The entire United States is full of beauty. From the Grand Canyon in the west to the Appalachian Trail in the east, there are stunning sights in every region. But Minnesota has an attraction or two that are the cream of the crop compared to those in other states. Given just how incredibly beautiful they are, these 10 places in Minnesota are better than anywhere else in the country.
1. Voyageurs National Park
Minnesota's only national park, Voyageurs is a place of absolutely stunning beauty. It covers over 218,000 acres of pristine nature. Because the park is largely made up of lakes, the majority is accessible only by boat. But if you have a chance, it's well worth the trip to be one of its 241,000 annual visitors.
2. North Shore
Sure, other states lay claim to Lake Superior as well. But Minnesota's North Shore is especially beautiful. From the jagged cliffs to the unique beaches, this long stretch of northern Minnesota is unlike anywhere else. Add to that the charming towns and the breathtaking state parks - including the iconic Split Rock Lighthouse - and you'd be hard pressed to name anywhere better.
3. Great River Bluffs State Park
Minnesota isn't only home to 10,000 beautiful lakes. It is also home to several rivers, including part of the Mighty Mississippi. One of the best places to see it is at Great River Bluffs State Park. This park in Winona, Minnesota, has several miles of gorgeous hiking trails. They climb high above the city to offer incredible views of the river and Wisconsin beyond.
4. Blue Mounds State Park
Blue Mounds is one of the most unusual places in Minnesota. In the flat prairie of southwestern Minnesota, pink quartzite cliffs rise above the waving grass. Because of this unusual juxtaposition, this little park is one of the most unique places in America.
5. North Woods
While Minnesota's North Woods are not like they were a century ago, they are still full of incredible beauty. The forests of northern Minnesota are thick and, in some small areas, still full of old-growth trees. Those who spend time here realize what an unusual treasure the North Woods are.
6. Boundary Waters Canoe Wilderness Area
Clocking in at over 1 million acres, the Boundary Waters are absolutely stunning no matter where you look. Anyone who has been there has reveled in the peace and quiet of the forests and lakes of this northern Minnesota oasis. Whether you like canoeing or fishing, camping or hiking, you'll find what you're looking for in this peaceful area, one of the most popular wilderness areas in the United States.
7. Gooseberry Falls
It may not be the biggest waterfall in the United States - or even in Minnesota - but Gooseberry Falls sure is impressive. The Gooseberry River falls over jagged rock as it makes its way to Lake Superior. Surrounded by tall cliffs and trees - only a short distance from the state park parking lot - this easy-to-access spot brings you close to nature without much effort.
8. Grand Portage State Park
Grand Portage State Park is home to the tallest waterfall in all of Minnesota. The High Fall of the Pigeon River plummets 120 feet as it makes its way to Lake Superior. And surrounded by the thick woods of far northern Minnesota along the Canada border, it's the perfect place to go to truly get away from it all.
9. Hull-Rust-Mahoning Mine
Here's a unique spot that is definitely like any other in the United States. Hull-Rust-Mahoning may look similar to a naturally occurring canyon, but this wonder is actually manmade. Still an active mine today, it's one of the largest open-pit mines in the entire world. Though it still provides ore to this day, those who are curious to see the gorge can visit at special lookout stations in the area.
10. Mississippi Headwaters
The headwaters of the Mississippi River can only be in one place, and they just so happen to be in Minnesota. In fact, you can cross them on foot at Itasca State Park. Generations of Minnesotans have taken part in this Minnesota tradition, not in small part because the surrounding state park is beyond beautiful. Come for the headwaters, stay for the peaceful and scenic beauty of Minnesota's first state park.
Minnesota is full of gorgeous and unique places. What would you add to the list? Are there any spots that you think are better than anywhere else in the country? Let us know in the comments below!