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Road Trips & Scenic Byways

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Great River Road in Fall / Visit Winona
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Great River Road in Fall / Visit Winona

Hit the Open Road

Ralph Waldo Emerson wasn't talking about Minnesota's scenic byways when he said, "It's not the destination, it's the journey," but he might as well have been. With so many breathtaking views and unique roadside attractions along the way, road trips on scenic byways will reward you with miles of memorable experiences. With 22 scenic byways stretching almost 3,000 miles across the state, all you have to do is pick one and go for a girls getaway, a fall color tour or no reason at all.

The "Palisade Head" rock cliff formation overlooking Lake Superior

The Palisade Head rock cliff overlooks Lake Superior from Tettegouche State Park / AMB-MD Photography -

North Shore Scenic Byway

A 145-mile stretch of road that skirts the Lake Superior shoreline’s dramatic limestone cliffs and forests, this scenic route has been designated an All-American Road. Highlights include panoramic lake views, a waterfall and a lighthouse.

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Mille Lacs Indian Trading Post exterior

The Mille Lacs Indian Trading Post as seen from outside / Minnesota Historical Society

Lake Mille Lacs Scenic Byway

Lake Mille Lacs is a treasure trove of natural beauty and indigenous culture. Take in the views, which are at their best in the fall, and learn about the Ojibwe, who have called this area home for thousands of years.

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Moose standing by the road near Grand Marais

A moose stands by the road near Grand Marais / Jackie Scherer

Natural Beauty on The Gunflint Trail

In the far northeastern tip of Minnesota, the Gunflint Trail Scenic Byway traverses the Superior National Forest, bringing travelers from Grand Marais to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. Spot moose, pick wild blueberries and more.

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A view from high above Great River Road in Fall, with the lake to the right

Great River Road in Fall / Visit Winona

Great River Road

The Mighty Mississippi starts in Minnesota, meandering its way south and running through vibrant communities along the way. The Great River Road Scenic Byway takes road trippers though the towns that line the Mississippi, including the Twin Cities.

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Exterior of the Stone Mill Hotel & Suites

Book a room at Stone Mill Hotel and Suites, a converted granary built circa 1885 in scenic Lanesboro / @roadtripswithbev

Bluff Country Byway

See Minnesota’s creative spirit in action along the Bluff Country Scenic Byway, an east-west route that ends at the Wisconsin border. Head to Lanesboro, a small but thriving art colony with a downtown lined with Victorian architecture.

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