Attractions June 01, 2021
The Fairytale Road Trip That’ll Lead You To Some Of Minnesota’s Most Magical Places
There are so many places to explore in Minnesota that it’s sometimes hard to decide where to go. You can hop in your car and head in any direction, and you’re sure to find some amazing places. But today, we want to help you discover some of Minnesota’s most magical places. From nature areas to human-made destinations, you’ll find plenty to enjoy on this lovely road trip.
During these uncertain times, please keep safety in mind and consider adding destinations to your bucket list to visit at a later date.
This road trip covers about 300 miles in southeastern Minnesota. To give yourself plenty of time to see the sights, we recommend following the route over a couple of days. The route begins in Waite Park and ends in the tiny town of Preston, though you are of course free to jump in wherever you’d like. Check out the full route
1. Munsinger Gardens - St. Cloud
The first stop on this fairytale road trip is at Munsinger Gardens in St. Cloud. As soon as you arrive, you’ll see why this is one of the city’s top destinations. It consists of two lovely gardens along the Mississippi River, which include colorful flowerbeds, a pond, trees, and a picturesque gazebo. It’s a lovely place to catch a few tranquil minutes in nature. For more information, click
2. Quarry Park and Nature Preserve - Waite Park
Just outside of St. Cloud, the small city of Waite Park is home to a great, little-known destination. Quarry Park and Nature Preserve is a 683-acre park situated around a series of old quarries. Several of the quarries are now popular swimming destinations. But even if you don’t swim, the picturesque paths around the cliff-lined quarries are absolutely beautiful. This is a central Minnesota hidden gem and one that everyone should visit at least once. For more information, click
3. Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden & Bird Sanctuary - Minneapolis
Leaving the St. Cloud area, your next destination is in Minneapolis. The Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden & Bird Sanctuary is an absolutely beautiful oasis in the middle of the city. It’s a 15-acre garden teeming with wildlife. Not only will you see colorful wildflowers, but you also have the chance to catch a glimpse of more than 100 different bird species. Paths through the park make it easy to spot the flowers, birds, and butterflies you’re likely to see here. For more information about the garden, click
4. Normandale Japanese Garden - Bloomington
The last garden on the road trip is found on the grounds of Normandale Community College. It’s a Japanese-style garden complete with a lovely stream and pond, blooming trees, and picturesque bridges. Though it’s in the middle of a busy city - and on a busy college campus - you won’t notice it as you stroll along the serene trails. Click
for more information.
5. Cannon River - Welch
Next up, the route leads south, to a tiny town called Welch, Minnesota. Here, you’ll find the lovely waters of the Cannon River as it meanders through the state. One of the best ways to enjoy it is by tubing do the river. Welch Mill Tubing, Canoeing, and Kayaking is a river outfitter that’ll help you make the most of this beautiful area. Rent a tube and go cruising down the tree-lined river. You’ll get to enjoy scenic southern Minnesota and keep cool while doing so. It’s downright magical. For more information, click
6. Lake Pepin - Lake City
Next up, on Minnesota’s eastern border, is beautiful Lake Pepin. Lake Pepin is the largest lake on the Mississippi River! It’s also a wonderful place to visit if you’re a fan of lakeside recreation. Beaches along the lake provide plenty of space for a swim, and those with boats enjoy sailing or fishing on the water. If you have a kayak, that’s also a great choice for this stop.
7. Great River Bluffs State Park - Winona
Another way to enjoy the Mississippi River is by visiting Great River Bluffs State Park. But instead of dipping your toe into the water, why not climb high above it? Paths at this gorgeous park take you high above the Mississippi River as you climb the tree-covered bluffs that rise over it. Amazing views make this a true Minnesota gem - and a perfect stop on a fairytale road trip. For more information about the park, click
8. Forestville/Mystery Cave State Park - Preston
Finally, we end our road trip at Forestville/Mystery Cave State Park. One half of the park is the historic town of Forestville, where you can still browse old-fashioned buildings to see how people lived a century ago. And the other half is an amazing nature area centered on a fascinating cave. Take a tour into the cave to experience the magical waters of the underground Turquoise Lake. Sound good? Click
for more information.
There you have it! What do you think? What other magical places in Minnesota would you add? Let us know in the comments! And if you’re looking for more road trips, check out our
Minnesota waterfall road trip and our Minnesota hidden gems road trip. Address: Munsinger Gardens, 1515 Riverside Dr SE, St Cloud, MN 56304, USA Address: Quarry Park and Nature Preserve, 1802 Co Rd 137, Waite Park, MN 56387, USA Address: Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden, 1 Theodore Wirth Pkwy, Minneapolis, MN 55405, USA Address: Normandale Japanese Garden, West Lot, 9700 France Ave S, Bloomington, MN 55431, USA Address: Welch Mill Canoeing, Tubing, & Kayaking, 26389 County 7 Blvd, Welch, MN 55089, USA Address: Lake City, MN 55041, USA Address: Great River Bluffs State Park, 43605 Kipp Dr, Winona, MN 55987, USA Address: Forestville/Mystery Cave State Park, 21071 County Rd 118, Preston, MN 55965, USA