Summer is the time to explore Minnesota's only national park, which is mostly water. You can explore by park-service pontoon, rented launch, houseboat, kayak or canoe.
Explore by canoe with a naturalist. Hike one of nine trails. Learn about the park at three visitors centers.
In summer, Michigan's Keweenaw Peninsula is beautiful and cool, yet quiet even at the peak of tourist season.
It doesn't have many "attractions,'' yet there's so much to see soft pink-sandstone beaches, old mining towns, 10 lighthouses. In late July, blueberries ripen along roads and bear sightings are likely.
Details: For more, see Digging the Keweenaw.
For more than a century, vacationers have been making their way to this hillside village on the Wisconsin shore of Lake Superior.
Go to a concert or revue at Big Top Chautauqua. Pick berries in the orchards above town. Walk the three-mile Brownstone Trail along Chequamegon Bay. Bicycle around the Bayfield Peninsula.
Event to catch: July 15-16, Festival of Arts.
Details: For more, see Beloved Bayfield.
On Minnesota's North Shore of Lake Superior, this village of 1,400 is more cosmopolitan than many towns 20 times its size it has a performing-arts center, a folk school, an art colony and galleries and restaurants that could hold their own in much bigger cities.
Details: For more, see Four seasons of Grand Marais.
In the corner of southeast Minnesota, Winona has an enviable spot on the loveliest stretch of the Mississippi River Valley.
Not only is it scenic, it's a college town, with lots of theater, concerts and coffeehouses.
What to do: Use canoes, kayaks and paddleboards at Lake Lodge Recreation Center on Lake Winona (pictured). Tour the Minnesota Marine Art Museum. Visit Garvin Heights Vineyards and see the view. Visit the nearby Pickwick Mill.
Details: See Afloat in Winona.