Summer is here, the season of peaceful vacations and warm weather. Luckily, Minnesotans have plenty of great getaway options without even leaving the state. Read on as we explore eight of the best choices for a natural weekend escape.
Voyageurs National Park
Those who’d love to get out on the water in some of the state’s wildest areas can check out Voyageurs National Park, just south of the Canadian border. Popular for boating, fishing, wildlife-watching, and hiking, visitors can also camp out and enjoy some of Minnesota’s best stargazing. Meanwhile, ranger-led programs allow explorers to have fun and learn more about this unique place.
Set along the St. Croix River, Taylors Falls offers an ideal small-town escape for summer travelers just over 40 miles from Minneapolis. Travelers can enjoy river activities like canoeing, fishing, and scenic boat tours or explore Interstate State Park (which straddles the Wisconsin border), among many other natural areas and green spaces. In addition, a historic downtown area is filled with delightful shopping and dining options for relaxing after a long day of fun and exploring.
Blue Mounds State Park
There’s nothing like a summer day exploring the gorgeous wildflower-covered prairie landscapes of Blue Mounds State Park in southwestern Minnesota. The park’s most notable attraction is a 100-foot cliff of quartzite, which serves as a popular rock-climbing destination. Visitors can also hike, camp, or check out the park’s resident bison herd, one of its most unique features.
The Grand View Lodge
Travelers looking to pamper themselves on their weekend getaway should head to The Grand View Lodge on the shores of Gull Lake. This secluded escape includes high-end accommodations, delicious restaurants, a full-service spa, and two golf courses. There’s also a wide variety of water activities and outdoor fun for the whole family, making it a perfect combination of luxury and natural relaxation.
Wild River State Park
Another gorgeous expanse along the St. Croix River, it can be hard to believe this unspoiled landscape is just an hour from the heart of the Twin Cities. Wild River State Park is a top choice for fishing, canoeing, hiking, and birdwatching. A variety of campsites cater to RVers, tent campers, and even those who bring their horses to explore the park.
Big Bog State Recreation Area
Big Bog offers one of the most unique landscapes not just in Minnesota but in the entire country. It’s the namesake bog, spanning 9,000 acres in the northern part of the state. The area presents the chance to see plant and animal species not found in many other ecosystems, as well as extensive hiking, fishing, and boating opportunities on nearby Upper Red Lake. Those who’d prefer to skip the tent camping can also rent one of the park’s rustic cabins.
Fall Lake Campground
For a truly wild getaway experience, head to Fall Lake Campground. It’s part of the vast Superior National Forest and serves as a popular launching point for those hitting the waters of Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. Boat rentals are available, but those who’d prefer to stay on land can relax at the campground’s sandy beach or hit the hiking trails.
Families may find their perfect weekend escape at Kamp Dels, conveniently located in Waterville just an hour south of the Twin Cities. There’s fun for people of all ages at the campground’s expansive waterpark, as well as boating and swimming in adjacent Sakatah Lake. Other top amenities include a mini-golf, an arcade, batting cages, tennis courts, a climbing wall, a petting zoo, and much more. Meantime, campers have a wide range of choices for how to stay, from simple tent camping to full-featured RV sites to comfortable, climate-controlled, wifi-enabled cabins.
Minnesotans are lucky to have so many amazing, unique places to explore and enjoy during the summer months. With each providing something special for would-be travelers, it may be hard to choose. But don’t wait to book a getaway – summer will be over before you know it!