By Cortney Mohnk
The world is full of destinations waiting to be explored. If you’re lucky enough to live in Minnesota, you have plenty of must-see sites just a car ride away. If you haven’t already visited these five spots, make sure to add them to your bucket list now. Every Minnesotan should experience them each at least once in their lifetime
Headwaters of the Mississippi River
Itasca State Park
36750 Main Park Drive
Park Rapids, MN 56470
The mouth of the mighty Mississippi begins with Lake Itasca. The lake sits within Minnesota’s oldest state park and is surrounded by 32,000 acres of nature. You can actually walk across the start of the river before it winds all the way to the Gulf of Mexico. Dipping your toes in the clear, cool water at the outset of a 2,552 mile journey is a must-do on the Minnesota bucket list.
7801 Audubon Road
Chanhassen, MN 55317
Prince, the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Famer and iconic Minnesotan, called Paisley Park his home for over 30-years. Much more than a house, this complex served as a place for production, recording, concerts, parties and more until Prince’s untimely passing. Located in a quiet Minneapolis suburb, Paisley Park now hosts regular tours; something that Prince himself is said to have always envisioned for his estate.
Mall of America
60 E. Broadway
Bloomington, MN 55425
Even if marathon shopping isn’t your style, you’ll still want to visit the Mall of America. This shopper’s paradise houses over 500 stores featuring everything from kitschy kiosk gadgets you didn’t know you needed to ultra luxe high-end retailers. But it also offers 50 restaurants and plenty of attractions. Try out the thrill-rides at Nickelodeon Universe, have your doll’s hair styled at the two-story American Girl store, or find out how crayons are made at the Crayola Experience. Adults will also have plenty of fun at the MoA’s comedy club, escape room and many bars.
Related: Best Places To Picnic In Minnesota
Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness
Superior National Forest
8901 Grand Ave.
Duluth, MN 55808
The BWCAW is more than a million acres of pristine beauty in the northeastern corner of Minnesota. There are many ways to explore this natural area. Hike the 2000 miles of trails or canoe the 1500 miles of routes. Bicyclists can try out the mountain paths, the paved bike tour trails or gravel roads. Fishing, hunting, picnicking, bird watching… no matter how you choose to enjoy the BWCAW, you’ll be surrounded by quiet nature and stunning beauty.
We’re known as the Land of 10,000 Lakes, and as a border state to one of the Great Lakes, Minnesotans should try their darndest to experience Lake Superior. Take it in with a drive along the North Shore Scenic Byway from Duluth to Grand Portage. If you want to get out on the water, try renting a boat, taking a sightseeing tour, enjoying a dinner cruise or hiring a captain for your own sailing adventure. Or experience the largest of the Great Lakes from an island vantage point with a trip to the Apostle Islands or Isle Royale.
Related: Best Water Parks In Minnesota