Minnesota July 19, 2018
8 Quick Road Trips In Minnesota You Can Take This Weekend
Here in Minnesota, there are nearly endless ways to entertain yourself without ever leaving the state. Our 66 state parks, one national park, and dozens of other nature and wildlife areas add up to an incredibly beautiful state with plenty to do. There’s so much to do, in fact, that it’s easy to plan road trips without ever leaving the state. Next time you need a weekend away, try one of these 8 quick road trips in Minnesota:
1. St. Croix Scenic Byway
Along the eastern edge of the state, this gorgeous scenic drive is a must for anyone who wants to get to know Minnesota. It stretches from Washington County to Pine County, passing through many charming towns along the way. Stillwater and Taylors Falls are obvious stops, but if you keep going a little further north, you'll it spots like Rush City and Sandstone. These towns have beautiful nature areas, tasty small-town restaurants, and — most importantly — peace and quiet. Combine that with views of the St. Croix River, and you will not regret this weekend road trip.
2. North Shore
We know that most Minnesotans have been to the North Shore more than a few times, so this may seem like an obvious choice. But there's a reason people are drawn to the icy waters of Lake Superior and its surrounding area: it's absolutely breathtaking. Whether you love waterfalls or rugged rock formations, rushing rivers or quiet woods, you will find your sanctuary on the North Shore. Even if you've been there a million times, there's always something new to discover.
3. Grand Rounds Scenic Byway
If you're in the Twin Cities and don't want to venture too far from home, the Grand Rounds Scenic Byway is the perfect quick road trip for you. It's so quick, in fact, that you'll be back in time for supper. This path through Minneapolis links many of the city's parks and lakes. Take a stop at Theodore Wirth to visit the Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden. Or, head to the Chain of Lakes to watch sailboats glide over Bde Maka Ska. Look at the city through the eyes of a tourist, and you just might fall in love with the Twin Cities all over again.
4. Historic Bluff Country Scenic Byway
Southern Minnesota is not without its natural beauty. One of the best ways to see it is by exploring the Bluff Country Scenic Byway. This gorgeous road crosses the rolling hills of southeastern Minnesota, offering views of lush farm fields and picturesque forests. Between stops in charming small towns such as Lanesboro, you might spot an Amish buggy making its way across the bluffs. This beautiful drive is one weekend trip you will not soon forget.
5. Skyline Drive Scenic Byway
Looking to spend some time in Duluth? Then the Skyline Drive Scenic Byway is one of the best ways to see the city from above. As you cruise along the top of Duluth's big hill, you'll be treated to the distant sight of ships coming into the harbor, tiny cars zipping over the bridges, and the general hustle and bustle of the city. As an added bonus, nearby attractions such as Hawk Ridge will give you a glimpse of the local wildlife.
6. Taylors Falls
Of all the towns in Minnesota, Taylors Fall is one of the most charming — and the most naturally beautiful. Plenty of lovely accommodations make this a great spot to hang your hat for a weekend. Not only that, but there's a lot to do in this little town. Take a riverboat cruise, explore the glacial potholes at Interstate State Park, and check out some local restaurants. It'll be a completely relaxing adventure that is perfect for a quick weekend trip.
7. Jeffers Petroglyphs
Even if you've heard of Jeffers Petroglyphs, most Minnesotans have not visited this curious attraction. It's located in Comfrey, Minnesota, right on the edge of the state's western prairie. The waving grasses give way to a huge outcropping of red stone riddled with carvings, or petroglyphs. Some date back thousands of years. There are also old wagon trails from when Minnesota was first settled by Europeans. It's a fascinating look at Minnesota's history, and a great way to see something unique on a weekend afternoon.
8. Afton State Park
One of Minnesota's most underrated parks, Afton State Park is well worth visiting. It offers plenty of hiking trails through the woods, picnic areas, and wildlife sightings. But one of the best things at Afton is a hidden beach that you can only access via a 1/2-mile walk through the woods. The secluded beach has plenty of sand for those who crave a little sunbathing before taking a dip in the St. Croix River. After you've had enough time in the sun, head back to your campsite for even more weekend relaxation.
Ready for an adventure? Which of these phenomenal road trips will you take first?