Be a Lazy Voyageur
Pile into a houseboat, pontoon, or other comfort craft for a relaxing and breathtakingly scenic trip through Voyageurs National Park, the least visited national park in the United States. Other than the access paths, there are no roads.
Modern-day voyageurs navigate 84,000 acres of water on Crane Lake, Rainy Lake, Lake Kabetogama (cab-a-toga-ma), Namakan Lake, and 26 other lakes via motorboats, sailboats, canoes, and kayaks in summer, and by snowmobile, cross-country skis, or snowshoes in winter. It’s free, although overnight permits are required.
» WHERE TO STAY
Pitch a tent at one of 200-plus campsites. Or pull up a chair on the veranda at Kettle Falls Hotel, where Charles Lindbergh and John D. Rockefeller once stayed. 12977 Chippewa Tr., Kabetogama, 218-240-1724
Be sure to stop in at Nelson’s Resort on Crane Lake on a Thursday, when it serves a Swedish smorgasbord featuring homegrown garden vegetables. 7632 Nelson Rd., Crane Lake, 218-993-2295
Get Out on the Lake
Warm or cold, wet or frozen, it’s your duty as a Minnesotan to make the most of the Twin Cities’ greatest lakes.
• Swim, dive, play sand volleyball, fish, or canoe at beautiful Shady Oak Beach.
• Launch a boat at the public boat launch on the small but lovely Christmas Lake (map).
• Rent a pontoon from Excel Boat Club on St. Alban’s Bay and spend a memorable day on Lake Minnetonka.
• Watch (or compete in) weekly sailing races and regattas at the Lake Harriet Yacht Club.
Play hooky from camps and commitments on a lazy summer day. Leave your smartphone in the car, settle into an inner tube, and crack open cans of ice-cold sweet tea as the river swirls, eddies, and carries your clan downstream for a few blissful hours.
Welch Mill Canoeing & Tubing 651-388-9857
Root River Outfitters 507-467-3400
Country Camping Tent & RV Park 763-444-9626
Bluff Valley Campground 800-226-7282
Savor Handmade Sweets
Stop for a warm chocolate-covered donut, a bottle of sparkling orange soda, or another handcrafted local treat to ensure sweet vacation memories.
CINNAMON ROLLSSchool House Café, McGregor, 218-768-2403
COFFEE CAKEThe Backerei & Coffee Shop, New Ulm, 507-354-6011
ICE CREAM SUNDAESThe MinneSoda Fountain, Park Rapids, 218-732-3240
DONUTSBloedow Bakery, Winona, 507-452-3682
LICORICEKenny’s Candy, Perham, 218-346-2340
CARAMELSKnudsen’s Caramels, Red Wing, 651-385-0800
SODASpring Grove Soda Pop, Spring Grove, 507-498-3424
PIEBetty’s Pies, Two Harbors, 218-834-3367
Have a howling good time when you spend a weekend at a Wolf Family Rendezvous Slumber Party. 1396 Hwy. 169, Ely, 218-365-4695
Meet Alice, the resident great horned owl, before exploring other curiosities. 215 W. Plum St., Houston, 507-896-4668
Watch wild bald eagles soar over the Mississippi. 50 Pembroke Ave., Wabasha, 651-565-4989
PELICAN IN PELICAN RAPIDS
The world’s largest pelican is 15.5 feet tall and a perfect 5:1 scale model of a real pelican.
CHIEF BEMIDJI IN BEMIDJI
He was originally carved by a Dane named Gustav Hinsch in 1898, and in 2011, city leaders voted to replace him.
OTTER IN FERGUS FALLS
On the shores of Grotto Lake, a giant otter welcomes visitors to the hub of the Ottertail Empire.
IRON ORE MINER IN CHISHOLM
Standing 35 feet tall on a 45-foot base, “Iron Man” is the third largest sculpture in the United States after the Statue of Liberty and the St. Louis arch.
LOON IN VERGAS
This 20-foot, 6,500-pound replica of the Minnesota state bird sits on the shore of Long Lake.
JOLLY MR. TACONITE IN SILVER BAY
He represents the dream that taconite would save the Iron Range.