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Minnesota Day Trip Tour Ideas

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Enjoy the best road trips in Minnesota with these ideas for a day trip tour or a jaunt across the country. Our focus is, of course, road trips in Minnesota. You can use the same basic road trip planning tips wherever you travel. Purchase a road trip planning guide and you will be miles ahead of the crowd. 

Most family vacation destinations in Minnesota include beautiful family vacation resorts, cabins, and dozens of state parks and many other top family vacations spots.

Road Trip Vacation Planning
  • Would you like to drive along back country roads, discovering charming small towns that take you back in time?
  • Is your ideal road trip one that includes shopping in antique stores and gift shops?
  • Do you want your road trip to include areas where you are likely to see wildlife?
  • Would you like to experience another culture? In Minnesota that might include driving through Amish Country, an Indian reservation or spending some time in the multi-cultural markets, shops and restaurants in the Twin Cities.
  • Is it important to include a larger town or city where you can eat in great restaurants and enjoy the nightlife?
North American Road Trips: Unforgettable Journeys of a Lifetime

Do Lots of Research: Your vacation days are precious, gas is expensive and there are many choices of destination. You want to come home with great memories and photos instead of feeling that nothing turned out the way you wanted it. Check out the best of Minnesota travel road trips.

Make A List of the Kinds of Attractions You Want to See

The Great River Road Trip is one of the best road trips in the U.S. You can take the Great River Road through Minnesota or from Itasca State Park all the way to the Gulf of Mexico.

Minnesota maps and vacation travel guides are a great resource. You can make sure you don't miss any of the great attractions along the way.

You will likely think of other considerations to add to your road trip vacation planning list. You can get some great ideas from Backroads & Byways of Minnesota: Drives, Day Trips & Weekend Excursions

Decide If You Want to “Freestyle” Your Road Trip or Stick to The Plan: We know several people who are "free spirits" and like to just get in the car and see where the day takes them. That can be a lot of fun however most people prefer to do some detailed road trip vacation planning. 

A primary factor in all of your road trip planning is how many days, or hours, you have for your excursion. We do lots of day trips. I have a really good excuse: to gather information and take photos for my Visit Minnesota website! One advantage of day trips is there is no need for hotels. A disadvantage is that you will be limited in how far you can travel in order to make it back home for the night.

Check out our road trip planning guide page for more tips about planning a fun road trip.

Create A Budget: Gas, Meals, Hotels and Attractions: Unless money is no object for you, knowing how much your road trip will cost is something to consider. Here are some budget items to include in your planning:

  • How much will gas cost for the miles you intend to drive? Take into consideration that gas prices outside the city may be higher.
  • Calculate what you will need for food/meals. If part of the fun for you is a really nice meal in a restaurant, add that to your road trip budget. You could balance that cost by packing a picnic lunch for another meal. You may decide the picnic adds to the fun.
  • Check out the cost or entry fee for attractions you want to see. You can often find coupons or discounts on attractions, museums or festivals.
  • If your road trip includes a night, or several, in a hotel or bed and breakfast inn, take some time to be sure you get the best hotel deals.

Make Sure Your Car is in Good Shape: Nothing spoils a road trip like a breakdown. A few days before your planned trip, check all the fluids, make sure you have good tires on your car and, if necessary, make an appointment for your vehicle to get a "once over" by your trusted auto service or mechanic.

If you're the handy type, pack a few basic tools. AAA roadside assistance has saved us more than once when traveling. We've saved the yearly fee several times over in the "rescues" we've needed. 

Tales of the Road: Highway 61 traces approximately 440 miles through Minnesota, from Pigeon Falls at the Canadian border south to La Crescent. Along the way, the road hugs the North Shore, zips through St. Paul, and navigates bluffs along the Mississippi River. While places such as Split Rock Lighthouse or Sugar Loaf Mountain offer well-documented stopping-off points, observant travelers may wonder about historic buildings , abandoned sites, and decaying structures they see along the way.

Road Trip Vacation Planning

Read More:

Minnesota Travel Road Trip

Road Trip Planning Guide

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Minnesota State Parks: From Afton to Zippel Bay