The good thing about Minnesota is that there is a gorgeous nature sight around every corner. Sure, some are a little more far-flung, requiring miles of strenuous hiking. But there is plenty to see that doesn’t require too much effort from you. These 10 natural wonders in Minnesota prove just that. They require no hiking at all, but they still offer that Minnesota beauty you crave.
During these uncertain times, please keep safety in mind and consider adding destinations to your bucket list to visit at a later date.
1. Minnehaha Falls - Minneapolis
If you've ever been to Minnehaha Falls, it should come as no surprise to you that you can enjoy this incredible waterfall without hiking. Sure, you
can trek down about a million stairs to see the falls from below, but why bother when the view from above is already so beautiful? Plus, there is great food at Sea Salt Eatery, many benches, and lots of green space. Perfect for a lazy summer day.
2. Split Rock Lighthouse - Two Harbors
The lighthouse itself isn't a natural wonder, but the cliff it's perched upon sure is. Many travel to Split Rock Lighthouse State Park every year, but this gorgeous sight is actually best viewed from afar. Luckily, there are plenty of great vantage points along the road. Park your car, and in the distance you'll see a rocky cliff rising high over the sparkling blue of Lake Superior. And on top of that, the lovely historic lighthouse that is often considered one of the most beautiful in the country. Even better - you don't even have to get out of your car.
3. Hidden Falls Regional Park - St. Paul
Hidden Falls Regional Park is a little-known destination in St. Paul. But despite the name, the park is pretty easy to access. Walk down short trails to get to the river, where you can wile away many hours watching boats amble down the Mississippi River. It's especially nice in the fall, when the trees along the river turn brilliant orange and yellow.
4. Big Bog State Recreation Area - Waskish
Did you know Minnesota is home to the largest peat bog in the Lower 48? It's located in Big Bog State Recreation Area, just over 250 miles north of the Twin Cities. This place is home to many unique plants and animals. A boardwalk runs through part of the bog to give visitors an up-close view of this unusual natural wonder.
5. Quaking Bog - Minneapolis
Speaking of bogs, the Quaking Bog at Theodore Wirth Park in Minneapolis is also a great spot for those who love nature but don't want to hike. Like Big Bog, the acidity level of this 5-acre area allows some interesting plant life to grow. An elevated walkway takes visitors through the bog, where they will see moss, wildflowers, and more.
6. Ramsey Falls - Redwood Falls
Alexander Ramsey Park in Redwood Falls is the largest municipal park in Minnesota. It's so big that some people refer to it as "Little Yellowstone." Despite its size, the park's main attraction - Ramsey Falls - is within easy walking distance from the parking area. Park the car, walk a few feet, and spend a while enjoying the view.
7. North Shore - St. Louis, Lake, and Cook Counties
Whether you're just passing through Duluth's Canal Park or taking a long drive up Highway 61, the North Shore may be Minnesota's most versatile natural wonder. You can see it in many different ways - by boat, by car, by foot - and spend as much energy as you like. The easiest way may be to take a drive up the North Shore Scenic Drive, where you'll be amazed at how truly beautiful this state is.
8. Cowling Arboretum - Northfield
This 800-acre nature area at Carleton College in Northfield is the perfect way to get outside without going too far. Visitors can get lost in tall grasses, wander along the Cannon River, and stare in awe at sprawling oaks. And the best part? There's plenty to see without straying too far from the parking lot.
9. Rainy Lake - Koochiching and St. Louis Counties
Rainy Lake is the ultimate spot for those who want to enjoy nature without having to hike. Why? Because it's home to many of Minnesota's most relaxing resorts. Kick back and enjoy stunning views of the gorgeous lake. From fiery sunsets to quiet, misty mornings this huge lake offers up some of Minnesota's greatest beauty.
10. High Falls of the Pigeon River - Grand Portage
The most strenuous part of visiting the High Falls of the Pigeon River is probably the drive up. Located in Grand Portage, this site is about 300 miles north of the Twin Cities. But once you get there, the highest waterfall in Minnesota is surprisingly easy to access. A short path from the parking area, and you get to feast your eyes on the rushing water as it tumbles over jagged rock.