1. The prairie in Blue Mounds State Park.
In the southwestern corner of the state, Blue Mounds State Park is home to acres of rolling prairie. When you arrive, you’ll feast your eyes on tall grasses as far as the eye can see. Make a point to go when the wildflowers and prickly pear cacti are in bloom. If you’re lucky, you may even see a buffalo.
2. A Minnesota lake sunset.
Honestly, any lake will do, but this is a Minnesota milestone that you have to cross off your bucket list. There’s nothing more Minnesotan than sitting on a dock and watching the sun sink into your favorite lake. Bonus points if you sip on a Grain Belt while you watch.
3. The view from Eagle Mountain.
At 1,321 feet above sea level, Eagle Mountain is the highest point in Minnesota. Visitors will trek up a rugged 3-mile path to reach the summit, where they’ll have uninterrupted views of the Northern Minnesota wilderness.
4. The Kettle River rapids.
Don’t let all that talk of Minnesota Nice fool you. This state is home to an angry river. The Kettle River starts in east central Minnesota and travels south to meet up with the St. Croix. By the time it hits Banning State Park in Sandstone, the Kettle River has Class IV rapids that end just before cascading over Big Spring Falls.
5. The St. Croix River dalles.
A can’t-miss item on every Minnesota bucket list, these beautiful cliffs were millions of years in the making. Admire them from afar as you paddle the river, or study them up close to appreciate the ancient history of these basalt wonders.
6. The high falls at Tettegouche State Park.
Along the shores of Lake Superior, between Grand Marais and Duluth, the Baptism River falls over a rocky cliff. Enjoy the sight of this roaring waterfall from above or below the falls.
7. The Northern Lights.
Here in Minnesota, we’re lucky to have plenty of opportunities to see the Aurora Borealis in all its technicolor glory. Not only that, but there are countless places where you can escape the city for an unadulterated view of the Northern Lights.
8. The high falls of the Pigeon River.
Minnesota’s tallest waterfall flows at Grand Portage State Park on the Canadian border. At 100 feet tall, it’s about two-thirds the size of Niagara Falls - definitely one to cross off the bucket list next time you venture north!
9. The Lake Superior shoreline.
Minnesota’s North Shore boasts hundreds of miles of shoreline along the largest of the Great Lakes. With towns dotted along the shoreline, you’ll find endless activities to keep you busy - if you can take your eyes off the waves, that is. If you’re super lucky, you’ll find an agate hiding along the shore.
10. The Mississippi River.
From its headwaters in Lake Itasca to the Twin Cities and beyond, the Mississippi River is a popular spot to see nature and experience a little bit of the Great River Road. Whether you row out to a river island or enjoy the view from its banks, the Mississippi River is a Minnesota must-see.