Best Road Trips From Minneapolis

Minneapolis is famous for its sleek skyline and beautiful scenic surroundings, and is the perfect base for exploring. Head to quaint towns on the Mississippi River, glacial lakes to the north, and drive through America's heartland to lively cities and stunning National Parks.

Top Road Trip Destinations From Minneapolis

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Our rankings are based only on editorial opinion, not any commercial consideration.
Beautiful Niagara Falls on a clear sunny day. Niagara, Canada

🚗 960 miles ⏱️ 14 hours

Embark on a scenic journey from Minneapolis to Niagara Falls to experience the breath taking views and iconic mist of the Falls. A bucket-list destination, which needs to be seen to be believed.

Take a southern journey and you'll pass through Wisconsin Dells, Madison, and on to Chicago where a stop-off is a must, before travelling alongside gorgeous Lake Erie.

Unique rock formations in the forest at Wisconsin Dells

🚗 270 miles ⏱️ 4 hours, 40 minutes

Journey from Minneapolis to Wisconsin Dells for a fun-filled getaway perfect for families, where you'll experience beautiful lakes and colorful forests in this outdoor adventure.

Head direct and you can enjoy stops at vibrant Rochester and stunning Lake Pepin, before travelling the Historic Bluff Country Scenic Byway.

Stillwater, MN, USA with an overcast sunrise at St Croix River, and trees in the distance.

Minneapolis to Stillwater

🚗 26 miles ⏱️ 30 minutes

Enjoy a quick and scenic drive from Minneapolis to Stillwater. This beautiful but underrated city with a lively Main Street with impressive early 20th-century architecture and over 100 miles of biking trails.

If you are visiting in winter then make sure to stop off at Afton, ideal for winter sports on the Afton Alps, and isn't too far away.

Spectacular  mountain formations of the Badlands National Park in South Dakota.

🚗 520 miles ⏱️ 8 hours

Drive from Minneapolis to explore the rugged beauty and dramatic landscapes of Badlands National Park, a remarkable haven for fossil hunters and nature lovers.

Head direct and you enjoy the delights of southern Minnesota, with Sioux Falls, unique Corn Museum in Mitchell, and Chamberlain, just some memorable stops we recommend.

Chicago, Illinois, USA downtown skyline from Lincoln Park at early evening.

🚗 400 miles ⏱️ 6 hours, 10 minutes

Take the Southern Route from Minneapolis to Chicago and experience the vibrant culture, iconic architecture, and bustling nightlife of the Windy City.

As you follow the border between Minnesota and Wisconsin, this trip passes stunning sites including Great River Bluffs State Park, La Crosse, Lower Wisconsin State Riverway and Madison.

Porcupine Mountains State park in Upper Michigan, USA with a view of the Lake of the Clouds at sunset with rocks and trees in the foreground.

Minneapolis to Upper Peninsula

🚗 372 miles ⏱️ 6 hours, 47 minutes

This trip takes you to the very best of Michigan's Upper Peninsula, not only the highest landmass in the state but is also surrounded by three of the Great Lakes

There are hiking options galore both north of the peninsula near Munising, and at the Porcupine Mountains along the northwestern edge. Mackinac Island is also a short drive east.

Des Moines, Iowa, USA taken at the State Capitol with the arch in the foreground and taken at night.

Minneapolis to Des Moines

🚗 244 miles ⏱️ 3 hours, 36 minutes

Travel from Minneapolis to Des Moines, the capital of Iowa, proving hands-down, that there's a lot more to Iowa than the corn fields, and instead a culturally vibrant city, with a fabulous foodie scene.

As you pass through Mason City why not stop off at Clear Lake, Iowa's largest lakes and one of the Midwest's most popular fishing spots.

Mount Rushmore, South Dakota, USA with the sculptures of Four United States Presidents at sunrise against a blue sky.

🚗 600 miles ⏱️ 8 hours, 50 minutes

Set off from Minneapolis to Mount Rushmore, where you can marvel at the rich history of the American presidents carved into the granite face.

Although this is a direct route there is plenty to enjoy along the way, including visits to Mankato, Sioux Falls, Chamberlain and a more lengthy stop to explore Badlands National Park.

Vermillion Falls, Hastings, Minnesota, USA taken at the site of an urban waterfall next to an old factory on a sunny day with trees surrounding.

