The Best Minnesota Travel Experience of 2016!2016 has been a year full of adventures for many. This year, Day Tripper has gotten together with some other Bloggers to share what our favorite Minnesota trips were. I hope it will give you some ideas for next year!
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This summer, the adventure dogs and I traveled to Minnesota’s North Shore for a scenic road trip. River was just a puppy, but she loved splashing in the waters of Lake Superior and meeting friendly people at the many beautiful road stops. We went from Duluth to Grand Marais and spent the night in a cozy hotel right by the shore.
It was such a peaceful, visually stunning trip. Even though we spent a lot of time driving, it still felt like reconnecting with nature and drinking in the vistas.
What made this trip special, aside from crossing something off my bucket list, was stopping at Temperance River State Park and seeing where the river meets Lake Superior.
There was something soulful about that place, and I spent almost an hour sitting on the rock and thinking deep thoughts. It struck something inside me, and I felt so much peace and strength just by being there in the moment.
If you ask any Minnesotan about one of the few places you have to visit and the Como Zoo and Conservatory is always in the top five. It’s a great place to meander and see some beautiful animals and plants. And it’s free.This place is awesome to see in all seasons. The conservatory changes the Sunken Garden every season to fit a theme and is a great place to get some warmth and nature in the dead of winter. Believe me, I’ve needed that in February. There are lots of landscapes to explore and picknick, a merry-go-round (which does cost), a small amusement park ($$), and even a butterfly enclosure. But the zoo and conservatory are my favorite parts. The rest is just bonus. There are events every month. From a New Years balloon drop (two times, one earlier for children), the Japanese Lantern Festival, and so much more. Each event and area made for enjoyment and education.I’ve been going since I was little and I keep finding new things to enjoy every time. And if you don’t like crowds you can always brave the winter months. One time I had the polar bear enclosure to myself for an hour. And that’s when they are most active (same as the wolves). I honestly couldn’t put on here all the things you can do there. It is a destination for the Twin Cities and the state that shows that we are a people who love our green spaces.
North woods…..This year my Husband Wayne and I decided to take a short 5 day trip in the middle of the week this past Summer on our Goldwing Motorcycle.Our thought was to go up north without a real plan and no hotel reservations. We soon learned that Minnesota is popular throughout the state no matter what the day of the week it was.Gone are the days when we brought our 3 kids camping and could drive in and park anywhere you wanted to. So lesson learned…make hotel or camping reservations before you leave!Our First stop was a few days in Grand Marais, we stayed right on the shoreline of the Lake Superior, beautiful views!We also made some stops along the way up there to our favorite campgrounds where we once brought the kids. Visiting State parks such as Gooseberry Falls, Cascade, and Temperance. We love the waterfalls!After leaving Grand Marais, we headed west. We also planned to stop in Ely, but our ability to find a hotel pushed us further west, so we never got a chance to visit the famous town where Will Steger legacy lives.We did find a hotel just outside of Hibbing. As were leaving Hibbing, we stopped by the Iron Range and looked at the huge equipment used to haul and mine the iron. Always hear about Hibbing and the Iron Range, now I can say I’ve been there!Our last stop was Itasca State Park. This park has changed so much since we brought the kids to so many years ago. It has gotten bigger and better for the tourists.Lots of buildings and easy access for the handicap. There was even a line of people waiting to walk across the Mississippi River!The most interesting thing we saw while walking to cross the river was 2 girls in canoes leaving Itasca State park for a long journey down the river to reach New Orleans. What an exciting adventure for them!These girls are building new memories of their time together while my husband and I are reliving ours.
My favorite trip this year had to be trying to finding Shadow Falls in St. Paul. The falls themselves were beautiful, but the adventure to try and find it was a whole other story.There is no documentation or trail marker leading you to it. People online just tell you the park to go to. I set off with my husband and 2 small kids to find it.As we ventured through the park we found the stream and played leapfrog across it trying to avoid mud. Traveling with a 2-year-old made this incredibly difficult.But when we found it we were amazed. It was something you would expect to see in Hawaii falling off the mountain. But it was hidden right in the Capital of Minnesota.By the time we got back to the car we were covered in mud. But we had so much fun trying to find it.
I hope these Minnesota Travel destinations gave you a little inspiration for your next adventure. While I haven’t scheduled out my 2017 yet, my idea book is filled. I am planning on going to a few places on the http://checkpointmn.com/ list. All I know is that it’s going to be another great year and I hope to see a few new things along the way.~ Jenn Singer
Minnesota native and Midwest travel expert Jennifer provides insider tips and budget-friendly trip ideas for families looking to explore the Land of 10,000 Lakes. Through her travel blog DayTripper28, she draws on first-hand experience to recommend the best hidden gems, outdoor adventures, road trips, and weekend getaways around Minnesota and the Midwest. With her passion for uncovering local flavors and culture along the backroads, Jennifer shares affordable itineraries for creating memorable experiences across the region.