“Summer in Minnesota is the perfect season to get out, get away and make time for relaxation and recreation with family and friends,” says Alyssa Ebel of Explore Minnesota Tourism. “Only in Minnesota can you find these fun, unique and affordable destinations to explore and experiences to be had.” Here are five of Alyssa’s recommendations for the best attractions in 2014.
Minnesota State Fair
1265 Snelling Ave. N.
St. Paul, MN 55108
Dates: Aug. 21 – Sept. 1, 2014
Minnesota hosts the largest 12-day event in North America, with nearly 1.8 million people in attendance. Enjoy acres of amusements every day followed by big name concerts every night. Take in technical, business, social, political, educational and governmental exhibits across the park. This event, as old as the state of Minnesota, got its start by promoting and encouraging agriculture. This important component of the fair continues today, making for fascinating exhibits and competitions that attract thousands of participants from all corners of the state and a hundred-fold more of interested observers.
Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness
Superior National Forest
8901 Grand Ave. Place
Duluth, MN 55808
Minnesota contains the nation’s largest wilderness area where outdoor adventurers explore over 1,500 miles of canoe routes and portage across 1,000 lakes, rivers and streams. The total area is nearly 1.2 million acres in size. Immediately adjacent is another million acres of Canada’s Quetico Provincial Park, sharing an international border of nearly 150 miles.
Voyageurs National Park
360 Highway 11 E.
International Falls, MN 56649
Voyageurs is the largest fresh water-based national park in U.S. This park of 218,000 acres also shares a border with the Boundary Waters. This park is referred to as the “Water Highway of the North Woods.” Is widely used for fishing, camping, boating and even houseboat destinations.
Soo Pass Ranch
25526 County Highway 22
Detroit Lakes, MN 56501
Dates: Aug. 7-9, 2014
What started in a barn in August of 1983 is now a natural amphitheater that could fit 50,000 people and 10 separate grounds with running water and toilets for 35,000 campers. Alabama was the first group to entertain at WE Fest. Now the destination event features a star-studded lineup every year. This year is no exception with 2011 CMA Album of the Year winner Jason Aldean and CMA 2008 Male Vocalist of the Year and 2010 CMA Entertainer of the Year Brad Paisley. Another couple dozen great groups perform on the Barn Stage and Main Stage over five days, finishing with multiple winner CMA, CMT, ACM and 2012 Grammy Best Country Album, Zak Brown Band.
T-Mobile All-Star FanFest
The Minneapolis Convention Center
1301 S. Second Ave.
Minneapolis, MN 55403
Dates: July 11-15
The Minnesota Twins are hosting the MLB All-Star Game this year. While tickets for Target Field events and the game on Tuesday, July 15 are already sold out, there will be a week-long parade of other events leading up to the annual pageant throughout the Twin Cities. One of the events, FanFest, at Minneapolis Convention Center, looks to be a dynamite deal for a once-in-a-lifetime experience. There are more than 40 attractions under one roof. Check the schedule for daily autograph sessions and player appearances and be sure to bring your camera. Practice your baseball skills during clinics hosted by MLB legends and current players. Take a swing in the batting cages. View a collection of MLB trophies, explore exhibits from the National Baseball Hall of Fame and more.
Robin Johnson was born in Annandale, Minn. and graduated from Richfield High School and then the University of Minnesota where he studied Political Science, Business and Industrial Relations. A writer for Examiner.com, he also consults with a variety of organizations and individuals helping them develop and grow. His work can be found at Examiner.com.