Minnesota is a unique and interesting state. It has had a great many different influences over the years including Native American, French, British, Scandinavian, Eastern European, and modern American. All these different cultures have left their marks on the state and today’s Minnesota is a land with a variety of things to do, see, and experience. It isn’t the most widely thought of vacation destination, but for the right traveler it can be everything they ever wanted.
While Minnesota may not leap into the minds of most vacation planners, it is a very worthwhile place to plan a trip to. It offers wonderful urban options for things to do in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area, and the entire state is home to a wealth of quality outdoor attractions. Whether wanting to see modern attractions, historical buildings, beautiful scenery, or pretty much anything else, the state of Minnesota has something to offer for nearly every traveler who comes its way.
Here are ten must see things that anyone traveling to Minnesota should check out.
Minnesota Children’s Museum
The Minnesota Children’s Museum is the perfect destination for any family vacationing in the area with young children. The museum is located in St. Paul and has an affordable admission price that it offers all year long. The museum is geared towards getting children to learn about and understand new concepts and ideas in a very hands-on kind of way. It also features roving employees who assist in engaging children in the various exhibits and play areas. The Minnesota Children’s Museum is easily one of the best children’s attractions in the entire state.
Lake Vermillion is one of the larger inland lakes in the state of Minnesota and is a fabulous natural scenic area, as well as a great place to participate in some outdoor recreation. Some of the many popular things to do there include swimming, hiking along the shores, kayaking, canoeing, boating, and bird watching. One of the most popular things to do there though is fish. Fishing the water of Lake Vermillion is very popular with locals and for the angler traveling to the state, it is a great destination.
For some entertainment options for the adults wanting to get out and enjoy a fun time, Canterbury Park is located in the community of Shakopee and has been providing entertainment for years. This facility is a combination horse racing track and casino and is a favorite of locals and tourists alike. Racing usually occurs Thursday through Sunday and Sundays also feature kid friendly attractions like pony rides and playground rides.
Boundary Waters Canoe Area
Minnesota is loaded with great destinations centered around outdoor recreation. One of the more popular outdoor recreation areas in the state is the Boundary Waters Canoe Area. Here visitors can venture out in canoes and kayaks on the water of many of the northern rivers and lakes that border Canada. Outdoor recreation enthusiasts will appreciate the solitude and beauty that they can experience when they take part in some quality time getting away from it all.
The state of Minnesota is a great destination for fans of professional sports too. The Minnesota Vikings of the National Football League, Minnesota Timberwolves of the National Basketball Association, Minnesota Wild of the National Hockey League, and the Minnesota Twins of Major League Baseball all play their home games in Minneapolis or the surrounding area. Minor League Baseball is also plentiful in Minnesota with a number of teams, both affiliated and independent. There are even professional women’s sports teams available to watch in the state including the Minnesota Lynx of the Women’s National Basketball Association, Minnesota Whitecaps of the National Women’s Hockey League, and the Minnesota Lightning of the United Soccer League.
Great Lakes Aquarium
The Great Lakes Aquarium is a very unique aquarium when compared to some of the more famous facilities from around the country. This active aquarium features exhibits and species that are freshwater only and are also predominantly found in the waters of the Great Lakes. This is a great way to interact with marine life, see some interesting sights, and learn a little information that is specific to the area being traveled to.
The Mall of America
When it comes to shopping, Bloomington, Minnesota has one of the most popular venues in the entire United States. The Mall of America is the nation’s largest indoor shopping center and features hundreds of shops and eating establishments. There are also other attractions there including an ice rink, indoor theme park, and more. For the traveler who appreciates shopping, the Mall of America should provide them with all that they need.
Itasca State Park
Itasca State Park can be found on the shores of Lake Itasca. There are many activities that can be participated in at the park including camping, hiking, wildlife viewing, boating, swimming, kayaking, canoeing, river rafting, and more. The world famous Mississippi River gets its start by flowing out of the water of Lake Itasca, which makes this a very notable stop during a vacation too.
For those visiting Minneapolis and still wanting a place they can venture out and enjoy greenery and scenic beauty, a visit to Minnehaha Falls is perfect. This beautiful waterfall is found right inside the city boundaries of Minneapolis. It also comes with a number other features including wide open spaces, miles of biking and hiking trails, and a number of locations where someone can escape the city and be by their selves, or nearly alone.
Lake of the Woods
The Lake of the Woods is located in Northern Minnesota and is an interesting place for a number of reasons. The Northwest Angle is found across the lake. The Angle, as it’s known by locals, is a small section of land that extends above the 49th Parallel, but is still part of the United States. It is not connected to Minnesota by land, but is still part of the state. It can be reached directly by boat or airplane, or visitors can also drive there by first going through part of Canada. The lake is seventy miles across both north to south and east to west and there is literally thousands of islands found within it. It is a popular place all year long as it is great for boating and fishing in the summer and ice fishing and snowmobiling across in the winter.
The state of Minnesota might not be the first place most people think of when planning their vacation, but it would surprise most with how many fun, interesting, and even exciting things there are to do there. With all of the lakes, park land, and protected natural area, Minnesota is a favorite for those with an appreciation for nature and outdoor recreation. Minnesota experiences some harsh winters, but even during cold weather there are a great many activities that can be participated in. Any time of year and any place in the state, travelers can usually have no problem coming up with ways to be entertained and occupied by what Minnesota has to offer. It really is a great place to spend some valuable vacation time.