Heading to Minnesota for your next trip? From wandering the streets of Minneapolis to swimming in the pools at Gooseberry Falls, here are some of the most beautiful places to visit in Minnesota

I’ll forgive you if you don’t know much about Minnesota – I didn’t before I visited there recently.

Bordering Canada and located slap bang in the middle of the States, Minnesota is known as ‘the land of 10,000 lakes’.

In reality, there’s 11,842 lakes, but that doesn’t quite roll off the tongue. Either way, there are a lot of lakes and islands here.

It didn’t matter where I looked, all I could see was green forests and bright blue water. In fact, it looked more like Finland than the States, which is why they also call the area Finlandia. You’re starting to get the picture now, aren’t you?

One of the things I loved about Minnesota is it has something for everyone.

With so many nature reserves with lakes and waterfalls, the hiking up here is as good as anywhere in the States.

Then there’s the modern metropolises of Minneapolis and St Paul, two cities that have the same buzz of Chicago just a quarter of the size.

So, depending on whether you’re looking at getting away from it all or immerse yourself in the cityscape, here are some of the best places to visit in Minnesota.

First up, we’re going to some of the most beautiful waterfalls I’ve ever seen!

Gooseberry Falls

gooseberry falls minnesota
Gooseberry Falls, Minnesota

Gooseberry Falls really took my breath away – I did not expect to see waterfalls like this in Minnesota.

Located on the North Shore of Lake Superior, Gooseberry Falls is a state park with 18 miles of hiking trails around the area.

However, the main attraction here are the falls themselves. Split over four different levels, they are just spectacular.

I’d really recommend heading up to the upper falls first. There are some nice hiking trails here and you can get a lovely photo of the waterfalls.

Once you’re done at the upper falls, make your way down to the lower falls. Doing it in that order should really build up the anticipation.

One of the reasons why lower falls is more popular is because this where you can go swimming. Just perfect on a hot day, especially if you’ve already been hiking.

Gooseberry Falls is definitely one of my favourite places to visit in Minnesota. The drone shots from my video say it all really!

Split Rock Lighthouse

split rock lighthouse minnesota
Split Rock Lighthouse, Minnesota

Only a 10 minute drive from Gooseberry Falls is Split Rock Lighthouse.

Now this lighthouse looks like any other lighthouse, a guide for boats and ships out on the ocean. The only thing is this is Lake Superior, the largest freshwater lake in the world.

When I was standing on the rock beach looking up at the lighthouse I couldn’t get my head around that fact. It really does feel like you’re standing by the shore of an ocean.

Split Rock Lighthouse was built in 1905 after a storm ravaged hit the area and 29 ships were lost on Lake Superior.

Today, there is a museum and information centre where you can learn all about the lighthouse. Tickets cost $10.

Duluth

duluth minnesota
Duluth, Minnesota

Duluth is one of the main towns in northern Minnesota and it is a bit of an industrial town with a difference – it is actually pretty beautiful.

With a population of just 90,000 people, Duluth has that small town vibe where you can walk everywhere (quite rare for the States!). However, despite the small size it is one of the busiest ports in the country making it an amazing place to see Lake Superior in action.

One of the things I really enjoyed in Duluth was heading down to the shores of Lake Superior to watch all the boats and ships come in at sunset. Such a lovely spot to watch the world go by.

Also, if you’re an adrenaline junkie there are some incredible downhill-mountain biking trails in the area too.

Canon Falls

cannon falls minnesota
Cannon Falls, Minnesota

Let’s go tubing!

There’s a reason why everyone visits Canon Falls in the summer – tubing and kayaking on the river.

I absolutely love kayaking wherever I am in the world but it was so peaceful and relaxing at Canon Falls.

If anything, the tubing looked more fun though. Big groups of people were floating down the river in inner tubes. Some had beers, some had music, all were having the time of their lives.

This was definitely one of my highlights while travelling around Minnesota.

Red Wing

red wing minnesota
Red Wing, Minnesota

If you know of Red Wing shoes then you’ll have heard of Red Wing before.

Located in southern Minnesota and right on the border with Wisconsin, Red Wing is without a doubt one of the most beautiful places to visit in Minnesota.

Red Wing is surrounded by loads of little islands and it’s this area that’s known as Findlandia in Minnesota. Again, check out the drone shots to see what I mean.

Having one of the best water sources in the Mississippi River, there used to be six different breweries in Red Wing. However, they call closed down by the 1960s.

Keeping the tradition of producing beer alive, Red Wing Brewery open its door just a couple of years ago. Today is it one of the most popular spots in town and well worth visiting.

Also, if you’re looking for one of the best views in town then head up to Memorial Park. From there you’ll be able to see all of Red Wing and into Wisconsin.

Minneapolis

Minneapolis Sculpture Garden
Minneapolis Sculpture Garden

No trip to Minnesota would be complete without visiting Minneapolis.

I have to admit I really liked Minneapolis. It had all the hallmarks of all great American cities, just shrunk down.

Like all of Minnesota, you’re not far from water in Minneapolis with the Mississippi River running through the heart of it.

As I often do, I like to get to know a city through its food, so while I was in Minneapolis I went on a food tour learning all about the city while stuffing my face with delicious food.

One of the places I was most keen on visiting in Minneapolis was the Sculpture Garden. I love modern art like this and the sculpture of a cherry balancing on a spoon has become one of the iconic images of the city.

And if you’re looking for the perfect place to stay at the end of your trip, the Hewing Hotel gets my seal of approval. This is a cracking hipster hotel, but the views of Minneapolis at sunset from the rooftop bar are worth it alone.

minneapolis skyline
Minneapolis Skyline

So those are some of the most beautiful places to visit in Minnesota – hit up a few of these on your trip and you’ll be sure to have a great time!

This post was in association with Explore Minnesota and Visit the USA promoting some of the best places to visit in Minnesota. As always, views are entirely my own and without bias.

Are you planning a trip to Minnesota? If so, where are some of the places you’d like to visit? Let me know in the comments below!

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Maja

As a Minnesotan, I have to say this post is absolutely spot on! There are so many beautiful places around the state – if you get a chance on another trip, try to get up to the Boundary Waters! Love your photos as well 🙂