When it comes to planning your next vacation, discovering Minnesota might not be the initial destination that pops into your head. However, we strongly recommend considering it as a top contender. Not only is it home to the renowned Mall of America, but it also showcases an impressive collection of 10,000 lakes and countless hidden gems just waiting to be uncovered. In this blog, we will embark on a journey together to explore some lesser-known destinations in Minnesota that are guaranteed to captivate your heart and leave you with a newfound appreciation for this underestimated state.
1. Pipestone National Monument - Located in southwestern Minnesota, the Pipestone National Monument is a beautiful place with a rich history. The site is where Native Americans have been quarrying pipestone for centuries, and you can still see them working the quarries today. The monument also has a visitor center that showcases the history of the site, as well as a museum that features traditional Native American art and crafts. It's a place of great cultural significance and a must-visit for anyone seeking a deeper understanding of the state's Native American heritage.
2. Ely - Known as the gateway to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, Ely is a small town in northeastern Minnesota that's a paradise for adventure enthusiasts. The town is home to some of the best canoeing and kayaking routes, hiking trails, and fishing spots in the state. In fact, it's so abundant in lakes and forests that it has even earned the nickname 'The Canoe Capital of the World.' Aside from outdoor activities, Ely also has charming downtown areas with unique shops, restaurants, and coffee shops.
3.Situated alongside the Mississippi River, Winona is an enchanting small town that frequently goes unnoticed by tourists. However, don't let its size deceive you – this hidden gem is brimming with picturesque landscapes and cultural wonders. Renowned for its exquisite architecture, Winona showcases a plethora of historic buildings and charming houses adorning its streets. Moreover, it boasts the Minnesota Marine Art Museum, a treasure trove of remarkable marine artwork sourced globally. Nature enthusiasts will also find solace here, as they can embark on invigorating hikes in the nearby blufflands or venture to the Great River Bluffs State Park.
4. Grand Marais - Tucked away in the northeastern corner of Minnesota, Grand Marais is a small town that's perfect for those who love the outdoors. It's located on the shores of Lake Superior, which means you can enjoy a variety of water activities such as swimming, kayaking, and fishing. The town also has miles of hiking and biking trails that offer stunning views of the surrounding forests and lakes. After a long day of exploring, you can relax and unwind at one of the local breweries or coffee shops.
5. New Ulm - Located in the southern region of Minnesota, New Ulm is a town that proudly embraces its vibrant German heritage, earning it the well-deserved title of "The Most German Town in America." This picturesque destination is adorned with delightful half-timbered buildings, inviting beer gardens, and lively Oktoberfest festivities that effortlessly transport visitors to the heart of Germany. In addition to its cultural allure, New Ulm also boasts stunning parks, scenic hiking trails, and serene lakes, offering an array of outdoor activities for nature enthusiasts to indulge in.
Discovering Minnesota is truly a treasure trove of experiences, extending far beyond the famed Mall of America. Explore into the captivating Native American history at Pipestone National Monument or immerse yourself in the delightful small-town allure of Winona and Grand Marais. With its diverse offerings, the state caters to every taste and interest. So, when you're contemplating your next vacation destination, don't overlook the allure of Minnesota. Give it a chance and uncover the underrated hidden gems that await your discovery.