are lots of parks in the city and nature can be explored during your time here. There are always lots of concerts, films, festivals and much more going on in the city at all the time of the year.

Minnehaha Falls Regional Park, Minnesota

Minnehaha Falls

If you love the outdoors then Minnehaha Falls Regional Park is one of the most beautiful sites in Minnesota. This 53-foot waterfall attracts over 850,000 visitors each year.

A popular thing to do at the park is to walk alongside Minnehaha Creek and follow it to the Mississippi River. Wading pools are also available for people who want to take a dip.

Itasca State Park, Minnesota

Itasca State Park

Itasca is the oldest state park in Minnesota and spans over 32,000 acres that cover 100 lakes. There are lots of opportunities to explore the area and go hiking like never before.

There are over 45 campsites that are immersed in pine forests. You can also explore the  Itasca Indian Cemetery or the Wegmann’s Cabin located in the state park.

You can also find nearby hotels if you want to still experience luxury and have all the amenities. 

Bloomington, Minnesota


Shoppers, attention! If you want to spend a weekend doing just retail therapy then head over to Bloomington. It is Minnesota’s premier shopping destination which is the Mall of Ameria.

Mall of America has more than 500 shops and dozens of restaurants. It also has theatres, hotels, and other amusements. The mall is a luxury entertainment destination with roller coasters, adventure courses, and many family-centric experiences.

Around the mall, you can find many more attractions such as ski areas, zoos, nature conservatories, and a variety of museums 

Split Rock Lighthouse State Park, Minnesota

split rock

 Located 20 miles northeast of Two Harbors on the North Shore of Lake Superior is Split Rock Lighthouse, State Park. It is an immensely popular area as it is home to one of the most picturesque lighthouses in the state.

Built-in 1910 the Split Rock Lighthouse Park is now a museum. You can tour the lighthouse, foghorn building, keeper’s house, tower, and light. There are numerous hiking options available as well which offer great viewpoints of the shoreline. 

In winter, the area becomes popular for fat tire biking. 

Como Park Conservatory, St Paul, Minnesota

Como Park Conservatory

Como Park Conservatory is one of the most popular attractions in St. Paul. It makes for a great family getaway as it features a zoo, a conservatory and an amusement park, as well as a golf course and a pool. 

There is plenty to do for everyone. Kids will love the zoo which has all sorts of animals from tigers, elephants, monkeys, polar bears, and giraffes to birds. 

Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, Minnesota

Boundary Waters

If camping is your thing, then head to Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. Expansive lakes, forests, beautiful scenery – this campsite has everything you will wish for.

This preserved area of northeastern Minnesota includes over 1,000,000-acres of wilderness. Plus, there are over r 1200 miles of canoeing opportunities, and many hiking trails to explore as well.

Fishing is also extremely popular here. Plus, there are lots of wilderness and wild animals here including bears, bobcats, deer, wolves, and Canada lynx.

You can come here in winter as well and you can explore long-distance skiing and ice fishing.

North Shore Scenic Drive, Minnesota

north shore scenic drive

Want to take a road trip to soothe your senses and mind? The North Shore Scenic Drive should be your best bet in Minnesota. 

It follows the north shore of Lake Superior from Duluth to Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada. When you follow this trail you will cross state parks including Split Rock Lighthouse, Tettegouche, and Grand Portage State Park.

You will also cross towering cliffs to crystal clear waters, mountains, and rolling greenery. You can also do activities like boating, fishing, and mountain biking.

Munsinger Clemens Gardens, Minnesota

Musigner Clemens Garden

Nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts will love the Munsinger Clemens Garden in Minnesota. Situated on the banks of the Mississippi River, Munsinger and Clemens Gardens sit adjacent to one another.

The gardens feature approximately 80,000 annual plants all situated among trees, benches, swings, fountains, and ponds. The gardens span fourteen acres and seven acres respectively.

Enjoy the beautiful flora and fauna and also the lovely displays. There are fountains and ponds in the gardens as well which visitors can enjoy. 

Voyageurs National Park, Minnesota

Voyageurs National Park

Voyageurs National Park is a lovely pristine park full of natural beauty. The park lies very close to Canada, and due to high winds, visitors can plan their visits according to their weather preferences.

Summers months are great here as you can enjoy kayaking opportunities, hiking paths, biking paths, boating access. Plus, there are many opportunities to see wildlife such as bears, moose, loons, and much more. 

This place has an important historical significance as well. This area was important during the fur trade when the French-Canadian Voyageurs traveled these waters in huge birch bark canoes.

Duluth, Minnesota

Duluth Minn

Duluth is a major port in Minnesota and is the second-largest city on Lake Superior’s shores. Duluth is also home to America’s only all-freshwater aquarium, while the world’s longest freshwater bay mouth bar can also be found in Duluth.

Another great attraction in this city is Lake Superior Maritime Visitor Center and Glensheen. You can also catch a show at the Duluth Playhouse or watch large ships come in and out at the canal.

There are special events happening at Duluth as well so visitors are encouraged to check online ahead of time.

Brainerd, Minnesota


Located in the center of the state, Brainerd offers many naturals experiences. Visitors can indulge in biking, fishing, golfing, shopping, zipline adventures, Minnesota craft breweries.

There is a large retail district in town. 


Minnesota is one of the best states in the country to explore nature and be in the midst of nature. 

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