Minnesota Road Trips December 30, 2021
by Betsy Rathburn This 275-Mile Road Trip Leads To Some Of The Most Scenic Parts Of Minnesota, No Matter What Time Of Year It Is
There are many fun trips that you can take all across Minnesota. In the past, we’ve created a
burger trail, a thrift store road trip, and even a train-themed road trip. For nature lovers, we’ve covered waterfalls and the spectacular sights of the North Shore. But there’s still so much left to discover. That’s where today’s road trip comes in.
We created a 275-mile road trip that will take you to some of the most scenic parts of Minnesota, no matter the season. It covers an area of Minnesota around the Twin Cities, with a focus on stops that are just south or east of the metro. Read on below to learn about this fun, beautiful road trip.
This road trip crosses a small section of Minnesota near the Twin Cities. It covers about 275 miles of the state's prettiest scenery, both natural and human-made. For the map and full directions, click
1. Minnehaha Falls
Minnehaha Falls is located in one of Minneapolis' most popular and historic parks. The overlooks and limestone bluffs are just part of the appeal - the real star of the show is the 53-foot cascade. In the winter, it freezes over and creates an otherworldly scene.
2. Vermillion Falls Park
In Hastings, Minnesota, Vermillion Falls Park is another lovely waterfall stop. The 35-foot waterfall along the Vermillion River was once used to power a mill. Now, it is the focal point for a beautiful park with plenty of trails, picnic spaces, and scenic views. Summertime visits are common, but spring, fall, and winter also provide lovely views.
3. Frontenac State Park
Next, head southeast to Frontenac State Park. This lovely place is known for its location on the Mississippi River. Hiking trails lead high above the river for spectacular views in every season. From the lush, green summertime scenery to the vibrant colors of fall - and beyond - this park is a knockout no matter when you visit.
4. Zumbrota Covered Bridge
The next attraction is human-made, but that doesn't make it any less attractive. The Zumbrota Covered Bridge is a historic landmark that dates back to 1869. Visitors can walk across the bridge, take pictures, and enjoy the view. In winter, the bright red bridge stands out against fresh snow. But we think you'll enjoy a visit to this historic bridge at any time of year.
5. Nerstrand-Big Woods State Park
It is hard to overstate the beauty of Nerstrand-Big Woods State Park. Trails lead through the woods to the aptly named Hidden Falls, a 20-foot waterfall in the middle of the forest. The park is most popular in the fall, when the woods turn all shades of red, yellow, and orange. But you'll find gorgeous views at any time of year. The park is alive with budding trees in spring, lush leaves in winter, and peaceful tranquility in the winter. Make a point to visit this park in all seasons!
6. Sakatah Lake State Park
Next, the route turns towards Waterville, where beautiful Sakatah Lake State Park stands as a quiet place to spend time in nature at any time of year. The lake provides plenty of recreation, including fishing and boating. Plenty of trails pass through the park, including Sakatah Singing Hills State Trail. Whether you enjoy hiking, snowshoeing, or cross-country skiing, you'll find opportunities to do it here.
7. Flandrau State Park
In the lovely city of New Ulm, Flandrau State Park stands out as a nature destination that can be enjoyed at any time of year. The park sits along the Cottonwood River, which provides plenty of fishing opportunities. Campers enjoy staying overnight during the warmer months. The sand-bottomed swimming pool is another popular summertime attraction. In winter, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing trails make it easy to see this park's beauty when the temperature drops!
8. Kerfoot Canopy Tour
You may be surprised to see a zipline tour included on a list of scenic places in Minnesota. But this place happens to be one of the best spots to see the Minnesota River Valley. Visitors climb high and zipline over some of the prettiest areas of the valley. You'll get to go high above the trees, soar over gorges, and hike through a beautiful wooded area. If you're up for the challenge, you can do it at any time of year. Summer and fall are beautiful, but spring and winter are also fun to visit. The trees are bare, and you can see the ground from way up high!
9. Minnesota Landscape Arboretum
Finally, the road trip ends at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. This 1,200-acre garden is full of beauty at every time of the year. Spring and summer bring flower gardens, fall includes beautiful changing leaves and fun autumn displays, and winter offers plenty of great events. You will love spending time at this beautiful and informative place!
What do you think? Would you add anything else to this road trip? Let us know in the comments or by filling out our
nomination form! And if you’d like to see directions and follow the route, you can check out the map here.
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Address: Minnehaha Falls, Minneapolis, MN 55417, USA Address: Vermillion Falls Park, 215 21st St E, Hastings, MN 55033, USA Address: Frontenac State Park, 29223 County 28 Blvd, Frontenac, MN 55026, USA Address: Zumbrota Covered Bridge, Unnamed Road, Zumbrota, MN 55992, USA Address: Nerstrand Big Woods State Park, 9700 170th St E, Nerstrand, MN 55053, USA Address: Sakatah Lake State Park, 50499 Sakatah Lake St Park Rd, Waterville, MN 56096, USA Address: Flandrau State Park, 1300 Summit Ave, New Ulm, MN 56073, USA Address: Kerfoot Canopy Tour, 30200 Scenic Byway Rd, Henderson, MN 56044, USA Address: Minnesota Landscape Arboretum - Advance Reservations/Tickets Required, 3675 Arboretum Dr, Chaska, MN 55318, USA