The official kick-off to summer is here and if you are looking for some destinations to getaway to this summer but don't want to go TOO far from home, I've got 8 fun Minnesota cities that would be perfect for a weekend getaway.

Way too often I hear from friends that they want to travel, but they just aren't sure where they want to go. Luckily we live in a state that offers up some unique and fun cities that offer up some great memories. Here are 8 Minnesota cities that could be the perfect weekend getaway for you.

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Image Credit: weston m via unsplash
Image Credit: weston m via unsplash

Northfield's city slogan is cows, colleges, and contentment and it's a pretty accurate description of the town nestled onto the shores of the Cannon River. Besides being home to both St. Olaf and Carleton Colleges, Northfield boasts a Japanese garden, 10 miles of hiking trails, and of course the Cannon River for canoeing or kayaking.


Historic Stillwater is hands down one of the most picturesque towns in Minnesota. From your drive down into downtown along the sweeping hillside, to Teddybear Park, views of the St. Croix River, plus Stillwater is located in wine country. The St. Croix River Valley has several fantastic winery options for those that want to sample what the area offers.


Brainerd has got a lot to offer someone who stops to visit. From the sights, smells, and sounds of B-I-R, to having a 30 foot-tall statue welcoming you to an amusement park in Paul Bunyan Land and that's just the 'touristy' stuff. Brainerd also is home to some fantastic dining options including The Barn, The Local 218, and Maddens on Gull Lake.


Shakopee located south of the Twin Cities has to make your list this summer for someplace to visit. Shakopee has got some fantastic breweries for you to try, plus it's located along the Minnesota River, there are some great places to simply park your car and admire the wildlife that comes to the river. Oh, and there is also this little amusement park called Valleyfair that also has it's own water park...


Bloomington is probably most famous for being home to the Mall of America. I know, you've been to the MOA before, but there's more to Bloomington than the mall. There's the Great Wolf Lodge, Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge, plus the Minnesota Zoo isn't far. Bloomington seems to be VERY family-friendly.

Lake City

Image Credit: kostiantyn li via unsplash
Image Credit: kostiantyn li via unsplash

Lake City, located on the Mississippi River in Southern Minnesota is the place where water skiing was invented, and if you are going to visit Lake City, make sure it's in August. That is when the city hosts its Lake City Summer Festival. Are you a fan of beaches? Ohuta Beach and Park is home to one of the finest beaches in Minnesota.

Two Harbors

Image Credit: joe pohle via unsplash
Image Credit: joe pohle via unsplash

It's located on Lake Superior, and it's home to the Split Rock Lighthouse. On top of that, there are hiking and biking trails, a lighthouse museum, antique shops, and more. Oh and of course I couldn't forget Gooseberry Falls State Park for waterfall fans.

Albert Lea

Albert Lea is where I moved to when I graduated school, while the town has a population less than 18,000 don't let that influence you. From Myre-Big Island State Park, the Blazing Star trail system, plus Fountain and Albert Lea lakes Albert Lea is a city where you will be spending plenty of time outside enjoying all that Minnesota has to offer. During the summer months the city puts on a downtown celebration once a month called Wind-Down Wednesdays that features vendors, live music, and food. Pro-tip stop by Eat'n Ice Cream Shoppe near Fountain Lake for a fun treat.

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Gallery Credit: Image Credit: Gregg Larsen Coldwell Banker Realty


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