Exploring Minnesota, the Land of 10,000 Lakes

Visit the Crème de la Crème of Minnesotta

Gorgeous Minnesota Views

Photo by Travel and Leisure

If you are planning a trip to the state of Minnesota, plan on seeing lakes. Known as the “Land of 10,000 Lakes” the state of Minnesota actually has over 11,800 lakes. The northeastern part of Minnesota, near Duluth, boarders Lake Superior, the largest of the Great Lakes. So, needless to say, if you are visiting good old Minnesota, lake sports are quite popular in the summer, such as water skiing, paddle boarding, or a day out on a boat. However, if you are visiting in the winter, or even early May in some northern parts of the state, ice fishing is a common and popular activity to pass the time.

If water-related activities aren’t of interest to you, you can spend the day, or even week, at the Mall of America. Known by Minnesotans as MOA, this is the largest mall in America, boasting arcades, an aquarium, fifty restaurants, 7 hotels, Nickelodeon Universe, and 520 stores prime for shopping. The mall is so large that you could spend the entire day there and still not cover everything. Some of the stores featured at MOA include Ann Taylor, Armani Exchange, Disney Store, Eddie Bauer, and the Lego Store store, to name a few. Many locals enjoy walking through Mall of America, especially in the winter, to stretch their legs. If you plan to shop, dine, cruise, or go to the aquarium, plan on spending the entire day at the mall.

Drive about five and a half hours north of the Twin Cities, you will find yourself in remote and rural areas like Crookston, which is in the northwestern corner of Minnesota. What is there to do so far north aside from going to Canada, which is about another two hours north of Crookston? In the winter, on a clear night you can see the northern lights.  

Palisade Head is found in Tettegouche State Park off of Lake Superior, and it's a popular attraction for bird lovers and geologist lovers. The views offered in this area are absolutely breathtaking and are a must-see during you time in Minnesota. The cliffs, pebble beaches, and landscape make for beautiful photo opportunities. If you plan on seeing Minnesota in the winter, you can go ice fishing on the lakes or do a polar plunge. In the northern parts of Minnesota, it isn’t uncommon for lakes to still be frozen and to have ice fishing contests in May! Many resorts offer lessons in these activities if you are just beginning, and it is well worth it. There are also a few indoor water parks if you want to swim in the winter, but not in a frozen lake. 

Another popular site to see in Minnesota is the St. Croix River Dalles. Here you can canoe, climb the cliffs, kayak through rapids, and see Taylors Falls waterfall. This area is also a popular geological destination with at least ten different exposed lava flows. From a geological stand point, St. Croix River Dalles proves that Minnesota was once an ocean state. There are nearby trails you can hike, bike, or horseback ride through.

Another water-related attraction in Minnesota is the Devil’s Kettle waterfall. The river that flows into the Devil’s Kettle is popular for anglers, camping, hiking, and picnicking. However, these lovely activities are not what make it so unique. Devil’s Kettle splits in half by a volcanic rock sitting in the middle of the river. Half of the water pours into a pool fifty feet below, the other half disappears. Many people have thrown logs, rocks, GPS tracking objects, and barrels down the Devil’s Kettle to find where the water comes out at, with no success. The water simply disappears into a pothole, and from there it disappears... 

Despite what one may think of a mid-western state, there is much to do and see in Minnesota. However, Minnesota is a pleasant surprise with many things to do throughout the year. Minnesota is more than just a flyover state; it's worth the visit!