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Visit Minnesota's North Shore - Top Fun Things To Do In Minnesota

Top 5 Fun Things To Do In Minnesota (2023)

This North Star state of Minnesota is home to tons of fun activities you can indulge in, ranging from winter sports to mountain hiking to canoeing/kayaking and going on urban excursions. It won’t be wrong to call Minnesota the hidden gem of America. Known as the land of 10,000 lakes, the state of Minnesota is a paradise for nature and adventure lovers. The diverse landscape, remarkable ecosystems, abundance of wilderness, and hundreds of state parks and nature reserves have made this a major tourist attraction in the Midwest.

Top 5 Fun Things To Do In Minnesota

Here are the top 5 fun things to do in Minnesota.

1. Visit Minnesota’s North Shore

One of the top-most fun things to do while in Minnesota is to visit the scenic North Shore. The North Shore scenic drive refers to the beautiful shoreline coast of Northern Minnesota that takes you alone Lake Superior just ahead of Duluth.

The North Shore is made up of many beautiful small towns, including Two Harbors, Grand Marais, and Silver bay. There are many fabulous places to see and amazing things to do for people of all ages and interests. You can check out the stunning waterfalls on lake Superior, explore the many hiking trails and biking roads that take you through fragrant pine forests and savannas, and also check out the many historical and iconic sites and activities along the way, including:

  • Grand Portage State Park and Pigeon River Country State Forest
  • Apostle Islands National Lakeshore
  • Kayaking on Lake Superior
  • Canoeing on the St. Louis River Estuary
  • Padding around the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness

The North Shore is also home to some of the best state parks in Minnesota. There are many breathtaking waterfalls that line the way to wildlife habitats and campsites. If you visit during the fall, you will find the place coming alive in a magnificent riot of fall colors.

2. Rent a Canoe or Houseboat at the Voyageurs National Park

The Voyageurs National Park is one of the most famous national parks in the Midwest. It is also the only national park in Minnesota. If you want to experience the real outdoors and have a genuine adventure amidst the wetlands, serene lakes, and pine trees, this is the place to head to.

The park was named after the French-Canadian fur traders that used to frequent this area in the past. The park is primarily made up of rugged terrain, but it is mainly defined by water. The majority of the park is made from the confluence of four major lakes on the US-Canadian border.

Set against the backdrop of a stunning southern boreal forest, the park is spread over 218,000 acres. Established in 1975, the park welcomes 250,000 visitors every year, all of whom flock to the park to engage in the various outdoor activities available here. There are 282 camping sites that are perfect for RV, tent, or even houseboat camping, depending on your personal preference. You will find many anglers flocking to this park to fish for bluegill, largemouth bass, lake trout, and many other species of fish. You will find that nearly all of the lakes in the park are open for fishing. Some of the other activities you can enjoy while here include boating, hiking, canoeing, kayaking, and wildlife viewing. This is also an excellent spot for bird watching. There are over 50 miles of trails available that let you explore the park’s interior peninsula and backcountry.

In fact, one of the most popular and fun things to do at the Voyageurs National Park is to rent a houseboat. Since there are numerous waterways and an interconnecting network of lakes, renting a houseboat is the perfect way for you to cruise through this extensive network of lakes without having to travel by foot or rough it up by camping from one spot to the next.

It is possible to reach the visitor’s center of the park by car, but the Kabetogama Peninsula and the heart of this national park can only be accessed by boat, plane, or by crossing the frozen lake during the winter months. Many visitors often opt to stay at the city of International Falls to make it their launching point for exploring this national park.

There are several historical sites located here, including the Ellsworth Rock Gardens that are well worth exploring, along with the many trails and ecosystems that can be found throughout the park.

To make the most of your trip, it is best to spend a couple of nights at one of the campsites here, which can only be accessed through boat travel. There are also several public and private campgrounds located on the inland shores of the park that cater to car camping.

If you have a few extra days to spare, take the time to explore the many shorelines, smaller lakes, and inlets of the Voyageurs. This national park is also one of the best places to catch some of the most brilliant starscapes in the US, including the stunning full spectrum of the aurora borealis.

3. Exploring the Minneapolis Institute of Art

If you are an art lover, then the state of Minnesota is the perfect holiday destination for you as it is home to the famous Minneapolis Institute of Art, one of the largest museums in the country. Located in the heart of Minneapolis, the Minneapolis Institute of Art houses over 100,000 works of art and artifacts that showcase world history spanning nearly 5,000 years. The museum hosts many exhibits of contemporary art, visual art, masterpieces, and much more.

Some of the most famous featured exhibits of the museum include Envisioning Evil: The Nazi Drawings, American Documentary Photography, and the Sixties Psychedelia. All this and more has made the Minneapolis Institute of Art one of the greatest tourist attractions of Minnesota, and it is a must-visit for all visitors.

The biggest fun fact is that the museum is free for all, and you don’t need to make any advanced reservations even to visit.

During your visit, you can browse through tons of art exhibits or take part in one of the many fantastic museum programs that are held regularly, including children’s events, curatorial programs, and many others.

4. Visit to the Como Park Zoo and Conservatory

The Como Park Zoo & Conservatory is a popular family attraction in Minnesota. This is the perfect place to spend an entire day of fun for all ages. It is also budget-friendly as the entry is free, but donations are encouraged to help with the upkeep and functioning of the zoo.

The zoo is home to a variety of animals from all over the world, including monkeys and polar bears. One of the most popular animal interactions here is feeding the giraffes, and visitors of all ages can feed these gentle giants some Romaine lettuce right from their hands.

The zoo recently underwent an expansion of $20 million, during which a new Como Harbor exhibit was added. This is going to be a new home for otters, penguins, and two giant octopuses.

Apart from the zoo, there is a lot more to see in the park. While here, make sure you make a stop at the conservatory to check out a variety of heat-loving plants. A visit to this beautiful glass building will make you feel like you have stepped right into the tropics. The Sunken Garden is also another exhibit you must check out. This is a colorful area full of many beautiful and fragrant plants that continuously change throughout the seasons and is an excellent place for clicking pictures.

5. Shopping at the Mall of America

What can be more fun than shopping? And that too shopping at the largest mall of India. The Mall of America is another famous attraction in Minnesota. Located on the outskirts of St. Paul in the suburb of Bloomington, the mall opened its doors in 1992, and it is one of the biggest malls in the country even today. There are over 500 shops and dozens of restaurants, the mall is also home to theaters, hotel accommodation, and many other amusements for visitors.

It is estimated that over 400 events are happening at this mall every year, ranging from the Minnesota Viking fans’ celebrations to dance parties and musical events. There are many stay and shop packages also available that you can book with the nearby hotels in this area.

The mall is located just 15 minutes from downtown Minneapolis and over the years, it has earned a reputation of being of the best kids’ destinations in the state. In fact, children can easily spend the entire day at the full-scale theme park Nickelodeon Universe here or check out the ocean on your trip to the Sea Life Aquarium.

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