Minnesota’s large cities are great, but sometimes it’s nice to get out there and explore the many small towns that make up our state. And it’s even better to
really get out there and venture out to small towns in rural Minnesota. There are hundreds of them all across the state, and each has its own unique charm that makes it a great place to explore. These 13 small towns in Minnesota are just a few examples of rural towns that are delightful to visit.
Askov is a tiny town in Pine County with a population of less than 500. But that doesn't make it uninteresting. To honor the town's early heritage, most of the street names in Askov are Danish with the English translations written below. The town is also the former Rutabaga Capital of the World, and it holds a rutabaga festival every summer.
With a name like Cosmos, you've got to wonder what this town has in store. From the rocket ship water tower to the annual Cosmos Space Festival, this tiny town lives up to its name.
Mantorville - population: 1,100 - has plenty to offer day trippers out to experience rural Minnesota. Plenty of cute shops and restaurants line its downtown, and the Hubbell House is one of the oldest restaurants in the United States.
4. Blue Earth
Way down in southern Minnesota, Blue Earth has one attraction that draws in 10,000 people per year - about three times its resident population. The 55-foot-tall Jolly Green Giant statue presides over the community, and a Jolly Green Giant museum is in the works.
Windom is one of the larger towns on this list with around 4,500 people. But as a farming community in southern Minnesota, it doesn't really get much rural than this. The Des Moines River runs through town, a popular canoeing spot. The town is also home to the historic Windom State Theater.
6. Pine City
From the Snake River to Pokegama Lake to Chengwatana State Forest, Pine City has a whole lot of nature to explore. But it also has a charming downtown full of shops and restaurants. Really, there is so much to do that it's a wonder only about 3,000 people live there.
Baudette is located along the Rainy River on Minnesota's border with Canada. Its northern latitude makes it a prime spot for enjoying nature and taking a step back from the stresses of life.
Northwestern Minnesota doesn't get a whole lot of attention, and that's a real shame. Ada is just the kind of rural town that should make a big splash. It's usually a quiet place, but the town does hold several festivals throughout the year to liven things up.
Luverne is home to Blue Mounds State Park, which holds some of Minnesota's most unique landscape. If you want to see pink cliffs rising over buffalo-dotted grasslands, Luverne's Blue Mounds State Park is the place to go.
With a population of around 1,200, there isn't a ton to do in Mahnomen. But it's a great place to take a drive along winding country roads to see what life is like in the Red River Valley.
11. Long Prairie
Long Prairie is another town with a nice downtown filled with shops and restaurants. Like most rural communities, it's surrounded by lush farmland that is perfect for a day of drive-by sightseeing.
Wabasha is located between the Twin Cities and Wabasha, on the western banks of the Mississippi River. Despite its rural location, the town has a lot to do, like visiting the National Eagle Center or attending the annual Grumpy Old Men Festival.
In southeastern Minnesota, Lanesboro quietly holds the title of Bed & Breakfast Capital of Minnesota. Many historic hotels serve the town, which draws in thousands of visitors - especially in warmer months. In the surrounding community, rolling hills and river views make Minnesota's Amish country unforgettable.