12 Minnesota Summer Road Trips

What better time to take a road trip than summer?! With so many beautiful and fun Minnesota (and even Wisconsin…) destinations, you’ll be wanting to pack up the car today!

  1. Afton State Park
    • Distance from Twin Cities: 30 miles, 40-minute drive
    • This is so close to the Cities that you just have to go! You can spend the day hiking and head back home, or you should consider booking a place to stay for the night, like the Afton House Inn. Stillwater is also located close, so you could stay there for the night and explore their downtown area.
  2. Taylors Fall
    • Distance: 54 miles, 1-hour drive
    • This is another destination that is close enough to just do an afternoon trip. There is plenty to do here such as walking the trails, taking in the views, rock climbing, and canoe trips along the St. Croix. You could camp out here if you’re into that, or you could consider staying somewhere like the Old Jail Bed & Breakfast (a refurbished jail!)
  3. Schell’s Brewery
    • Distance: 97 miles, 1.45-hour drive
    • This is the second-oldest family run brewery in the US. You’ll be able to sample many German-style craft beers, take a tour, and take a look at their Museum of Brewing to learn more about local beer history. If you’re looking for the full German experience, book a stay at the Deutsche Strasse Bed and Breakfast.
  4. Jeffers Petroglyphs
    • Distance: 141 miles, 2.5-hour drive
    • This area has vast expanses of flat rock that contain historical Native American carvings that tell stories from over 7,000 years ago. You can also take a course in Native American survival skills and learn how to hunt a buffalo using an atlatl.
  5. Madden’s Resort
    • Distance: 141 miles, 2.5-hour drive
    • This resort juts out into beautiful Gull Lake. There are opportunities for golfing, a variety of water sports, or some time at the spa.
  6. The North Shore
    • Distance: 170 miles, 2.4-hour drive
    • So much to do here! Split Rock Lighthouse State Park, Dockside Fish Market, Russ Kendall’s Smokehouse, hiking through Gooseberry Falls, taking a ferry to the Apostle Islands, Northwoods Art Festivals, taking a tour of Duluth’s historic Glensheen mansion – the list is never ending!
  7. Nyberg Park
    • Distance: 170 miles, 2.45-hour drive
    • If you like big, weird sculptures like a giant elephant, a pair of pliers squashing a bug, aliens, and dancing flatware all made by one artist and located next to a gas station, then this place is for you.
  8. Wisconsin Dells
    • Distance: 213 miles, 3.15-hour drive
    • “Waterpark Capital of the World” – What more is there to say?! In addition to the numerous outdoor/indoor water parks, there’s mini-golf, go-carts, ziplines, horseback riding, and duck tours.
  9. Soudan Underground Mine State Park
    • Distance: 226 miles, 3.35-hour drive
    • This is one of the oldest iron ore mines in the state dating back to 1882. Located on the rocky South shore of Lake Vermillion, there’s a lot to take in and do such as incredible hiking trails, cultural tours, and underground mine tours (travel up to a half mile into earth!), and if you finish with this, nearby is the Fortune Bay Resort Casino.
  10. Heritage Hjemkomst Interpretive Center
    • Distance: 241 miles, 3.4-hour drive
    • Viking ships galore! There is even a viking ship that made the trek from Lake Superior to Norway (replica, but still amazing!). You can also see a full scale replica of Norway’s Hopperstad Stave Church. Once you’re finished with the museum, you can check out Junkyard Brewing Company with many varieties of craft beer.
  11. Boundary Waters Canoe Area
    • Distance: 246 miles, 4-hour drive
    • Just like the North Shore, there’s a lot to do here! Take a canoe trip, go camping, go fishing, go hiking. If you’re not into roughing it, there are many resorts to stay at that offer a variety of activities.
  12. Lutsen
    • Distance: 248 miles, 4-hour drive
    • Lutsen Mountains Resort is one the the largest and most northern ski resorts in the Midwest. If you’re into downhill skiing, this is your place. 1 of the most vertical drops, 4 mountains, and 95 runs. You can also cross country ski and if you’re visiting during the summer you can fish, golf, and enjoy the Alpine Slide.

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