After a long and beautiful winter, I buckled up my kids for a quick spring road trip to stretch our legs and see the landscape as it started to bloom.
For impressive scenery within a few hours of our home in Southern Minnesota, we drove the Mississippi River from Red Wing to Winona, better known as the Great River Road. Not only is this road trip one of my family's perennial favorites, the route is also an official All-American Road and National Scenic Byway!
Hiking & History in Red Wing
Our first stop was Barn Bluff Regional Park in Red Wing. The 2.9-mile hike took us to the top of a limestone bluff with panoramic views of the river and historic downtown. Back on Main Street, we visited the Red Wing Shoe Company Museum—home to both the beloved Minnesota brand and World’s Largest Boot.
Outside, bald eagles soared above us along the river. Eager to learn more, we hit the National Eagle Center. I loved standing by the floor-to-ceiling windows to take in the incredible view of the river; my kids loved meeting the center’s resident bald and golden eagles.
A Sweet Stop in Winona
Finally, we wrapped-up our little family road trip at Bloedow Bakery in downtown Winona. Easily my favorite doughnut shop in Minnesota, the kids grabbed a few doughnuts from the bakery case, and I bought a frosted cookie for the drive home.
Lisa Havelka is the southern regional coordinator for Explore Minnesota. Born and raised in southern Minnesota, Lisa loves antiquing, visiting Minnesota wineries, riding motorcycles, and catching live shows at Minnesota’s many music venues.
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