Minnesota — Things to Do
If you are the type who enjoys brisk winter weather, Minnesota dishes up snowy outdoor recreation like few other American states. If you can tolerate the cold, there is plenty of snow for cross-country skiing, snowmobiling, ice fishing, and snow-shoeing. The state has a number of protected wilderness areas where winter sports can be enjoyed in near total solitude.
Summers in Minnesota might be short, but all the nature provides pristine territory for boating, fishing, hiking, and biking. There is a lot of water in this state, including massive Lake Superior. In summer, golf is a popular activity on the lush rolling courses spread across Minnesota. The state’s towns and cities are fine for a cultural fix, but where Minnesota really shines is in its outdoor recreation.
The Boundary Waters Canoe Area is the largest boat park in America and a pilgrimage site for any water enthusiast. Straddling the border with Canada, the wilderness zone boasts 1,200 miles of canoe routes to explore within the one million acre park. Pick a company like Seagull Canoe Outfitters or Voyageur North Outfitters to guide you into a world of solitude and nature.
Minnesota’s golfing is another main reason people visit the state. There are hundreds of scenic courses to choose from, most open to the general public with very reasonable green fees. The state has created several Golf Trails conveniently linking a dozen or so top courses into a road trip. Trails like the Wild North and Brainerd Golf Trail are set on scenic byways to ensure getting there is just as much fun as the putting. These two routes have their own websites to help you plan a self-guided tour.
With at least 10,000 named lakes and a myriad of rivers, Minnesota is a fishing paradise. All that water ensures there is more than enough elbow room for everyone, whether you prefer fly fishing with Blue Heron Outfitters or searching for lake trout with a guide like Zup’s Fishing Resort. Lake Superior is another option for deep water charters through Duluth Charter Fishing.
The nippy winter weather doesn’t deter locals from getting outside. As the state that invented the snowmobile, it's no surprise that Minnesota is one of the premier destinations for snowmobiling adventures. There are 20,000 miles of groomed trails in nearly every corner of the state. Let a company like North Shore Snowmobiling or Rainy River Resort take you through the pristine backcountry.
Minnesota’s state parks are perfect for summer hiking and winter cross-country skiing or snow-shoeing. There are casual short trails for an easy outing or countless long paths like the 277-mile Superior Hiking Trail. The Chippewa and Superior national forests are laced with backcountry, while dozens of state parks are great for easier jaunts. Outfitters like Boundary Country Trekking can lead multiday treks as well as single day excursions.
Great biking is also a highlight of Minnesota with transformed old railroad tracks into cool dirt paths that run for miles between towns. A number of paved bike routes across the state allows for mountain biking on miles of single track in the parks. Winona’s Adventure Cycle & Ski is just one of many places to rent gear and find a guide.