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Road Trips & Scenic Byways

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Follow the Mississippi River's 600-plus-mile journey across Minnesota on the Great River Road

Hit the Open Road

With its vast size and diverse terrain, Minnesota is easy and fun to explore via the open road. Scenic byways meander through a variety of landscapes: the lake-splashed north woods, tumbling waterfalls, grand bluffs towering above winding rivers, ribbons of prairie and city parks. Several of these drives are also designated as National Scenic Byways. In addition to their scenery, these routes are noted for their cultural, historic, natural and recreational qualities. Explore these routes by car, or for added thrills, by motorcycle.

Aerial of the North Shore

Split Rock Lighthouse and the Gitchi-Gami State Trail on the North Shore / Waqar Ahmad

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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Fall scenes along Great River Road Winona

Winona is one of Minnesota's most scenic river towns, and boasts a charming downtown with lots to see and do

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 roadtrippers though the towns that line the Mississippi, including the Twin Cities.

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Downtown Lanesboro main street in winter

Lanesboro is a charming destination any time of year / Lanesboro Chamber of Commerce

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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