Best Weekend Getaways in MN
Best Weekend Getaways in MN – Up North
There is no shortage of wonderful, beautiful and adventurous places to explore in Minnesota, however, the hard part is deciding where to go. We get beyond excited when we start talking about the must see places in Minnesota, honing in on destinations North of Minneapolis, MN. Whether you’re looking for the best weekend getaways in MN, the best resorts in Minnesota or even the absolute best MN romantic getaways in MN, we’ve got it all here in the land of 10,000 sparkling lakes.
Where to begin? We’ve scoured the state and have honed in on up North for the top 5 places we recommend for the best weekend getaway in MN. We’ve based our decisions on natural beauty, outdoor adventure, access to great food options, culture all the way down to great places to stay while you’re in town. We’ll launch another blog soon focusing on the top 5 places to check out in Southern Minnesota, so stay tuned.
Best Vacation Spots in Minnesota
1 ) Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area –
We chose Cuyuna for our #1 ‘best places to go in Minnesota’ spot on our chart. Is it because we’re bias or because it truly is a gem of a getaway in our state? We’re not the only ones who think it’s great. It’s been written up and talked about over the past couple years in REI, Star Tribune,Outdoor Magazine and even Cosmopolitan! This area is gaining recognition fast and there’s a great reason why. People from all across the USA as well as from Minnesota are flocking here for the 30 miles of groomed red dirt Cuyuna Mountain Bike Trails, 15 Sparkling, turquoise mine lakes, over 25 miles of stunning shoreline, canoeing, paddle boarding, shopping, eating, coffee shops and even a brewery. The town of Crosby, MN is located next to the Cuyuna State Recreation area and has one incredible main street catering to bikers, paddlers, visitors and locals. It was even listed as Outdoor Magazine’s ‘Top places to Live’ in 2019. The energy is electric all year round with endless outdoor adventure to be had along with the most unique and best resorts in Minnesota with direct access to all the adventure. And to top it off, it’s only a straight 2 hour drive direct from Minneapolis.
Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area, Photo by @emmasievers
Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area, Red Dirt Mountain Bike Trails, Photo by @ashleybrooksbikes
2 ) Grand Marais, Minnesota
With incredible history, shopping, dining, hiking, waterfalls and on the doorstep of stunning Lake Superior, there’s no wonder why this small lake-side town has gained attention over the past years as one of the best places to visit in Minnesota. On your drive up the coast you’ll want to be sure to plan time to stop and visit Gooseberry Falls State Park as well as Tettegouche State Park to stretch your legs and check out some of Minnesota’s most beautiful waterfalls. You might also want to plan for a stop to check out Split Rock Lighthouse State Park as well as Two Harbors. Ok, there is SO much to do on just the drive alone you’ll want to leave early for an epic road trip there and back! There are also some incredible hotels and Airbnb’s with amazing views to stay in while you’re in town.
Grand Marais, photo by @aguanortemn
3 ) Duluth, Minnesota
While everyone knows of Duluth, we think it’s worth another look and definitely another trip up to explore all that this Lake Superior City has to offer. What we love most about Duluth is all the outdoor year-round adventure it offers. Along with Cuyuna, Duluth tops the charts for some of the best Mountain Biking Trails in the state. Hike, bike, canoe, paddle, cross country ski and of course snowboard your way through the beautiful rolling hills. After you’re completely exhausted from all the fresh air, hit up some incredible local breweries and have dinner at one of the many amazing lakeside spots. We highly recommend checking out some Airbnb home options to crash at while you’re in town, there are so many amazing stays! When you wake up, be sure to Google some local coffee shops or ask your hotel or Airbnb host where to go. There are so many fantastic small, unique coffee shops you’ll want to cozy up in before you start your day.
4 ) Bemidji, Minnesota
Best known for Babe the Blue Ox and Paul Bunyon, Bemidji deserves a second glance. This small, charming Northern town was the first city on the Mississippi River and continues to wow us. When you decide to come up and stay in Bemidji, you’ll love the low key vibe of the town along with the big city amenities it offers. You’ll have no trouble planning a night out with incredible breweries, restaurants and shops to explore. During the day, get lost in the wild wilderness of over 400 surrounding lakes, state parks, state forests and of course the infamous Itasca State Park Head Waters. You’ll want to either rent or bring a canoe or paddle board and unwind in the pristine beauty of the lakes. We also recommend renting a bike to explore the town and take breaks to snack and drink at all the lovely places. You can peddle anywhere from 6-160 miles right from Bemidji. There are also 41 miles of paved bike trails lining the west side of Chippewa National Forest, while mountain bikers can travel over 43 miles of
unpaved trails on the east side.
Lake Itasca, photo by Austin Dover @dover.29
5 ) Nisswa, Minnesota
When we think of Up North, the Brainerd area always comes to mind. We absolutely love getting lost around Crosslake, Nisswa and Pequot Lakes area. There are hundreds of lakes to explore and boat rentals are offered here. Pack the bikes and hop on the Paul Bunyon Trail or hit the woods for some wild and remote hiking at Pillsbury State Park. Nisswa has an adorable small main street area filled with some great shopping, coffee shops and restaurants. You’ll definitely want to check out the Iron Waffle one morning for coffee and a sweet waffle treat for breakfast and then to grab ice cream later af