It’s not all about Rochester. Minnesota life is full of opportunities, relaxation, entertainment, culture, education and sport. Whether it’s hiking at one of the many state parks, going to a concert or Broadway musical, visiting a brewery, fishing a stretch of quiet country river, or heading “Up North” for a weekend at the lake, Minnesota has it all. Get out of town, and explore!
Southeast Minnesota and Minnesota River Valley
Rolling hills, winding rivers, and scenic bluffs characterize the area just outside of Rochester
Lake City, MN
Did you know that waterskiing was invented in Lake City? Learn how to sail with views of the Mississippi River Bluffs along the way, or visit the orchards and vineyards nearby. Take a stunning fall drive through this area and enjoy the vivid, autumn colors. Two full-service marinas and four boat launches get you on the water fast.
Visit the birthplace of Laura Ingalls Wilder (author of the Little House on the Prairie books) or enjoy a wine tasting at this small Wisconsin town, just 45 minutes away.
Every summer the city celebrates Laura Ingalls Wilder days, where you enjoy arts, crafts and activities that celebrate the life and times of this American author.
This small town is located on one of the most beautiful spots of the Mississippi River. Go wine tasting at Villa Bellezza or have lunch or dinner at one of our favorite restaurants, The Harbor View Cafe. It’s well worth the (beautiful) drive.
Feel like some hiking, biking or cross country skiing? Perhaps you just need a cozy weekend retreat at a quaint bed and breakfast in a town that was recently named one of America’s Top Twelve Art Places and the Bed & Breakfast Capital of Minnesota, Lanesboro.
Nestled in the bluffs of the Root River Valley, Lanesboro is known for its biking, hiking, and cross-country skiing trails through the winding 60 mile Bluff Country.
Forbes Traveler rated it one of America’s Prettiest Towns. It is alive with arts and history, and full of unique shops and cozy restaurants perched along the wooded biking trails.
Rustic cabins and wild waters, perfect for fisherman, await at Whitewater State Park. Limestone bluffs and deep ravines create dramatic landscapes, perfect for any nature enthusiast, and rustic, winterized cabins make the park a great year-round getaway.
Fisherman will be especially interested in the rainbow trout that make the spring-fed Whitewater River their home.
Forestville State Park offers the Mystery Cave with underground pools, stalactites, and stalagmites viewable on guided cave tours. Above ground, fish three blue-ribbon trout streams or horseback ride along the ridges and valleys, then spend the night in one of their many campgrounds.
The Twin Cities Metro Area
In a little over an hour, you can be in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis/Saint Paul. The options here are unlimited!
There are an abundance of lakes and rivers in the Twin Cities area–nearly twenty, to be exact. Lake Minnetonka is one of the biggest at over 14,000 acres and contains many bays and coves.
Winter doesn’t put a damper on lake life at all. The lakes still get plenty of use with ice fishing and the U.S. Pond Hockey Championship.
Arts and Culture
Concerts, art festivals, marathons, science museums, and Broadway musicals can all be enjoyed in the Twin Cities.
Not to mention, it’s also home to The Minnesota Zoo, home to nearly 4,300 animals and 539 species of animals. The Minnesota Zoo is open year round.
Shops and Restaurants
The infamous Mall of America is located in Bloomington, MN, a suburb of Minneapolis. It currently boasts more than 400 stores, an indoor theme park, movie theater, and SEA LIFE Minnesota Aquarium.
Duluth and the North Shore-”Up North”
If you know what “Up North” means, you’re a true Minnesotan. The cities of Duluth, Lutsen, Grand Marais, and the surrounding areas are popular summer destinations for hikers, campers, fishermen, and boaters.
Home of the University of Minnesota, Duluth, is a picturesque college town boasting 11,000 acres of green space overlooking the greatest lake in the world, Lake Superior.
Duluth is accessible from the Atlantic Ocean via the Great Lakes Waterway and is famous as the starting point for scenic drives along the North Shore. This is Minnesota’s version of the Pacific Coast Highway.
Home to Lutsen Mountain, this is Minnesota’s premier ski and snowboard destination. Ride the chairlift to the top of Lutsen Mountain for breathtaking views of Lake Superior and ski down one of the 95 runs amidst 1,000 acres.
In warmer months, Lutsen Mountain is open for hiking and alpine slides, while Pincushion Mountain offers mountain biking.
Lutsen, located in gorgeous Cook County, is a beautiful city with relaxing lakeside lodges and cabins and plenty to offer in the way of restaurants and resorts
Boundary Waters Canoe Area (BWCA)
National Geographic Traveler named the Boundary Waters one of “50 Places of a Lifetime” on their list of “must-see” destinations. Nature enthusiasts of Minnesota will tell you here is no greater experience than the Northern Lights in the Boundary Waters.
So named for the 100 mile preserve between the US and Canada, the Boundary Waters are comprised of large lakes surrounded by dense forests.
The BWCA includes over 1,500 miles of canoe routes through more than 1,000 lakes. Most of the lakes are designated as paddle only; no motors, no planes flying overhead, just you, and nature.