By Amy C. Rea

There are plenty of party spots around the state for New Year’s Eve, especially in the Twin Cities, but if you’re looking for someplace romantic and away from the hustle and bustle, here are some alternatives well worth a look.

(credit: Amy Rea)

Hours: 8 a.m.-5 p.m. daily (closed New Year’s Day)
Price: $3

This beautiful and historic small town on the southwest border of Minnesota will give you wide open skies, starkly beautiful (and likely snowy) landscapes, and a downtown that has nearly 30 buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places, architecturally fascinating and constructed from beautiful red stone.

What to do on a New Year’s Eve visit? For starters, explore the breathtaking Pipestone National Monument. A revered spot for Native Americans, it’s also a strikingly beautiful natural area. The Monument is open year-round (closed on New Year’s Day, though, so be sure to go on the 31st!).

Up the romance factor by staying at the Historic Calumet Inn.

(credit: Amy Rea)

At its current site, the Calumet opened in 1888 (an earlier incarnation a block away burned down in 1886). Built from the Sioux Quartzite native to the area, the Calumet is one of the many historic buildings in the town’s center, and its rooms are charming and often decorated with period pieces.

(credit: Amy Rea)

Speaking of beautiful and historic lodgings, you can’t go wrong with booking a trip to Lanesboro in southeast Minnesota. Lanesboro’s tagline is “The Bed & Breakfast Capital of Minnesota”, and there’s no shortage of small, elegant boutique inns to visit. Lanesboro itself is another beautiful little town, full of historic buildings.

If you like to cross-country ski, you’re all set—the Root River Trail runs through Lanesboro, and all 42 miles of it are open for skiing in winter.

(credit: Amy Rea)

This historic mining north of Duluth gives you easy access to a larger city and its amenities, while still providing the peacefulness of a getaway. And what better way to get away from it all than to overnight in a lighthouse?

Not only would you have access to Duluth, you could also travel just an hour north to reach Lutsen, home to some of Minnesota’s finest skiing runs. Take a look at our Guide to Skiing and Snowboarding.

(credit: Amy Rea)

Want a getaway without really having to get very far away? Permanently moored at St. Paul’s Harriet Island is the Covington Inn Bed and Breakfast.

The Covington Inn was originally a tugboat that entered service in 1946 and worked for 30 years. After languishing for 20 years in dry-dock, she was completely refurbished and brought to her final home on the Mississippi, where it offers four cozy accommodations. From the boat, you can enjoy the view of St. Paul’s skyline right across the river—and even join in the more boisterous celebrations on that side.

You can also check out more of our best of great travel getaways here.

Amy C. Rea lives with her family in the Twin Cities. She’s the author of Backroads & Byways of Minnesota and Minnesota, Land of 10,000 Lakes: an Explorer’s Guide. She can also be found chatting about Minnesota travel topics at