Famous for its parks and lakes, the fantastic city of Minneapolis offers many outdoor activities, artistic attractions and cultural sites. Newsflash: It is also an ideal base for day trips to other nearby areas and regions, where a wealth of wonderful sights, sounds and experiences can be enjoyed.
Whether it’s scenic trail hikes, local wine tours, riverboat rides, fast-paced yet relaxing water adventures, or a full day paying homage to SPAM in the original museum dedicated to this quintessential American canned meat that fed soldiers throughout World War II. , there is so much unique America to discover from Minneapolis.
From short trips north to the Wisconsin border, or further south where centuries-old glaciers await, these excellent day trips can be easily enjoyed from this remarkable sister of the Twin Cities.
8 Chippewa Falls
Located on the banks of the Chippewa River and Wissota Lake, Chippewa Falls is the perfect place for canoeing and camping in the summer, or ice skating in the winter. There’s also lovely Irvine Park nearby, perfect for picnicking and enjoying an ice cream or five.
Plus, the place isn’t just for outdoor enthusiasts; beer lovers will have a blast sampling the delicious liquor samples from the Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Company, which has been connected to Chippewa Falls since 1867. This particular brewery isn’t like many others – it’s is actually the seventh oldest brewery in the United States with roots deep in Wisconsin and Minnesota history.
And speaking of history, another delightful spot in the area for lovers of ancient tales is the Cook-Rutledge Mansion, which allows visitors to experience the fascinating lifestyle of the lumber barons.
7 The Ice Age Trail
More active explorers can step back in time by hiking the Ice Age National Scenic Trail – a 1,000-mile trail that runs from Interstate State Park at St. Croix Falls, near the Minnesota border, to State Park of Potawatomi in Door County, Wisconsin. Forged by ancient glaciers over millennia, the famous trail follows the route of the glaciers to their terminal moraine (the end of the glacier route where debris and rocks accumulate as glaciers grind down boulders, hills and other terrain over many thousands of years).
The Ice Age Trail was formalized by Milwaukeean Ray Zillmer nearly eight decades ago as a way to procure a Wisconsin backcountry hike and connect many important sites on the map, such as St. Croix Falls, Delafield, Hartland, Manitowoc-Two Rivers, Lodi, Slinger, Milton, Cornell, Verona, West Bend, Whitewater, and Cross Plains, with each town offering its own dose of Ice Age Trail sections and supplies for hikers.
6 Taylor and St. Croix Falls
Less than an hour from Minneapolis is the spectacular Taylor Falls – where no day trip would be complete without first paddling the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway and then promoting it to a riverboat ride . Plus, on the Wisconsin side of the river in St. Croix Falls, the Woolly Bike Trail is a pretty path perfect for strolling while soaking up the scenery and rewarding walkers with beers at the nearby Trap Rock Brewery.
Even with these attractions completed, the day isn’t quite over yet. Other great highlights include Franconia Sculpture Park, wine tasting and sampling local viticulture at Wild Mountain Winery, ATV riding and mountain biking in the area, and Interstate State Park – the latter marks the end of the Ice Age Trail.
Are you still tired of the trails? Too bad there’s more – the place isn’t called “trail town” for nothing; explorers can also check out the Gandy Dancer State Recreation Trail, the Elroy-Sparta State Trail with its mix of trails and rails, and finally the Tuscobia State Trail, which is officially Wisconsin’s longest state trail.
5 Still water
As the birthplace of Minnesota, Stillwater on the lower St. Croix River has significant state history. In 1848, settlers from the Northwest Territories of Wisconsin came together to petition the U.S. Congress to grant them their own new state of Minnesota – a name they chose and collectively agreed upon, with the state eventually joining the union. in 1858.
With such stories from the past, historical relics can be seen today in this tourist town brimming with an old-world vibe. Today, Stillwater is an old lumber town with a historic atmosphere dotted with elegantly restored 19th-century buildings, old antique shops and many charming paddle-wheel steamers.
Most guests enjoy the bustling Main Street and paddlewheel rides on the St. Croix River, but those who venture off the popular trails will find crowd-free neighborhoods west of downtown, home to residences majestic and beautiful historic Washington County Courthouse.
4 Clear water
The town of Eau Claire, Wisconsin has gained prominence due to its location at the confluence of the region’s two most important rivers – the Eau Claire and the Chippewa. This has allowed the town to become a leader in the forestry industry for many decades, and although much of this particular sector no longer exists as much as it once did, the town is still thriving thanks at its location by the river.
Because it is located right next to these rivers, Eau Claire offers exceptionally beautiful views all around, not to mention great water activities. Visitors can swim and paddle on local water trails or bike along the Chippewa River State Trail, as well as go tubing and rafting, especially in the summer when the weather is more inviting. The local bars and restaurants are also interesting and combined with the town’s live music scene make for a great overnight stay.
3 The SPAM Museum, Austin
Not to be confused with the city of the same name in Texas, Austin, Minnesota is a peculiar place brimming with bizarre attractions. At first, visitors are likely to notice the unusual roadside attraction known as Buffy the Cow, but it’s nowhere near as odd as the official SPAM museum – an entertaining place for hungry bellies to just walk through. after working up an appetite with activities amidst the city’s great outdoors, including kayaking, canoeing, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing at the Jay C. Hormel Nature Center.
As the home and headquarters of Hormel – the company responsible for the globally beloved brand of canned pre-cooked meat – the entry-free museum is entirely and wholeheartedly dedicated to SPAM and tells the story and history of company, the origin of the iconic meat staple, and its important role in global culture (yes, SPAM has really changed the world in one way or another).
Duluth earned its place on the map as a major shipping hub at the time, attracting laborers and sailors who came to drink in their spare time. Naturally, many breweries and bars have sprung up and are still present today. Although shipping still plays a vital role in Duluth, tourism has also played a major role in supplementing the city’s economy.
These days, Duluth offers history, adventure sports, and best of all, a great craft beer and cider scene — especially in the downtown west area. Not so fond of alcohol? No problem – intrigued history buffs and photography enthusiasts can enjoy historic attractions such as Glensheen Mansion, the William A Irvin Ship Museum, as well as Leif Erikson State Park with its impressively detailed replica of a Viking longship .
If there are kids following for the day, then a visit to see the freshwater and saltwater exhibits at the Great Lakes Aquarium would be ideal, as would a visit to Hawk Ridge Observatory. where 94,000 raptors fly during the incredible fall falcon migration.
1 Itasca State Park
Itasca State Park is perfect for nature lovers and gives visitors access to the beautiful Mississippi River where they can wade through the water and jump along the stepping stones. Of course, it’s not just the paddling that makes the place worthy of attention; the park promises a menu of outdoor adventures, some of which include, but are not limited to, hiking, biking, canoeing, kayaking, and camping in tents and RV sites. Plus, there are plenty of lovely log cabins to stay in for a bit more luxury, providing a beautiful setting for a visit at any time of the year – especially in winter when snow blankets the entire park, transforming it into a magical winter wonderland on a Christmas card.
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