From prairies to lakes to rocky cliffs, Minnesota has a diverse landscape that is full of incredible beauty. Many of the best sights in the state are accessible by hiking or canoeing, making them less accessible for those who don’t have the time or ability to make the trek. But there are just as many gorgeous sights that require a lot less effort. These 8 roads in Minnesota have the best windshield views in the state. Drive them, and you’ll see a beautiful sight that you don’t even have to leave your car for.
1. St. Croix Scenic Byway
This scenic byway follows along the scenic St. Croix River from south of Stillwater to just north of Sandstone. The tree-lined road twists along the eastern edge of the state, with views and easy access to the beautiful St. Croix. You'll also pass through many charming towns along the way, making this one of the most diverse - and gorgeous - drives in Minnesota.
2. North Shore Scenic Drive
North Shore Scenic Drive is one of Minnesota's most popular - and beautiful - drives. Starting in Duluth, it travels north all the way up to Grand Portage. You'll be greeted with gorgeous trees, tunnels, and more. But the most breathtaking sight is by far that of Lake Superior. There are many places to pull off along this drive, and you're going to want to once you see the view.
3. Gunflint Trail
The famous Gunflint Trail is a can't-miss drive for any person visiting - or living - in Minnesota. Every mile of of this 57-mile stretch is an absolutely gorgeous voyage through the boundary waters. Trees line both sides of the road, with occasional views of pristine northern lakes. If you're lucky, you'll even see wildlife.
4. Minnesota River Scenic Byway
The Minnesota River Valley was carved into the landscape millions of years ago by massive glaciers. You can still see the effect today, with the land rising up above the deep valley below. The hilly landscape is dotted with trees, and the river adds a picturesque touch. The view from the car is gorgeous enough, but if you'd like to explore more, there are six state parks along the route from Browns Valley to Belle Plaine.
5. Skyline Drive
Duluth's most famous road, Skyline Drive is an essential destination for anyone traveling along the North Shore. The road winds along a tall hill overlooking Duluth. It's absolutely breathtaking to see the city below in full view, especially with the sight of the enormous Lake Superior beyond. It almost feels like being at the ocean.
6. Glacial Ridge Trail
West central Minnesota doesn't get enough love, but this scenic byway will likely make anyone who doubts the area's beauty change their tune. The 220-mile drive crosses through forest and farmland, offering close-up views of places few people explore. If you'd like to get out of your car, there are three state parks along the route with plenty of hiking, birdwatching, and more.
7. Superior National Forest Scenic Byway
From Silver Bay to Aurora, this northern Minnesota road is a 54-mile journey through the forest. The road is so remote, with few settlements - or much of anything beyond trees - will make you feel like you've stepped away from everything for a while. It's a great drive for finding a little peace and quiet while enjoying Minnesota's incredible beauty.
8. Grand Rounds Scenic Byway
You don't have to venture too far from the Twin Cities to find beauty in Minnesota. Grand Rounds Scenic Byway is a trek through Minneapolis, offering views of some of its prettiest places. Many choose to walk or bike this network of interconnected parks, but driving gives a beautiful view, too. Lakes, rivers, trees, and historic sites combine to give you a gorgeous tour of Minnesota's largest city.
What’s your favorite scenic drive in Minnesota? Have you see any of these windshield views? Let us know in the comments down below.
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