North to south, east to west — and everywhere in between — Minnesota is filled to the brim with quiet oases that will take you away from it all. Next time you need a little time away from your busy schedule, hop in the car and head to one of the most peaceful places to go in Minnesota.
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life. While we continue to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, please take proper precautions or add them to your bucket list to see at a later date. If you know of a local business that could use some extra support during these times, please nominate them here:
1. Boundary Waters
If we could only recommend one place in Minnesota to get away from it all, it would be the boundary waters. This million-acre expanse is home to crystal-clear lakes, fascinating wildlife, and enough peace and quiet to make you feel 100% relaxed.
2. Eagle Mountain
Located within the Boundary Waters — and within the stunningly beautiful Superior National Forest — is a low mountain that is actually Minnesota's highest point. Climb to the top — under 10 miles there and back — and you'll be 2,301 feet above sea level. Even better, you'll be able to see for miles in every direction. It just might be enough to take you away from reality for a moment or two.
3. Great River Bluffs State Park
The river bluffs region of southeastern Minnesota is one of the most underrated parts of the state. Great River Bluffs State Park is truly one of the best. Climb atop the bluffs for a view of the river below, with a glimpse of Winona in the distance, and some serenity.
4. Nerstrand Big Woods State Park
Here's another southern Minnesota state park that cannot be missed — especially if you'd like some peace and quiet. The biggest draw of this lesser-known state park is the quietly beautiful Hidden Falls. While it’s not as huge or powerful as Minnehaha or Gooseberry, the secluded waterfall at Nerstrand Big Woods State Park is as beautiful as it is peaceful.
5. Leif Erikson Park & Rose Garden
If you’re looking for a peaceful North Shore destination, look no further than Leif Erikson Park & Rose Garden in Duluth, Minnesota. Stroll along the paths lined with perfectly manicured flowers and shrubs, with the choppy waters of Lake Superior providing a soundtrack to your walk. It can’t get any more beautiful — or more peaceful.
6. Minnehaha Falls
Minneapolis is not without its peaceful destinations. One of the most popular is Minnehaha Falls. While it is certainly one of the busier spots in Minneapolis, there is no shortage of quiet places to get away. Whether you visit to reflect, people watch, or just enjoy the view, you’ll find what you’re looking for at this stunning urban waterfall.
7. Itasca State Park
If you’ve never crossed the headwaters of the Mississippi River at Itasca State Park, what are you waiting for? This Minnesota landmark has been a classic vacation spot for generations of Minnesotans, and it continues to be a popular destination today. Wooded trails, lake views, and the path across the Mississippi before it begins its winding way south? It doesn’t get any better than this.
8. Big Bog State Recreation Area
One of the most unique natural areas in the state of Minnesota, Big Bog is a strangely fascinating place to visit. A boardwalk leads through a swampy bog that is brimming with insects, birds, and other creatures. There are even carnivorous plants! If you want to get away from Minnesota without actually leaving, this strange place feels about as far from the Land of 10,000 Lakes as you can get.
9. Franz Jevne State Park
Way, way up in northern Minnesota is a state park with a dubious honor: it is the smallest state park in all of Minnesota. But don’t let that stop you from visiting. This little-known destination is surrounded by nature on all sides — and not much else. Because few visit this secluded 118-acre expanse, it will feel like you have it all to yourself. What could be more peaceful?
10. Minnesota Valley State Recreation Area
This state recreation area is filled to the brim with stunning wildlife. More than 5,000 acres of river, forest, and valley await those who take the time to visit. Different sectors of the park are connected by various waysides, so there is a lot to explore. But if you’re looking for something peaceful to do, this could be the ticket.
11. Normandale Japanese Garden
This little-known garden at Normandale Community College is one of the most unique gardens in the entire state. It looks straight out of Japan, with plants and architectural details to match. Visit in the spring to watch the cherry blossoms bloom, or go in the winter to see the snow-capped red bridge in all its glory. Either way, this pretty garden offers an ideal place for peaceful reflection.
Have you been to any of these peaceful places? What other spots would you recommend? Feel free to share your answers in the comments below.