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This is the annual snapshot of the most recent travel and tourism economic impact highlights for the state of Minnesota, tourism regions and counties.
Minnesota's appeal as a destination lies in both its abundant natural scenery and in its vibrant cities. Dubbed as the "Land of 10,000 Lakes," Minnesota offers much more to explore, as well.
The Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area, generally known as the Twin Cities, is nationally known for its high quality of life, with amenities that make it a great travel destination. The Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area has garnered attention for its dynamic music scene, creative chefs, bike trails, exciting theaters and excellent art museums. Families are drawn to the Twin Cities for its kid-friendly museums, zoos, and amusement parks. The home town sports teams have a large fan base. This metro area is also noteworthy for its many lakes, parks and greenways. Shopping is a highlight; Mall of America in Bloomington draws visitors from around the world.
Minnesota also has a bounty of natural treasures. Miles of lakes and woods draw outdoor enthusiasts to Voyageurs National Park and the Boundary Waters Canoe Wilderness Area, both along the state's northern border. The North Shore of Lake Superior, an All-American Road, is a scenic drive along the world's largest freshwater lake. The iconic Mississippi River begins as a small stream at Itasca State Park in northwest Minnesota, wends its way across the state and through the Twin Cities, and widens as it flows below the beautiful bluffs of southeastern Minnesota. Western parts of the state preserve areas of native prairie.
These scenic resources make Minnesota a natural playground. It's a destination for outdoor adventures such as kayaking, canoeing, hiking, and mountain biking. Minnesota boasts perhaps the country's largest collection of paved, scenic bike trails. There's also rock climbing, scuba diving, paddle boarding and ziplines. Fishing and hunting are longstanding traditions here, and the state has an excellent array of quality golf courses. Hundreds of lakeside resorts, from classic cabins to full-service luxury, make a great base for a fun vacation.
Winter is a fourth season of fun. Downhill recreation areas draw skiers and snowboarders to the slopes, while a vast array of groomed trails attract cross-country skiers and snowmobilers. Ice fishing brings anglers to frozen lakes. Snowshoe treks and dogsled trips are other winter adventures.
Charming towns and bustling cities have their own year-round lures, from summer theaters to music festivals. Historic sites tell tales from the past, about Minnesota's rich Indian and pioneer heritage, rugged voyageur fur traders, forestry and milling industries, and famous Minnesotans like Charles Lindbergh. Local flavors can be sampled at an array of restaurants featuring creative Midwestern cuisine and at craft breweries and tap rooms popping up around the state. Couples enjoy romantic escapes at cozy bed and breakfast inns. Shops and spas are great destinations for girlfriend getaways.
An excellent international airport and interstate highways make Minnesota an easy destination to get to. While it's been drawing travelers to vacation here since its earliest days as a state, every year brings fresh new attractions for visitors to explore.
Travel information and trip ideas are available at: www.exploreminnesota.com