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Facts About The North Star State

About Minnesota - facts about Minnesotans, and about the wonders of our unique state, can add to your enjoyment of a Minnesota vacation or to challenge the knowledge of family and friends.

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If you only know one thing about Minnesota, you likely know that it is a beautiful state. You can experience pine forests, tall grass prairie, rocky cliffs, hundreds of waterfalls, the "inland sea" of Lake Superior and thousands of lovely lakes.

Learning a bit of Minnesota history and geography can add to your enjoyment as you decide what you want to explore in Minnesota.

Our State Motto is: L'Étoile du Nord (The North Star)

Some Minnesota nicknames: North Star State; Gopher State; Land of 10,000 Lakes.

The origin of the name is from a Dakota Indian word meaning “sky-tinted water.”

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Minnesota Fun Facts

Minnesota 101: Everything You Wanted to Know About Minnesota and Were Going to Ask Anyway

About Minnesota
  • State Abbreviation - MN
  • State Capitol - Saint Paul
  • Population - 4,919,479 (as of 2000) [Minnesota is the 21st most populous state in the USA]
  • Area - 86,943 square miles [Minnesota is the 12th biggest state in the USA]
  • Highest Point - Eagle Mountain - 2,301 feet (701 m) above sea level
  • Lowest Point - 602 feet above sea level at Lake Superior
  • Bordering States - Iowa, Michigan (across Lake Superior), North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin
  • Bordering Country - Canada
  • Number of rivers and streams: 6,564 (92,000 miles).
  • Major rivers: Mississippi River, Minnesota River, Rainy River, Red River, St. Croix River.
  • Number of lakes (over 10 acres): 11,842 (4,967,510 acres.
    Largest Lakes: Lake Superior (borders north eastern Minnesota); Lake of the Woods (straddles Minnesota's border with Canada); Red Lake, Mille Lacs Lake, Leech Lake, Lake Vermillion, Rainy Lake, Winnibigoshish near Cass Lake, Lake Pepin at Lake City.
  • Number of recreational boats per capita: one boat per every six people, more than any other state.
  • Northernmost town in the contiguous 48 states: Angle Inlet, Minnesota at 49.22° North latitude.
  • Number of individuals who go fishing: 2.3 million


Source: Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Census.

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"With everything from sod houses to skyscrapers, from timeless steamboat towns on the Mississippi and St. Croix rivers, to Wobegonic farm country in the west, and from Minneapolis's world class art scene to a record-setting ball of twine, this state will leave even seasoned travelers impressed." ~ Tricia Cornell, The Moon Minnesota Handbook

Enjoy facts you may not know about Minnesota History and Geography:

Minnesota Facts About Our 78 State Parks and State Recreation Areas: what to see and do in each of our beautiful state parks.  Download our state parks guide: Minnesota State Parks E-Book.

Are you planning a trip to Minnesota, a move to Minnesota, or doing classwork about Minnesota? If so, we have lots of basic facts and interesting tidbits about our state.  

About Minnesota
About Minnesota

There are just some things that you "must" do when in Minnesota: Walk across the Mississippi River at Itasca State Park, play on, and in, as many Minnesota lakes as you can, visit the "greatest of the great lakes", Lake Superior, and take scenic road trips in every part of the state 

Minnesota State Symbols reveal much about what Minnesota values and what we believe displays the uniqueness of our state. Some of our state symbols are plants and animals; other symbols are the foods we produce. Just for fun we've created some Minnesota state recipes based on our state symbol foods.

Minnesota geography offers an amazing variety of terrain and experience as you travel across the state. Facts about Minnesota history include the stories of the Native Americans who influenced so much of who we are. Learn more about the Ojibwe:

Many jokes and stories about Minnesota focus on our Scandinavian population. However this "reputation" about our population does not reflect our ethnic diversity that includes our Native Americans, the largest Somali population in the U.S., the large Hmong population, and our Mexican, Asian, and East African communities. 

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Find the best Minnesota deals, compare prices, and read what other travelers have to say about the places to go and things to do in Minnesota...or anywhere in the world you travel.


A Few More Facts About Minnesota

Top Things to Do in Minnesota

About Minnesota
  • Minnesota has more shoreline than California, Florida and Hawaii combined.
  • Minneapolis has the fourth most active jazz scene in the country.
  • The license plates say “Land of 10,000 Lakes” but actually there are 11,842 lakes more than 10 acres in size in Minnesota.
  • Duluth Minnesota is the largest inland freshwater port in the world.
Minnesota Guidebooks to What to See and Do in Minnesota: We always have a couple of these with us when we travel around Minnesota.
  • The Mall of America in Bloomington is the size of 78 football fields — 9.5 million square feet.
  • The first open heart surgery and the first bone marrow transplant in the United States were done at the University of Minnesota.
  • Water skis were invented in 1922 by Ralph W. Samuelson, who steam-bent 2 eight-foot-long pine boards into skis. He took his first ride behind a motorboat on Lake Pepin, a widening of the Mississippi River at Lake City.
  • The snowmobile was invented in Roseau, MN in the 1950's.
  • Rollerblades were the first commercially successful in-line roller skates. Minnesota students Scott and Brennan Olson invented them in 1980. Their initial design was an ice hockey boot with 3 inline wheels instead of a blade.
  • In 1898, the Kensington Runestone was found on a farm near Alexandria Minnesota. The Kensington Runestone carvings allegedly tell of a journey of a band of Vikings in 1362. Visit the Runestone Museum to decide for yourself.

Learn More....

Minnesota Maps > available for every region of the state and for specific activities like fishing, hiking, biking and finding the best roadside attractions.

If you have questions regarding Minnesota or Minnesota vacation planning just go to this page and ask! It's really that easy.

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For personalized travel information call 888-VISITMN (847-4866)

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Minnesota Historical Society 888-777-8386

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