As the warmth is slowly creeping back into Minnesota, plenty of people are starting to plan for their summer vacations, adventures, and road trips. Check out our ideas for smooth roads and stunning views that will make every second behind the wheel worthwhile:
Great North Shore and Duluth
To capture the wild beauty of Minnesota, drive along through Duluth and the Great North Shore for stunning and scenic views of amazing waterfalls, high cliffs, and Lake Superior. Take stops to search for agates and skip stones. Scuba dive on the Madeira Shipwreck or visit one of the cities museums for a fascinating look into Duluth’s rich shipping and immigrant past.
Points of Interest: Highway 61, Gooseberry Falls State Park, Jay Cooke Park, Canal Park, Two Harbors, the Lakewalk, Glensheen Mansion Historic Estate, Split Rock Lighthouse State Park
Go the extra mile: If you are planning on spending some time here, take a ferry out to catch fantastic views of the Apostle Islands.
If you live in the cities, take this opportunity to become a tourist of your own city. If you have never been to the cities . . . well, what are you waiting for? Explore the rich history of St. Paul and the beautiful art and culture of Minneapolis. The Twin Cities offer everything and anything for every history buff, sports fanatic, creative mind, foodie, beer enthusiast, amateur photographer, and adventure seeker.
Points of Interest: The State Capitol, Stone Arch Bridge, Walker Sculpture Garden, Chain of Lakes, Harriet Island, Science Museum of Minnesota, Surly Brewing, catch a sports game at Target Field, TCF Bank Stadium, the Xcel Energy Center, and soon-to-open U.S. Bank Stadium
Go the extra mile: Visit the SPAM Museum in Austin, MN to experience and learn more about Spam, an American classic and pantry staple.
St. Croix River
This 169-mile long scenic waterway runs along the Minnesota-Wisconsin border. The St. Croix runs through many small and charming towns, including Afton, Marine on St. Croix, Stillwater, and Taylors Falls, Minnesota, as well as Danbury, Prescott, Solon Springs, and Hudson, Wisconsin. Picturesque and full of opportunities and activities, make sure to add the St. Croix River to your road trip bucket list.
Points of Interest: Afton State Park, Taylors Falls, Stillwater Lift Bridge, Interstate Park, St. Croix National Scenic Riverway, Franconia Sculpture Park
Superior National Forest
Travel along the Superior National Forest Scenic Byway, spanning the Minnesota-Canadian border, for a breathtaking glance of the best of natural Minnesota. Travel from the North Shore to the communities of the Iron Range, and take in the towering pines and rich colors of the Superior National Forest. Visit the Boundary Waters Canoe Area – a million acres of vibrant Minnesota land to please the outdoor enthusiast in you. The Boundary Waters are an excellent place for fishing, hiking, camping, canoeing, swimming, and more.
Points of Interest: Laurentian Divide at the Skibo Vista Scenic Overlook, Grand Marais, Lutsen, Crescent Lake, Thunder Bay, Voyageurs National Park, Judge C.R. Magney State Park
Go the extra mile: If you are interested in exploring more of Minnesota’s best in nature and wilderness experiences, drive three hours to the Chippewa National Forest and visit The Lost 40, 40 acres of virgin, old-growth Red and White Pines in Minnesota.
There are endless possibilities for incredible road trips in Minnesota this summer. Start early to get take in the crisp, cool airs of late spring, or travel later in the summer to catch the earliest turning leaves. To make sure your car is road trip ready, check out Getting your Car Ready for a Road Trip.