Waterfalls, exploring national parks and bird watching are some outdoor activities to do in Minnesota this spring.  Jake Juliot is the PR and Communications Specialist with Explore Minnesota.  He joined me on WJON.  He highlighted the following:

It’s “waterfall season” on the North Shore, when the melting snow causes raging rivers and waterfalls.

  • Popular destinations: Gooseberry Falls State Park (short, easy hike to falls), Tettegouche State Park, Cascade River State Park
  • Many North Shore Lodges are offering deals—stay 2 nights, get a third night free – now through about mid-May
  • Southern Minnesota has some beautiful waterfalls, too, including at Minneopa State Park and Pipestone National Monument (on the cover of this year’s MN Travel Guide)
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Photo Courtesy of Ron Benson
Photo Courtesy of Ron Benson

Make plans now to visit state and national parks

  • Time to ditch the treadmill and the mall walking and get out hiking in the fresh air
  • State Parks
    • While it may be too early for most people to want to set up a tent, there are lots of other options, including heated camper cabins and yurts and, at Itasca State Park, some pretty nice Four-Season Suites (can you believe they even have flat screen TVs?!).
    • You can make reservations for overnight stays up to 120 days in advance, so if you are a tent camper and want to visit in June or July, now’s the time to grab your spot.
  • Voyageurs National Park
    • One of six national park sites in Minnesota (the others are Pipestone and Grand Portage national monuments, Mississippi National River and Recreation Area, St. Croix National Scenic Riverway and the North Country National Scenic Trail)
    • Voyageurs is a certified Dark Sky Park, which means it’s far enough from light pollution that you might be lucky enough to see the Northern Lights
    • Open year-round
    • Check our website for information on how to make the most of a visit to Voyageurs with or without a houseboat
      • Take a ranger-led boat tour
      • Attend a “star party” and learn about the night sky
      • Make reservations now for houseboats or boat tours this summer


  • Spring bird migration
    • This is the time of year when Minnesota birds that have migrated south for the winter start making their way back.
    • Interest in birding increased during the pandemic when people were stuck at home looking out their windows
    • There are many great places to see birds in Minnesota:
      • National Eagle Center (Wabasha)
        • Newly renovated and expanded
        • Live eagles on display daily with educators on hand to answer questions
        • If you’re driving south from the Twin Cities along Hwy. 61 this month, keep your eye on the trees along the river between Lake City and Wabasha and you will often see eagles perched on the branches. Usually there are only 1 or 2, but sometimes there are several in the same tree!
      • Hawk Ridge Bird Observatory (Duluth) – great spot to see raptors
      • Frontenac State Park in Red Wing overlooks the Mississippi River, a major flyway and one of the best places in the U.S. to view birds
        • Frontenac is one of many Minnesota state parks that have free birding kits that you can borrow during your visit (with binoculars, guide books and park-specific bird lists)
      • Pine to Prairie Birding Trail – from Fergus Falls to Warroad in NW Minnesota
        • A variety of biomes (habitats) means a variety of birds
        • Annual Festival of Birds will be May 18-20
        • Includes presentations and guided field trips (to Tamarac and Hamden Slough National Wildlife Refuges, Maplewood State Park and Agassiz Scientific and Natural Area)
        • Register by May 5 and you could win a pair of Vortex binoculars

Explore Minnesota Travel Planning Resources 

  • Visit com for endless trip planning resources, including an extensive calendar of events.
  • Or call one of our travel experts for help planning a trip at 888-VISITMN.



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