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Padelford Riverboats’ Sunset Dinner Cruise

Minnesota's scenic rivers and roads

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postedAugust 28, 2020

A Minnesota adventure offers an opportunity for groups to get the true Great Lakes region experience—from beautiful state parks and quaint communities to river cruises and shopping. Explore Minnesota has compiled routes to see the best of the North Star State, and here’s a closer look at a couple of those courses:

The North Shore Scenic Byway

“A journey on the North Shore Scenic Byway is the perfect road trip for all seasons, but especially in the summer and fall,” says Explore Minnesota’s Jake Juliot. “Highway 61 follows the shore of Lake Superior from Duluth to the Canadian border and passes by some of Minnesota’s most memorable landmarks and parks as well as lake towns.”

  • Duluth is Bob Dylan’s birthplace and a shipping hub where boats of all kinds pass through the iconic lift bridge, Juliot says.
  • Split Rock Lighthouse was constructed in 1910 after a string of shipwrecks, and admission includes a tour of the lighthouse and access to surrounding trails.
  • Grand Marais is a lovely harbor village nestled between Lake Superior and the Superior National Forest, where visitors can hike, mountain bike, gallery hop, and do some crafting.
National Eagle Center in Wabasha
National Eagle Center in Wabasha (Photo by Jackie Scherer)

The Great River Road

“Minnesota has the distinct honor of being home to the headwaters of the Mississippi River at Itasca State Park. The location is the perfect place to begin or end a trip on the Great River Road, following the Mighty Mississippi as it runs through a sprawling metropolis, pristine nature, and charming river towns,” Juliot says.

  • Minneapolis and St. Paul offer a variety of paddlewheel boat cruises, from basic trips to themed cruises (think margaritas and tacos). Onshore, visitors can see NTA-member Mall of America, the largest entertainment and shopping center in the U.S.
  • Wabasha is home to the National Eagle Center, offering wild eagle viewing, interactive exhibits, and cultural and historical displays. Visitors can stand within feet of bald and golden eagles with no barrier—an experience found in few other environmental interpretive centers.
  • Winona is for art lovers. The small community’s Minnesota Marine Art Museum features a unique collection, with each piece having something to do with water. Artists whose works are on display include Vincent van Gogh, Claude Monet, and Georgia O’Keeffe.

For more information, contact Explore Minnesota's Millie Phillip or go to

Top photo: Padelford Riverboats’ Sunset Dinner Cruise
Photo by Visit Saint Paul


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