MidwestWeekends.com — Your Travel Guide to the Upper Midwest

What's a good day trip from Minneapolis?

I'm looking for a fun day trip from Minneapolis for Sept 7. (I'll be visiting the area and just have the one free day, after attending a wedding.) I'd like to take a pretty hike, and maybe also visit a town where there's pretty outdoor scenery. I'm thinking about St. Croix, WI. Any thoughts, and any other suggestions for a good day trip? Thank you! - Rebecca, Washington, D.C.

If you really want to hike, head an hour north of the Twin Cities to Taylors Falls (right across the river from St. Croix Falls). There's an Interstate State Park on the Minnesota side of the St. Croix River where it's fun to climb around on the rocks, and you can take a paddlewheeler cruise from there.

But the best hiking is in the Wisconsin Interstate State Park, where the Ice Age National Scenic Trail starts. It has the better river views, too. For more, see Sightseeing on the St. Croix.

The Mississippi River town of Red Wing, a hour southeast of the Twin Cities, is a classic day trip. That's got a great hike Barn Bluff, which overlooks the town and has fantastic views from the top.

You can watch river traffic from Bay Point Park or Levee Park. Red Wing also has a lot of shops and restaurants, but likely many are closed on Labor Day. For more, see Red Wing's antiques.

If it's warm and sunny and you feel like being on a lake, go half an hour west to Excelsior and take a cruise on the restored steamboat Minnehaha (first, make sure you can get tickets, 952-474-2115). This is an old resort village on Lake Minnetonka, and it too has lots of cute shops and restaurants. For more, see Cruising around Excelsior.

For more ideas, see 10 great day trips around the Twin Cities.

Last updated on September 3, 2009