Grad with an Epic Minnesota Road Trip

Celebrate Your Grad with an Epic Minnesota Road Trip

You made it! After years of hard work, you’re finally graduating. What better way to mark this milestone than by hitting the road for an unforgettable adventure around Minnesota?

When I graduated from High School, the first thing my sister and I did was hit the open road on an epic adventure. Two days after the graduation ceremony we went everywhere. It was the best way to unwind and have a little bit of that freedom we were looking for.

From stunning lakeside towns to jaw-dropping natural wonders, the North Star State offers a treasure trove of destinations perfect for an epic post-graduation road trip. Here are 10 must-visit spots near the Twin Cities, all within 350 miles.

Take a long road trip to a few of these places or do a quick day trip. You earned it!

These locations were handpicked for their unique blend of breathtaking scenery, rich history, and abundant opportunities for outdoor exploration – the perfect ingredients for creating lifelong memories with your favorite travel buddies.

DayTripper is reader-supported. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn a small commission. I never promote things I haven’t vetted myself.

The Ultimate Minnesota Grad Trip Destinations


Distance from Twin Cities: 155 miles

Perched on the shores of Lake Superior, Duluth is a quintessential Minnesota destination. Explore the iconic Aerial Lift Bridge, hike along the Superior Hiking Trail, or visit the Great Lakes Aquarium to marvel at the region’s diverse marine life.

You can also take a day trip up to Gooseberry Falls for some exploring.

Duluth Arial Lift Bridge
Courtesy of Visit Duluth

Tettegouche State Park

Distance from Twin Cities: 225 miles

Boasting towering cliffs, cascading waterfalls, and miles of pristine hiking trails, Tettegouche State Park is a true gem along the North Shore. Pitch a tent at the campground and spend a night under the starry skies.

They have hiking all over Lake Superior.

Palisades Head
Palisades Head

Grand Marais

Distance from Twin Cities: 265 miles

Getting to Grand Marais is our version of the Pacific Coast Highway. With small towns like Two Harbors and Silver Bay to explore.

This charming harbor town is a gateway to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. Stroll along the picturesque harbor, sample local cuisine, or embark on a kayaking trip near artist point.

There are great hiking trails to explore just a minute away from downtown. Plus tons of waterfalls at Cascade State Park just a few miles south. You are just a few miles from the Canadian boarder.

What do to in Grand Marais

Voyageurs National Park

Distance from Twin Cities: 295 miles

Leave the stress of finals behind in the untamed wilderness of Voyageurs National Park. Rent a houseboat and navigate the interconnected waterways. It’s also a great place to Kayak if you want to see a waterfall or two.

This is like being in the Boundary Waters, with the option to have boats nearby. Keep an eye out for the park’s wildlife, including bald eagles, moose, and black bears. Plus there are some great small towns along the road to visit.

Sunset at Voyagers National Park

Red Wing

Distance from Twin Cities: 60 miles

Nestled along the mighty Mississippi River Great River Road, Red Wing is a historic gem with a vibrant arts scene. This stretch of road is along a beautiful scenic byway.

Explore the iconic Barn Bluff, visit the Pottery Museum of Red Wing, or indulge in a locally sourced meal at one of the town’s farm-to-table restaurants. You have to stop in and see the Giant Boot!

Red Wing MN


Distance from Twin Cities: 135 miles

Often referred to as the “Bed and Breakfast Capital of Minnesota,” Lanesboro is a charming small town surrounded by picturesque bluffs and valleys.

Explore the Root River State Trail, a popular destination for hiking and biking, or attend one of the town’s famous outdoor theater performances. There is also a great scenic cave to explore.

Niagara Cave in Harmony MN

New Ulm

Distance from Twin Cities: 100 miles

Can’t do a trip to Europe, check out the next best thing in New Ulm Minnesota. The downtown was built by German immigrants.

Stroll through the charming downtown district, visit the Glockenspiel, or attend one of the town’s lively festivals celebrating its cultural roots.

Herman the German

Blue Mounds State Park

Distance from Twin Cities: 205 miles

Tucked away in the southwestern corner of Minnesota, Blue Mounds State Park is a hidden gem. Hike to the top of the park’s iconic quartzite cliffs for breathtaking panoramic views, or spend a lazy afternoon fishing in one of the park’s tranquil lakes.

Bring some rock climbing gear, or even take a guided tour through the bison enclosure. This park is amazing an amazing place to take a road trip to.

BlueMounds Sunset

Pipestone National Monument

Distance from Twin Cities: 215 miles

Discover the rich Native American history and culture at Pipestone National Monument. Learn about the sacred Pipestone quarries, explore the hiking trails, and attend one of the monument’s cultural demonstrations or events.

You could even take the trip a bit further and go to the Badlands, Mount Rushmore or the Rocky Mountains.

This National Monument is in the middle of nowhere. Plan to camp at the nearby Split Rock Creek State Park.

Pipestone National Monument.

Glacial Lakes State Trail

Distance from Twin Cities: 300 miles

Embark on an epic cycling adventure along the Glacial Lakes State Trail, a 22-mile paved trail winding through picturesque prairies, wetlands, and small towns.

Stop for a picnic lunch or visit one of the charming local cafés along the way.

Glacial Lakes State Park

There are so many great road trip ideas around the state. With scenic vistas all along the north shore.

No matter which destinations you choose, a Minnesota road trip is the perfect way to celebrate your graduation. So, pack your bags, crank up the tunes, and get ready for an unforgettable adventure!

Similar Posts