Suppose you adore the stunning outdoors and are looking for a budget-friendly vacation that’s a little bit different. That’s what Minnesota can offer with its beautiful places for tourists worldwide.
The Land of 10,000 Lakes has so much more to offer than just water. There are plenty of hidden gems throughout this state, and with the help of this blog post, you’re about to discover some of the best places to visit in Minnesota.
Whether you’re into exploring nature or checking out historical landmarks and buildings, we’ve got something for everyone. So, check out the top 20 most beautiful places to visit in Minnesota and tips on how you can make your visits more enjoyable.
1. Gooseberry Falls
We are starting our list with Gooseberry Falls. This place is a photographer’s dream come true with cascading waterfalls and many trails. Furthermore, you’ll find plenty of wildlife here, as it’s a popular place for watching beautiful birds and butterflies.
It will be a treat if you’re visiting Gooseberry Falls around the fall season, as it’s one of the stunning places to see fall foliage in the state. As a bonus, you can even explore the nearby Iron Ore Mine, which was once one of the largest in the world. Gooseberry Falls is open year-round, so no matter when you visit, you’ll indeed have an exciting time.
This famous city is located on the shores of Lake Superior and is home to some of the most breathtaking views of water and sky you’ll ever see.
You can also head towards the beautiful nearby places like Canal Park and the famous Aerial Lift Bridge. During the summer season, you can even go for a boat tour on Lake Superior, where you’ll see breathtaking sunsets ever. And if you visit during the winter season, you’ll have the chance to see one of the best Northern Lights views.
3. Canon Falls
This is where the Root River meets the Mississippi River and creates a natural border between Wisconsin and Minnesota. The falls are about 837 feet high and are at their most beautiful during the spring and autumn seasons.
You can even stand behind the running falls when the water flows and take some fantastic photos. Moreover, you can take a small hike from the parking lot and explore the ravine behind the falls. This is a great way to take in the beauty of the surrounding area, and you can see some wildlife like birds, squirrels, and rabbits.
4. Gunflint Trail
This scenic stretch of road runs through the heart of the Superior National Forest and offers breathtaking land and water views.
You can drive the entire trail in around 2 hours, and the best time to visit is between late July and early October, when the fall foliage is at its finest.
If you’re driving along the trail, you’ll also see some of the area’s historical sites along the way, such as the Fertile Fur Trading Posts and the Sawtooth Trail. This is the place to be if you’re looking for great photo opportunities.
5. The Minnesota Landscape Arboretum
The next tourist spot on our list of the most beautiful places to visit in Minnesota is the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. This place is home to more than 5,000 plant species, with about 1,000 considered rare or endangered.
You can explore the entire arboretum on foot or by car, and it’s definitely one of the most eye-catchy places in the state. The gardens here change with the seasons, so you can visit again and again and see something new every time.
The Arboretum is open year-round, so you can visit whenever you want, even during the frosty winter months.
6. Jay Cooke State Park
This state park offers visitors many different outdoor activities, including canoeing, kayaking, fishing, hiking, and even biking. If you’re visiting in the autumn season, you can even take in the beautiful foliage surrounding you, making this an ideal spot for photographers.
The park also houses several interesting historical buildings, including the old Guthrie Homestead and the Log Cabin Interpretive Center. So, if you’re interested in the area’s history, this would be a great place to visit.
7. The Temperance River
This river is Minnesota’s longest river, and it’s a beautiful way to get introduced to the state’s natural beauty. The Temperance is located in the northwestern part of the state, close to the border with Canada, and it’s possible to paddle the entire length of the river in about a week.
If you want to see the most impressive river, head there in late spring and early summer. This is when the water levels are high, and the water is flowing at its fastest. You’ll also find plenty of places to stop and explore, including a towering waterfall, one of the most scenic waterfalls in the state.
8. Forestville/Mystery Cave State Park
Forestville is a beautiful place to explore some of the natural beauty of Minnesota, as well as a little bit of its past.
The main attraction at this park is Mystery Cave, which was discovered in 1937. The cave is believed to have been used by Native Americans thousands of years ago.
It is the most beautiful and longest cave in Minnesota and covers around 13-mile underground passage. Today, it’s open to the public, and you can explore it on your own or take a guided tour. There are also several hiking trails at the park, including a path that takes you to the top of a waterfall.
