Things to do for fun in Minnesota while on vacation

Heading to Minnesota?
Things to do for fun in Minnesota while on vacation

Just like much of the Upper Midwest, the state of Minnesota is a fantastic US destination to visit on vacation. Minnesota offers plenty of opportunities for fun outdoor pursuits no matter the weather, as well as plenty of opportunities to visit city attractions such as the famous Mall of America and the Minnesota History Center. Below, I've highlighted a few suggestions on fun things you can do in Minnesota with family and friends:

Explore the Amish Country

If you’re a first time traveler to the state, one of the most fascinating things to do for fun in Minnesota while on vacation is exploring the Amish communities. If you’ve never visited an Amish village before, you’ll no doubt enjoy mingling with the Amish for the day soaking in some good ol’ lifestyle.

The southeast corner of Minnesota is the starting point for all Amish adventures. The Amish communities of Harmony and Lanesboro are two popular places to go and hire local guides who will show you around the different Amish farms.

You can book Amish tours with “Amish Tours” (in Harmony) and “Bluffscape Amish Tours” (in Lanesboro) for around $25 for group tours, or $50 for private tours using your own car.

Book a sightseeing cruise, boat tour or fishing excursion

A trip to Minnesota would not be complete without booking a cruise or boat tour of some kind. You can book everything from fishing charter excursions on Lake Superior (for around $400), to narrated paddle-wheeler tours around Lake Minnetonka and Big Island for around $12. Companies offering these type of tours include “Lady of the Lake Paddlewheel”, “Lake & River Charters” and “Twin Cities Cruises”.

Cruise tours are also very popular in Minnesota and you’ll be able to book all kinds of cruises (i.e. lunch, dinner, sightseeing, etc) along the beautiful Mississippi River for as little as $20 onboard the Minneapolis Queen paddle-wheeler and the Paradise Lady yacht.

You can find more opportunities for scenic boat tours in Minnesota in Voyageurs National Park and Taylor Falls. The park rangers in Voyageurs National Park offer canoe and boat tours between June and August, while “Wild Mountain” offers boat tours in Taylor Falls along the St Croix River.

Spend the day at an amusement/water park or zoo

If you’re visiting Minnesota during the warmer months of the year, one of the coolest things to do for fun in Minnesota while on vacation is visiting a water park, zoo, aquarium, or amusement park. In fact, when it comes to fun places to go in Minnesota where you can spend a fun day out you'll find that you'll be actually spoiled for choice.

One of the most popular places is, of course, the the popular Nickelodeon Universe indoor park at the Mall of America (MOA) in Bloomington. Great Lakes Aquarium and Lake Superior Zoo in Duluth are two other cool places where you can spend the day, though you'll find the most choices within the Twin Cities Metro area. Valleyfair Amusement Park (Shakopee), Minnesota Zoo (Apple Valley), and Como Town amusement park are some places worth mentioning.

Attend a major sporting event

Basketball, lacrosse, football and baseball are hugely popular in Minnesota and attending one of these pro sporting events is one of the best things a tourist can do in Minnesota.

Even if you aren't into sports that much you’ll definitely enjoy the experience of being in the crowd supporting one of Minnesota’s pro teams such as the Minnesota Vikings (NFL), the Minnesota Lynx (NBA), and the Minnesota Twins (MLB)

Hit the trails and the open road

As mentioned earlier, Minnesota offers plenty of opportunities for outdoor activities such as skiing and hiking all through the year. However, two of the most exciting things to do for fun in Minnesota are snowmobiling and motorcycling.

If you’re visiting in the winter, snowmobiling is a really cool way to enjoy the views of Minnesota’s forests and mountain peaks. Some of the most popular snowmobiling trails in Minnesota can be found in the Brainerd Lakes area (Cass County). You can rent snowmobiles in the town of Brainerd with operators such as “Boats and beyond Rentals” and “Cragun’s Resort” for around $160 (half-day).

Voyageurs National Park is another popular spot in Minnesota for riding your snowmobile, though the visitor centers don’t actually offer snowmobile rentals. Luckily, you’ll be able to hire snowmobiles from either Voyagaire Lodge (Crane Lake) or Ash-Ka-Nam Resort (Orr) for around $190.

If you prefer to go exploring with a guide, you can also book full days to 2-day snowmobiling tours with operators such as “Snowmobile Concierge” for around $200.

As far as motorcycling is concerned, you can enjoy plenty of motorcycle rides all the way from the Arrowhead region (northeast corner) to the southern part of Minnesota. One of the most beautiful motorcycling routes in Minnesota is along Highway 61, which runs along the Mississippi River.

A few other nice routes ideal for motorcycling traveling are the Northwoods Scenic Byway between Big Fork and Grand Rapids, as well as the stretch of Highway 1 between Silver Bay and Ely, which runs through the beautiful Superior national forest.

See. Interesting places to visit in Minnesota
Top 10 Tourist Attractions in North Dakota
Things to do in Rochester Minnesota