Scenic drives in Minnesota or Road trips in Minnesota offer a captivating way to immerse yourself in the state’s diverse natural beauty, from serene lakeshores to lush forests and rolling hills, creating a memorable backdrop for your journey. Additionally, these road trips in Minnesota provide access to charming small towns, historical sites, and outdoor activities, making them a delightful way to explore the culture and attractions of Minnesota.
In this article, let’s read some of the best overnight or day trip ideas in Minnesota, with some of the best scenic drives in Minnesota or beautiful day trips in Mn.
Scenic Drives In Minnesota – Road Trips In Minnesota
Minnesota offers beautiful scenic drives, many things to do, and scenic stopovers. Here’s a list of some of the best scenic drives in Minnesota, including total miles covered, starting and ending points, scenic stopovers, and suggestions for overnight stays.
North Shore Scenic Drive – Best Minnesota Road Trips
Total Miles: Approximately 154 miles
The North Shore Scenic Drive in Minnesota is a must-do for its breathtaking views of Lake Superior and numerous stopovers like Split Rock Lighthouse and Grand Marais, offering a perfect blend of natural beauty and cultural exploration. It’s a road trip that showcases Minnesota’s pristine wilderness and rich history, making it a truly memorable experience.
- Starting Point: Duluth, MN
- Ending Point: Grand Portage, MN
Overnight Stay: Lutsen Resort, Grand Superior Lodge
Great River Road
Total Miles: Approximately 575 miles in Minnesota
The Great River Road in Minnesota is worth exploring for its enchanting journey along the Mississippi River, offering picturesque vistas and access to charming riverfront towns with vibrant cultural experiences. This road trip in Minnesota combines natural beauty, historical richness, and local charm, providing a diverse and memorable adventure.
- Starting Point: Itasca State Park
- Ending Point: La Crescent, MN
Scenic Stopovers: Lake Bemidji State Park, Grand Rapids, Winona, National Eagle Center (Wabasha)
Overnight Stay: Arrowwood Lodge at Brainerd Lakes, Winona’s historic bed and breakfasts
Gunflint Trail – Day Trips In Mn
Total Miles: Approximately 63 miles
Gunflint Trail in Minnesota is one of the worth day trips in Mn for its tranquil wilderness and access to pristine lakes, offering outdoor enthusiasts a paradise for hiking, canoeing, and wildlife watching. With its remote beauty and serene surroundings, this scenic route provides a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
- Starting Point: Grand Marais, MN
- Ending Point: Gunflint Lake
Scenic Stopovers: Chik-Wauk Museum and Nature Center, Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness
Overnight Stay: Gunflint Lodge, Hungry Jack Lodge
Minnesota River Valley Scenic Byway
Total Miles: Approximately 287 miles
Minnesota River Valley Scenic Byway stands out as one of the best scenic drives in Minnesota due to its rich historical sites, picturesque river views, and the opportunity to explore the state’s diverse landscapes, from bluffs to prairies. This route offers a perfect blend of natural beauty and cultural heritage, making it a captivating journey for nature lovers and history enthusiasts.
- Starting Point: Belle Plaine, MN
- Ending Point: Ortonville, MN
Scenic Stopovers: Jeffers Petroglyphs Historic Site, Lac Qui Parle State Park, Upper Sioux Agency State Park
Overnight Stay: Hotels in Mankato or Marshall
Superior National Forest Scenic Byway
Total Miles: Approximately 54 miles
Superior National Forest Scenic Byway is a must-do road trip in Minnesota for its stunning wilderness vistas and access to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, providing a serene and adventurous journey for outdoor enthusiasts. This route offers a peaceful escape into the heart of the Northwoods, showcasing the state’s pristine natural beauty at its finest.
- Starting Point: Silver Bay, MN
- Ending Point: Aurora, MN
Scenic Stopovers: Palisade Head, Finland State Forest Campground, Giants Ridge Golf and Ski Resort
Overnight Stay: Lodges and cabins near Biwabik
Root River State Trail
Total Miles: Approximately 42 miles
Root River State Trail is one of the best road trips in Minnesota due to its charming small-town stopovers, peaceful river views, and excellent biking and outdoor recreation experience that caters to visitors of all ages and interests. It offers a delightful blend of scenic beauty and leisurely exploration, making it an ideal road trip for nature lovers and cyclists.
- Starting Point: Fountain, MN
- Ending Point: Houston, MN
Scenic Stopovers: Lanesboro, scenic bike trail along the Root River, Niagara Cave
Overnight Stay: Lanesboro bed and breakfasts.
Lake Vermilion Scenic Drive
Total Miles: Approximately 60 miles
The Lake Vermilion Scenic Drive is worth exploring for its serene lakeside views and access to unique attractions like Soudan Underground Mine and Fortune Bay Resort Casino, offering a diverse range of experiences and natural beauty in one picturesque journey. It’s a road trip that combines relaxation, recreation, and cultural exploration, making it an ideal way to enjoy the best of northern Minnesota.
- Starting Point: Tower, MN
- Ending Point: Tower, MN
Scenic Stopovers: Soudan Underground Mine State Park, Fortune Bay Resort Casino, Lake Vermilion-Soudan Underground Mine State Park
Overnight Stay: Fortune Bay Resort Casino, nearby resorts.