9. Split Rock Lighthouse
Every list of beautiful places in Minnesota has to include a lighthouse, and the best one to visit is the popular Split Rock Lighthouse near Lake Superior.
This architectural marvel sits on a 16-foot-high sandstone bluff and has been standing there since the late 1800s. While the lighthouse is worth a visit, there’s also a great hiking trail nearby that leads to the Lake Superior shoreline.
There, you’ll find a beautifully preserved historical landmark and fantastic views of the area. The lighthouse is located on Lake Superior’s southern shore, and there are plenty of great places to explore nearby.
So, if you’re interested in a walk, or even a light jog, this is a great option. Visiting during the summer season, you can even take a tour on a boat that’s docked nearby. So even if you have trouble climbing the steps to the lighthouse, you’ll have a nearby alternative that’s just as good.
You can visit Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, and nearby, you’ll get some stunning views of the Great Lakes.
10. Great River Bluffs State Park
Great River Bluffs state park is situated in the southern part of Minnesota, and it’s a beautiful place to visit if you want to explore some of the state’s natural beauty.
The park has many trails for hikers and walkers and a boardwalk that runs through some of the park’s stunning bluffs.
These beautiful rock formations are the park’s main attraction, and they’re well worth exploring. The park is also close to the Mississippi River, and you can get magnificent views of this famous river as you walk through the park.
11. Minnehaha Falls
If you’re a fan of nature, there are few things more beautiful than a cascading waterfall.
One of the most famous waterfalls in Minnesota is Minnehaha Falls, which is located in Minneapolis. This is one of the area’s most popular tourist attractions, and it’s a must-see for visitors to the city.
The falls are about 53 feet high and beautiful any time of the year, but they’re especially spectacular when frozen over in winter.
12. St. Paul’s Cathedral
St. Paul’s Cathedral is a must-see if you’re interested in history and architecture. This beautiful building is the oldest cathedral west of the Mississippi River and the second-oldest church in Minnesota.
It was constructed in 1906 and is now famous as a National Historic Landmark and a National Historic Site. The cathedral is open to visitors weekly, and guided tours are available every hour on Sundays.
13. Mississippi River
Flowing through 32 states, including Minnesota, the Mississippi River is North America’s most significant river. This river is about 3.2 million square kilometers in area, and it’s the second longest river in North America.
It passes through many different landscapes, from the Rocky Mountains to the Appalachian Mountains. The Mississippi River is also home to many other wildlife species, including American alligators, crocodiles, and the Mississippi sandbar shark.
There are innumerable places to visit along the Mississippi River, but one of the best places to start is the Twin Cities. The area has a rich history and is also home to some of Minnesota’s most beautiful spots, including Great River Bluffs State Park and the Harriet Island Regional Park.
You can also visit the famous Stone Arch Bridge, the oldest bridge in the state.
14. Stone Arch Bridge
It’s a great miss if you go to the twin cities and don’t visit the stone arch bridge. It spans 2,100 feet across the Mississippi river and gives excellent sight to visitors.
The history of the stone arch bridge is significant, and that’s why you can find many guiding services there.
For instance, you can go along with segwaying tours. They guarantee a unique perspective and experience for any tourist interested in the St. Anthony Main area and Stone Arch Bridge. So, if you are interested in visiting, it’s much friendlier and more enjoyable with them.
15. The Munsinger Clemens Gardens
Immerse yourself in a genuinely unique floral experience. Awaken your senses. Take pleasure in the natural beauty. The Munsinger and Clemens Gardens are a dazzling St. Cloud jewel that can be found along the Mississippi River directly across from St. Cloud State University. These gardens enable visitors to explore the winding paths and brick pathways while experiencing this St. Cloud treasure. It is even more attractive for people who love classical sights, so, if you are one of them, this place would be a wonderful attraction for you!
The 14-acre Munsinger Gardens features winding flower-bordered walkways among tall trees in an informal setting. Like the river next to it, the grass flows between the organic shapes of island beds.
Six formal gardens make up the Clemens Gardens, located on a sunny hill above Munsinger. However, the usage of plant material is distinctly American. Fountains and ironwork add to the beauty of each. Both Gardens are a sight to see from late April through the autumn.
