The great Minnesota road trip

Minnesota Road Trip Ideas | 28 Things That Open for Road Trip Season

Last updated on August 10th, 2018

Memorial Day marks the official start of summer for most Minnesotans. This is when school lets out, road construction comes out in force, and for me, it’s the start of the Minnesota Road Trip season. Ok, so I take trips in the spring, fall, and winter too. But Summer Road Trips in Minnesota is where it all started.

Memorial Day seems to be the magic day that a lot of things will open up. So just for you, here are 28 different things to make sure you get the most out of your summer vacation.

28 Minnesota Road Trip Ideas

    1. Skip the big cities zoos and check out the Pine Grove Zoo or Hemker Park Zoo’s .
    2. Let loose at one of the seasonal Amusement Parks. Big Kahuna Fun Park, Casey’ Amusement Park, Paul Bunyan Land, Pirates Cove, Wild Mountain, or Valley Fair.
    3. Have a need for speed? Get your fill at Brainerd International Raceway.
    4. See some original art at the Jeffers Petroglyphs located in Comfrey Minnesota.
    5. While you can see Split Rock Lighthouse any time during the year, you have to wait for summer to take a look inside.
    6. Head out to Oliver Kelley Farm for a look at a working farm from the 1860s.
    7. Visit the site of the Birch Coulee Battlefield. It was one of the hardest fought battles of the U.S – Dakota war of 1862.
    8. Explore the Dakota history center at Lower Sioux Agency. It tells the story of the Dakota before and after the war.
    9. Pick up a MN Wine Passport and visit some wineries. Get some friends together and go on one of the Minnesota Wine Trails. If wine isn’t up your alley? Try a brew at the Shell Brewing Company.
    10. When you’re out looking at the falls, check out the Minnehaha Depot. It was the first railroad line west of the Mississippi.
    11. The history of the railroad in Minnesota is everywhere. Check out its impact with the Moose Lake Depot.
    12. Step into a reconstructed fur post at the North West Company Fur Post.
    13. See one of Minnesota’ oldest buildings at Sibley Historic Site.
    14. Mille Lacs Indian Museum & Trading Posts is dedicated to telling the story of the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwa.
    15. Ever wonder where the first Dakota dictionary, grammar, and gospel were complete. Head out to Montevideo to the Lac Qui Parle Mission.
    16. Explore the remains of the Marine Mill.
    17. Take an elevator shaft ride into a simulated underground iron ore mine at Croft Mine Historical Park. The historic site of the 1924 collapse of the lake nearby that killed 41 men and is one of the deadliest accidents in the country.
    18. See how small sparks led to one of the biggest natural disasters in history at the Hinckley Fire Museum.
    19. Ever wondered why the Redwing Shoes are so popular? Find out why.
    20. With hundreds of muscle, antique and classic cars and trucks, you’re bound to find something at Elmer’s Auto and Toy Museum. Celebrate the legacy of the lakes at the Minnesota Maritime Museum. Complete with gardens to explore.
    21. Take in some art at the Prairie Moon Museum & Sculpture Garden.
    22. Check out one of the many historic houses that open up Memorial Day. Charles A Lindbergh Historic Site, Folsom House, Comstock House and the W.W. Mayo House.
    23. Visit one of the historic towns in Minnesota: Harkin Store, Fort Ridgley, Fort Snelling, and Historic Forestville.
    24. Discover the past, present, and future of the logging industry at the Forest History Center in Grand Rapids MN.
    25. Visit the author and illustrator home of ‘ of Cats’ and other works in New Ulm, the Wanda Gag House
    26. Find out how to hunt for gems at the Moose Lake Park Agate and Geological Center.
    27. Heading North? Gory’ Hi-Hat is the place to stop for some good old fashion greasy food.
    28. Get something sweet at Minnesota’s Largest Candy Store. Opening in June every year, check their website to confirm the exact date.

This is just to get you started off. There are tons more that haven’t made our list. If you are planning on staying overnight, make sure to check out Expedia for some of the best rates on hotel stays. Have any other summer traditions? Are there more Minnesota road trip destinations you take? Leave them in the comments.

If your are looking for more things to do in the Twin Cities, check out my other 28 Things to do Lists:

28 Things to do in Spring in Minnesota

28 Things to do in Winter in Minnesota

And Coming Soon:

28 Things to do in Autumn in Minnesota

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28 Road Trip Ideas in Minnesota to fill your summer with adventure.

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  • Reply Holly | Legally Crafty Blog May 24, 2017 at 12:08 pm

    Great ideas! I didn’t even know about that 1880s farm!

    • Reply Jenn May 24, 2017 at 3:34 pm

      Me neither, but the farm looks fun. I’m hoping I can make it this year.

  • Reply Alissa Schrank May 24, 2017 at 1:16 pm

    I love these ideas! I am writing some of them down for summer planning!

    • Reply Jenn May 24, 2017 at 3:33 pm

      Thanks. I hope you have a great summer!

  • Reply Casey the College Celiac May 24, 2017 at 1:41 pm

    I’m moving to Mankato, MN for grad school in July so I’m bookmarking this as part of my MN bucket list! Great round up!

    • Reply Jenn May 24, 2017 at 3:32 pm

      Thanks for bookmarking it. Have a fun summer!

  • Reply Sasha May 24, 2017 at 3:09 pm

    Thank you for all these ideas! I am pumped for the farm!!! And I strangle to be creative with things to do and we always end up doing the same thing over and over again. Can’t wait to check out some of these places.

    • Reply Jenn May 24, 2017 at 3:31 pm

      I fall into the same trap. Have a fun summer!

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