Great Lake Scenic Byway
Total Miles: Approximately 28 miles
The Great Lake Scenic Byway is among the best road trips in Minnesota for its breathtaking views of Lake Superior, iconic attractions like Split Rock Lighthouse, and the chance to explore charming towns, providing a perfect mix of natural beauty and cultural enrichment along the North Shore. It’s a journey that encapsulates the essence of Minnesota’s stunning coastline and offers an unforgettable adventure for travelers.
- Starting Point: Two Harbors, MN
- Ending Point: Silver Bay, MN
Scenic Stopovers: Betty’s Pies, Gooseberry Falls State Park, Split Rock Lighthouse
Overnight Stay: Two Harbors hotels and cabins
The Avenue of the Pines
Total Miles: Approximately 65 miles
The Avenue of the Pines is a must-do road trip in Minnesota for its serene forested landscapes, proximity to beautiful lakes like Leech Lake, and the opportunity to immerse in nature while exploring the tranquil heart of northern Minnesota. This route offers a peaceful escape into the wilderness, making it an ideal journey for those seeking a respite from city life.
- Starting Point: Brainerd, MN
- Ending Point: Walker, MN
Scenic Stopovers: Pillsbury State Forest, Leech Lake, Chippewa National Forest
Overnight Stay: Resorts and lodges along Leech Lake
Edge of the Wilderness Scenic Byway
Total Miles: Approximately 47 miles
The Edge of the Wilderness Scenic Byway is a beautiful road trip in Minnesota due to its peaceful and pristine wilderness, including charming towns like Marcell and Bigfork, creating a tranquil escape into the heart of the state’s natural beauty and culture. It’s a route that encapsulates the essence of northern Minnesota’s rugged beauty, offering a serene and captivating journey for nature enthusiasts and explorers.
- Starting Point: Grand Rapids, MN
- Ending Point: Effie, MN
Scenic Stopovers: Joyce Estate, Marcell, Bigfork, Scenic State Park
Overnight Stay: Cabins and campgrounds in Scenic State Park
Glacial Ridge Trail Scenic Byway
Total Miles: Approximately 220 miles
The Glacial Ridge Trail Scenic Byway is a must-do road trip in Minnesota. Its captivating views of glacial terrain, wetlands, and lakes offer nature enthusiasts a unique and diverse landscape. It’s a scenic drive that combines the beauty of prairies and wetlands, making it a fascinating journey for those interested in natural landscapes and outdoor adventures.
- Starting Point: Willmar, MN
- Ending Point: Fergus Falls, MN
Scenic Stopovers: Glacial Lakes State Park, Prairie Wetlands Learning Center, Fergus Falls Waterfall Park
Overnight Stay: Hotels in Willmar and Fergus Falls
Great River Ridge State Trail
Total Miles: Approximately 35 miles
The Great River Ridge State Trail is a unique road trip in Minnesota for its serene journey along the Mississippi River. It allows travelers to take in the tranquil river views and explore the area’s natural beauty, making it an ideal leisure and scenic route. This road trip offers a peaceful escape to nature, emphasizing the beauty and tranquility of the Mississippi River and its surroundings.
- Starting Point: Cass Lake, MN
- Ending Point: Lake Bemidji State Park
Scenic Stopovers: Mississippi River views, Lake Bemidji State Park
Overnight Stay: Campgrounds in Lake Bemidji State Park
Historic Bluff Country Scenic Byway
Total Miles: Approximately 88 miles
The Historic Bluff Country Scenic Byway is unique and a must-do road trip in Minnesota for its meandering routes through picturesque bluff country, featuring natural wonders like Mystery Cave and charming towns like Lanesboro, providing a blend of scenic beauty, outdoor exploration, and cultural experiences in one captivating journey. It’s a road trip that perfectly captures the essence of Minnesota’s bluff country, offering a diverse and unforgettable adventure.
- Starting Point: Lanesboro, MN
- Ending Point: La Crescent, MN
Scenic Stopovers: Forestville/Mystery Cave State Park, Houston Nature Center, Lark Toys
Overnight Stay: Lanesboro or La Crescent accommodations
Paul Bunyan Scenic Byway – Scenic Drives in Mn
Total Miles: Approximately 54 miles
The Paul Bunyan Scenic Byway is unique and a must-do road trip in Minnesota for its whimsical journey through Paul Bunyan’s mythical world, dotted with attractions like giant sculptures and beautiful lakes, offering a blend of folklore, outdoor activities and family-friendly fun in a single delightful route. It’s a road trip that brings the legend of Paul Bunyan to life while showcasing Minnesota’s scenic beauty and recreational opportunities, making it an enjoyable adventure for all ages.
- Starting Point: Brainerd, MN
- Ending Point: Pequot Lakes, MN
Scenic Stopovers: Pequot Lakes, Nisswa, Crosslake, Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area
Overnight Stay: Resorts and lodges in the Brainerd Lakes area
These scenic drives in Minnesota(Minnesota road trips) will take you through some of the most beautiful landscapes in Minnesota, from forests and lakes to historical sites and charming small towns. So plan your day trips in Minnesota soon and enjoy the journey and the many attractions!
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