16. Lake Superior
By surface area, Lake Superior is ranked as the largest freshwater lake in the world, so it’s no wonder that it’s often referred to as the ‘inland sea.’ The lake’s size is truly remarkable, and there are plenty of places to visit along its shoreline.
Lake Superior has many different activities, including bird watching, kayaking, hiking, and exploring the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum in Duluth.
Also, you can explore scenic views by visiting one of the many places to see along the lake, including the Bayfield Peninsula, the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, and Agate Beach.
Lake Superior also has a fascinating history, and one of the best places to explore this is the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum. You can learn more about the different shipwrecks that have occurred along the lake’s shoreline, and you can also explore the museum’s underwater shipwreck exhibitions.
17. Silver Bay
If you’re in Minnesota and looking for some great outdoors, Silver Bay is one of the best places to visit in Minnesota. This stunning area is situated on the North Shore of Lake Superior and is home to perfect hiking trails in the state. You can explore the Dunes and Bluffs Nature Trails at Silver Bay, which provide stunning views of Lake Superior and the surrounding landscape.
You can also visit the Superior Hiking Trail, which runs from the Canadian border all the way down to the Mississippi River. You can also find many other outdoor activities at Silver Bay, including bird watching, kayaking, and fishing.
Silver Bay is also a great place to visit if you’re interested in history. There are several historical landmarks to explore, including the Silver Bay Visitor Center and the Silver Bay State Park. And in the winter season, you can also participate in some winter activities, including snowshoeing and cross-country skiing.
18. Itasca State Park
If you’re looking for fantastic views, a trip to Itasca State Park is a must. This beautiful park is home to the headwaters of the Mississippi River, so you can expect to find plenty of stunning views.
There are various hiking trails to explore at Itasca, including the Hemlock Trail and the Mississippi River Trail, so that you can find the perfect path for you and your group.
You can also walk along the Mississippi River and check out the Mississippi Headwaters Sign. And if you’re on tour with children, you can find some fun activities at Kids’ Discovery Center.
There are various places to stay near Itasca State Park, including Hotels and Bed and Breakfasts. And if you’re planning to visit in the winter, don’t worry. There are plenty of activities to enjoy, including cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. The Itasca State Park Museum, open 365 days a year, has exhibits on the park’s history.
19. Red Wing
If you are a tourist, you love to visit history, architecture, and old-fashioned places, and you’ll love a trip to the Red Wing.
The town is famous for its many unique buildings and architectural landmarks, including the bay front district and the Minnesota River Bluffs.
You can explore the bayfront district by walking along the Mississippi River Front Trail, which passes by the city’s best attractions. You can also visit the Red Wing Heritage Center, home to various historical buildings, including the Winer Building and the Gendron Farmhouse.
Red Wing is also a suitable place to enjoy the outdoors. There are many hiking trails to explore nearby, including the Mississippi River Trail and the Minnesota River Bluffs Trail. And if you’re traveling with family, there are some fun activities to enjoy at the Riverfront Carousel and the Red Wing Park Zoo.
20. Voyageurs National Park
If you’re a true nature lover, you should take a trip to Voyageurs National Park. This stunning park is located on the Minnesota and Ontario border and is home to various wildlife, including black bears, moose, and ospreys.
The park is named after the Voyageurs, French Canadian fur traders who traveled through Minnesota’s northern region in the 1800s.
If you visit the park, you’ll get a chance to learn about these traders and how they lived and traveled in the region. You can do this by taking the park’s Voyageur Discovery Trail, a hiking trail that runs through the park.
You can explore the park by walking along one of the many trails, including the Boundary Trail. Many other activities at Voyageurs National Park are always on the go, such as canoeing, fishing, and kayaking.
If you’re planning a trip to Voyageurs National Park, it’s best to go during the spring, summer, or fall. The park becomes inaccessible during the winter, so you’ll have to wait until spring to explore it again.
And if you want to learn more about the park’s history, you can visit the Voyageurs National Park Museum, which is open throughout the year.
This Great Lakes State is surprisingly affordable, and its stunning natural beauty is a great way to unwind during a break from a long year of work. From exploring the state’s many forests and lakes to its many historical landmarks, there’s something for everyone in Minnesota.
There’s something for everyone with numerous beautiful things to see and do. So, if you’re looking for a new adventure, add one of these places to your travel bucket list. You won’t regret it.