Explore Minnesota geography and unique features of the regions of Minnesota that make all of them great vacations spots.
The topography of Minnesota's regions is more diverse than you will find almost anywhere.
Each area has unique geographical features and characteristics and are sometimes referred to as the "seven states of Minnesota."
Minnesota geography places our state near the center of North America in the north central United States.
It is bordered on the north by the Canadian provinces of Manitoba and Ontario, on the west by North Dakota and South Dakota, on the south by Iowa, and on the east by Wisconsin and Lake Superior.
Variations in Minnesota geography from one Minnesota region to another makes a visit to Minnesota a unique experience.
As you drive from the Canadian border on the north to the Iowa border on the south, you may think you are visiting several states and going through at least two seasons on the way.
Some describe our Minnesota geography as divided into five different regions:
The Seven States of Minnesota: Driving Tours Through the History, Geology, Culture and Natural Glory of the North Star State describes seven unique regions of Minnesota:
Some wonderful descriptions of our unique state can also be found in Landscapes of Minnesota: A Geography
If you start in the north on a day in late April, you may see snow on the ground. Around noon you'll be in central Minnesota, where the snow is gone and ice on the lakes has melted. Farther south, later that afternoon, trees are full with leaves, farmers are finishing plowing, and it's spring. In a month, it will be spring in the north.
The state is also at the crossroads of three types of terrain. Grassland plains and prairies are to the west and south, coniferous (cone-bearing) forest is to the north, and to the east is the hardwood forest, once known as the "Big Woods."
The area of Minnesota is 225,181 sq km (86,943 sq mi), of which 12,380 sq km (4,780 sq mi) is inland water and 6,594 sq km (2,546 sq mi) is a portion of Lake Superior under the state's jurisdiction. Minnesota thus ranks 12th in area among the 50 states.
From north to south the state measures 653 km (406 mi), and from east to west it measures 576 km (358 mi) at its maximum extent and about 290 km (about 180 mi) at its narrowest point. The mean elevation is about 370 m (1,200 ft).
Our unique geography offers visitors a wide variety of Minnesota vacation experiences.
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