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Minnesota Named One of the Best States for Summer Road Trips

6/21/2018 1:45:54 PM

New ranking cites cost, safety, and activities to rank Minnesota third best for summer road trips in new national study

ST. PAUL, MN – Minnesota has recently been ranked the third best state in the country for summer road trips, according to a new Wallethub study.

The study compared the 50 states based on 31 key components to find the most cost effective and entertaining road trip destination.

Minnesota ranked first on safety because of Minnesota’s relatively low rates of  violent crimes and vehicle fatalities, as well as quality of roads and bridges and driving laws.

The study also ranks Minnesota in the top half of the country with activities offered, thanks to the total area designated to national parkland in Minnesota, national park recreation visitors per capita, and number of attractions.

This study was released just after the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources launched a new trip planning website honor of Great Outdoors Month in Minnesota. The website offers a search engine service that allows visitors to filter through and look at all of the regional and state parks, trails, and camping sites available to the public.

The site was made through the collective efforts of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Metropolitan Council, Greater Minnesota Regional Parks and Trails Commission, and Minnesota IT Services.

Plan your Minnesota Road Trip

Ready to hit the road? Here are a few ideas for your next Minnesota road trip:


State Parks: Minnesota has 76 road trip-worthy state parks and recreation areas. If you’re on your way to explore Tettegouche State Park, take a selfie with Rocky Taconite in Silver Bay. Just southwest of Lake Bemidji State Park stand Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox in Bemidji. In Western Minnesota, learn about the geology of ancient Lake Agassiz and look for fossils at Big Stone Lake State Park. Be sure to check the Department of Natural Resources website for a complete list of Minnesota’s 76 state parks and recreation areas.

Highway 61, Visited: This highway goes south from the Twin Cities and follows the Mississippi River through historic river towns. It is well known for its Bald Eagle sightings, Native American heritage sites, and Dams. Make sure to check out the National Eagle Center in Wabasha for an up close and personal look at our National Bird. This road trip will take you through the vibrant cities of Winona, Wabasha, Red Wing, Hastings, and more.

Hormel and a Hike: Explore the prairie savanna and glacial esker at Myre-Big Island State Park. Just 25 minutes east on 1-90, travelers can find the SPAM museum in Austin and learn about a Minnesota-made favorite.


Great Fishing, Great Drives: Earlier this year, at the 2018 Governor’s Fishing Opener, Governor Dayton explored some of the great fishing spots that anglers can take advantage of in the Willmar Lakes Area. East of Willmar on Highway 12, stop in Darwin to see the world’s largest twine ball rolled by one man. The 9-ton giant is a sight to see, even if it would make for terrible fishing line.

North Shore Drive: This trip begins at Canal Park in Duluth and follows Lake Superior up to Grand Portage. Make sure to take a stop at the Split Rock Lighthouse for some breathtaking views of Lake Superior.  Check out Grand Marais for fun activities, such as the Dragon Boat Festival and the Fisherman’s Picnic that they host throughout the summer. Check out the map for other attractions along the way.

St. Croix River: Travel along the lower St. Croix River from Stillwater to Taylor Falls to experience breathtaking views and unique roadside attractions. Take a boat trip in Stillwater or hike through Interstate State Park to enjoy the scenery offered. Spend a night exploring the unique shops and restaurants in the area.

Go Chasing Waterfalls: Take a trip up along the northern shore to check out 7 of Minnesota’s most breathtaking waterfalls. The trip will start at Gooseberry Falls State Park and take you along the state line to reach Grand Portage State Park, at the very tip of Minnesota. Follow this map to see all of the destinations available.

Brainerd: Drive up to Brainerd for a weekend and take advantage of the area’s camping, fishing, and hiking. Visit Paul Bunyan Land for a look into the popular Minnesota folklore and enjoy a day of rides, fun, and laughter! 

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