Minnesota January 12, 2017
12 Once-In-A-Lifetime Adventures You Can Only Have In Minnesota
It’s easy to draw a blank when it comes to planning the next weekend getaway, but it really shouldn’t be. Minnesota is full of amazing sights, many of which you just can’t see anywhere else. From deep underground to high above the trees, there’s a little something for everyone in the Land of 10,000 Lakes. Next time you’re in a travel rut, use this list of 12 once-in-a-lifetime adventures you can only have in Minnesota.
1. Stand on top of the world - or at least Minnesota.
At the peak of Eagle Mountain, towering a whopping 2,300 feet above sea level, you'll have a panoramic view of Minnesota from its highest point. Where else can you look down on a gorgeous, untouched national forest from above?
2. Visit the North Shore.
Yes, Michigan and Wisconsin each lay claim to parts of Lake Superior. But isn't the Minnesota section better in every way? We think so. Along Minnesota's North Shore, you'll find interesting towns big and small, iconic restaurants, and
. You could spend an entire week - or more - exploring what the region has to offer.
3. See a waterfall without leaving the city.
Speaking of waterfalls, Minneapolis lays claim to one of the prettiest places in all of Minnesota - and it's easily accessible without leaving city limits. There's a reason the 53-foot waterfall gets so much attention: it's just
4. Paddle the Boundary Waters.
Over 1 million acres of lake and forest await in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. This protected land is an amazing spot to fish, camp, or just watch the stars. How many other states have that much pristine wilderness?
5. Experience two - or more - seasons in a single day.
The biggest change in one day happened in Lamberton in 1982. The temperature dropped 71 degrees from 78 to 7 in only 24 hours. That example is pretty extreme, but it's not uncommon to have big swings in temperature - especially in the spring.
6. Visit the Sled Dog Capital of the World.
Did you know Ely is the Sled Dog Capital of the World? At least, that's what it calls itself. The town houses a dogsled outfitter - including guides - that will have you mushing like a pro in no time. If yo love the Boundary Waters and love the winter, this is a good option to enjoy both.
7. Stand at the edge of one of the world's largest open pit mines.
is one of the last reminders of the Iron Range's heyday. At 600 feet deep and over a mile wide, it's truly a sight to behold. Even more interesting: you may spot some activity when you visit, because this mine operates 24/7. Stick to the visitor areas, and you'll be good to go.
8. Visit the World's Largest Twine Ball.
That's right, the famed World's Largest Twine Ball is in none other than Darwin, Minnesota. It may not be the Grand Canyon, but it's certainly a quirky stop on any Minnesota road trip. In fact, Minnesota is full of
fun roadside attractions
. Should the mood strike, it wouldn't be too difficult to plan a whole weekend around seeing them.
9. See an underground waterfall.
Niagara Cave lives up to its name. A series of delicate rock formations and 450 million-year-old fossils eventually leads guests to an impressive underground waterfall that must be seen to be believed. This fascinating cave tour in Harmony lasts about an hour - and let me tell you, it's worth it.
10. Swim in a new lake every day.
With over 10,000 lakes - 11,842, to be exact - it would take 32 years to swim in all of them if you only visited one each day. Outside of Alaska, no other state can make that claim. But with our warmer temperatures and smaller size, it's probably a lot easier to take a dip in Minnesota. Luckily, you really don't need to try every lake to find a good one.
11. Walk across the Mississippi River.
A drive up to Itasca State Park to walk across the Mississippi River headwaters is a classic Minnesota trip. The stones that mark the way across have been met by generations of Minnesotans eager to see where the Mighty Mississippi begins to flow on its winding way south.
12. Hike stunning quartzite cliffs.
Blue Mounds State Park in Luverne is so different from the rest of Minnesota's landscape, it's kind of amazing that it's in the same state. Pink cliffs of quartzite tower over the land, which is often a sea of tall grass and wildflowers - and even prickly pear cactus. A scenic drive from the city or the northern forests to this spectacular landscape is definitely an only in Minnesota experience.
There are so many spectacular places in Minnesota. Which would you add to this list?