Minnesota has some of the America’s most captivating sights. Across the state, you’ll find scenery ranging from glimmering nightlife to the vast wilderness. There are a staggering number of tourist destinations, including ski lodges and resorts, and there are also the little-known getaways dotted along the various waterways across Minnesota. No matter what you’re looking for, Minnesota has something for you!
We decided to compile this extensive list, which offers further insight into places you might be interested in while you visit Minnesota. If you’re considering taking a Minnesota vacation, we hope this article will offer some insight into the amazing opportunities that await! Here are the top 16 best vacation destinations in Minnesota:
1. GRAND MARAIS
Situated on Lake Superior, Grand Marais offers picturesque scenery and plenty of fun to be had. Grand Portage State Forest, Sivertson Gallery, the Chik-Wauk Museum and Nature Center, and Pincushion Mountain Trail System are all located in Grand Marais.
Winona is nestled along the Mississippi River and gives visitors plenty of options; for example, you’ll find Great River Bluffs State Park, Garvin Heights, and the Basilica of St. Stanislaus Kostka here.
If you’re looking for a peaceful getaway with plenty of outdoors activities, then look no further. You can check out an Amish community, Root River, Historic Forestville, and Lanesboro Historical Museum while you’re here.
Minneapolis is a bustling metropolis with a little bit of everything, including nightlife, restaurants, shopping, and museums. If you’d like to stay in an upscale home away from home and be close to everything, this is your go-to spot!
5. ST. PAUL
St. Paul and Minneapolis are collectively known as the Twin Cities and are split by the Mississippi River. St. Paul is the state’s capital and offers can’t-miss sightseeing, including the Science Museum of Minnesota, The Minnesota History Center, and the Cathedral of Saint Paul.
6. NORTH SHORE
Lake Superior’s North Shore is well-known for its beauty. If you want to hike, bike, fish, golf, kayak, or see wildlife up close and personal, then you’ll enjoy a stay on the North Shore.
7. LAKE MINNETONKA
You’ll find Lake Minnetonka just 15 miles west-southwest of Minneapolis, making this a great escape from city life. There are beaches, gardens, parks, trails, and more near Lake Minnetonka, right along with the gorgeous lake views. Don’t forget to check out Steamboat Minnehaha while you’re here!
8. PAUL BUNYAN LAND
Most of the destinations on this list are areas or cities, but Paul Bunyan Land is worthy of its own description! You can find it in Brainerd – we’ll talk more about Brainerd momentarily. It’s an amusement park located on This Old Farm and offers amusement rides, a petting zoo, and Pioneer Village. It’s a must-see!
9. ITASCA STATE PARK
Itasca State Park is the oldest state park found in Minnesota and totals at 32,000 acres. You can see the Mississippi River headwaters here and see more than 100 lakes. It’s a beautiful place for an adventure or a picnic!
Duluth is a family-friendly city with plenty of sightseeing opportunities! Located on Lake Superior, Duluth is home to the Great Lakes Aquarium, Lake Superior Railroad Museum, and the Glensheen mansion.
Located within the Twin Cities metro area, Stillwater makes for a great break from the city lights. Here, you’ll find many opportunities for relaxation. The St. Croix River, bluffs, boat rentals, historic lift bridge, Pioneer Park, and Teddy Bear Park can make for a memorable getaway!
Brainerd is one of the largest cities in Minnesota and offers many chances for fun! Paul Bunyun Land can be found here, as well as Brainerd International Raceway, Crow Wing County Historical Society Museum and Library, and Lake Mille Lacs – more about that coming up next!
13. MILLE LACS LAKE
Located about 100 miles of the Twin Cities, Mille Lacs Lake is a large, shallow lake with plenty to see and do. For instance, you can explore Mille Lacs Historical Society Museum, Mille Lacs Indian Museum and Trading Post, and more. There’s a casino, biking and hiking, wildlife watching opportunities, and more.
14. UPTOWN MINNEAPOLIS
Uptown is a special part of Minneapolis where you’ll find interesting stores and restaurants. Don’t forget to check out Calhoun Square and Chino Latino while you’re visiting!
15. ELY AND BOUNDARY WATERS CANOE AREA
Ely’s Boundary Waters Canoe Area offers more than one million acres of wilderness and waterways that are just waiting to be explored! The lake captivates the hearts of countless visitors and offers a tranquil backdrop for a great getaway.
Situated in northwest Minnesota, Bemidji offers Lake Bemidji State Park, the Headwaters Science Center, and the Buena Vista Ski Area.
As you can see, Minnesota is extremely diverse – it truly has something for everyone! If you’re looking to take a road trip, get away from work, escape from the city, or visit the city, Minnesota has a spot just for you.
Another great reason to visit Minnesota? There are plenty of vacation rental homes to choose from. For instance, Minnestay offers options ranging form luxury estates to lake cabins to RV rentals. Whether you want to experience the urban living of Uptown, lakefront living, a romantic weekend in a cabin, or a camping trip in a RV, the Minnestay website is full of options and opportunities.
A vacation rental home translates to better customer service, competitive rates, and more options. If you’re looking to customize your Minnesota stay, then we recommend taking a look at some of the state’s many available vacation rental homes.