Nestled on the banks of the St. Croix River, the charming town of Stillwater is a short drive east of St. Paul. Known for its historic downtown district, lined with brick buildings and antique shops, Stillwater exudes small-town charm. Take a leisurely stroll along the riverfront, browse through the boutiques, and indulge in delicious dining options. If you’re visiting during the fall season, don’t miss the vibrant autumn colors that transform the area into a picturesque paradise.
Situated along the Mississippi River, Red Wing is a scenic town that offers a perfect blend of natural beauty and cultural attractions. Explore the historic downtown area, known for its beautifully preserved buildings and art galleries. Visit the Red Wing Shoe Company to learn about the city’s rich history of craftsmanship. Take a hike in Barn Bluff for panoramic views of the river and surrounding bluffs. Red Wing also hosts the annual Red Wing Roots Music Festival, where you can enjoy live music in a stunning outdoor setting.
Located within the city limits of Minneapolis, just a short drive west of St. Paul, Minnehaha Falls is a hidden gem that should not be missed. This 53-foot waterfall is surrounded by a lush park with scenic walking trails, picnic areas, and stunning views of the Mississippi River. Spend a sunny afternoon exploring the park, capturing beautiful photos of the waterfall, and enjoying a peaceful picnic by the cascades.
If you’re looking for a lakeside escape, head west of St. Paul to Lake Minnetonka. This expansive lake offers ample opportunities for boating, fishing, and water sports. Rent a boat and explore the lake’s numerous bays and inlets, or simply relax on the shores and soak up the sun. Lake Minnetonka is also home to several charming lakeside towns, such as Excelsior and Wayzata, where you can wander through boutique shops, dine at waterfront restaurants, and enjoy the vibrant atmosphere.
A favorite destination for outdoor enthusiasts, Afton State Park, is located just southeast of St. Paul. This beautiful park offers hiking trails, picnic areas, and stunning views of the St. Croix River. Spend a day exploring the park’s rolling prairies, deep ravines, and scenic bluffs. In the winter, Afton State Park transforms into a winter wonderland, perfect for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.
Venture north of St. Paul to Taylors Falls, a charming riverside town known for its unique geological formations and outdoor activities. Visit Interstate State Park, where you can hike along the cliffs, explore glacial potholes, and take in breathtaking views of the St. Croix River. Take a scenic boat tour or canoe trip along the river to fully immerse yourself in the area’s natural beauty.