Minneapolis to Hastings

🚗 30 miles ⏱️ 37 minutes

Enjoy a quick drive from Minneapolis to Hastings, most certainly worth a visit. This small town has a rich agricultural history and as it is found along the confluence of the St. Croix, Vermillion, and great Mississippi River, it's also super scenic.

From Downtown Minneapolis, you'll cross Hastings Bridge, and then make a stop at popular Levee Park, just before you arrive in Hastings.

Arch Rock Mackinac Island, Michigan, USA on a sunny day.

🚗 540 miles ⏱️ 9 hours

Travel from Minneapolis through picturesque northern landscapes to Mackinac Island, best known for its timeless charm, car-free environment and fudge shops!

Check out some of these route highlights, including charming Eau Claire, Chippewa Falls and Green Bay, before reaching St Ignace where you can hop on the ferry to Mackinac Island.

Neon signs on Lower Broadway Area in Nashville, Tennessee, USA

🚗 910 miles ⏱️ 14 hours, 30 minutes

Embark on an exciting journey from Minneapolis to Nashville, soaking in musical histories, from the bluesy vibes of Chicago to the country roots of Nashville.

As well as passing the Windy City, recommended places to stop on the way include Tomah and New Lisbon, where you can visit Buckhorn State Park and Castle Rock Lake.

Big Woods State Park, Minnesota, USA with a great waterfall and trees behind.

Minneapolis to Northfield and Faribault

🚗 60 miles ⏱️ 1 hour, 5 minutes

Take a quick trip from Minneapolis and the Twin Cities to the Twin Towns of Northfield and Faribault for a trip filled with local history, outdoor exploration, arts, and crafts.

A short drive from Northfield in Minnesota is Big Woods State Park where you can hike, explore or discover a waterfall or two.

Bridge over calm Rum River Anoka Minnesota.

Minneapolis to Anoka

🚗 22 miles ⏱️ 25 minutes

Escape Minneapolis for Anoka, known as the "Halloween Capital of the World," offering quaint downtown shopping and seasonal festivals.

Just before Anoka you'll pass Coon Rapids, with The Bunker Hills Regional Park and Coon Rapids Dam Regional Park, both popular spots for some downtime.

Mile High Skyline, Denver, Colorado

🚗 873 miles ⏱️ 13 hours, 25 minutes

Journey from Minneapolis through South Dakota to Denver, and you'll experience stunning landscapes including the Badlands and Black Hills on your way to the Mile High City.

As you make your way to Denver don't pass by Sioux Falls without a visit, known for its stunning waterfalls at Falls Park.

Mississippi River, Minnesota/Wisconsin, USA with an aerial scenic view of the river and bluffs at sunset.

Minneapolis to Great River Road

🚗 177 miles ⏱️ 3 hours, 14 minutes

Drive along the scenic Great River Road from Minneapolis, is a case of the journey being the destination. and is strikingly beautiful, especially during the fall. Follow the majestic Mississippi River, dotted with stunning river towns and landscapes.

A great pit-stop and way to make this a tristate road trip, is to take Highway 25 from Wabasha over to Nelson and visit beautiful Nelson-Trevino Bottoms State Natural Area.

Brainerd lakes, Minnesota, USA with a yellow canoe on shore of calm lake with island at sunrise during autumn.

Minneapolis to Brainerd and Nisswa

🚗 145 miles ⏱️ 2 hours, 30 minutes

Explore the heart of Minnesota's lake district from Minneapolis to Brainerd and Nisswa, perfect for a weekend of fishing, shopping, and outdoor adventure. A trip here will be sure to revitalize your connection with mother nature.

Pillsbury State Forest is roughly halfway between Brainerd and Nisswa, and great for a scenic spring or fall drive.

Bright yellow entrance to Minnesota's Largest Candy Store is a popular tourist destination with the World's largest selection of soda

Minneapolis to Jordan

🚗 36 miles ⏱️ 40 minutes

Quickly reach Jordan from Minneapolis, a small town offering charming attractions like the Minnesota's Largest Candy Store and beautiful outdoor spaces.

Fancy enjoying a bit more of the great outdoors? Then visit Fisher Lake or Rice Lake en route to Jordan, both offering canoeing, kayaking, fishing and picnicking spots.

Madison, Wisconsin, USA downtown skyline at dusk on Lake Monona.

Minneapolis to Madison

🚗 269 miles ⏱️ 4 hours, 6 minutes

Travel from Minneapolis to Madison, a vibrant city known for its large university campus and beautiful lakeside views. This trip will have more of a cosmopolitan feel than the other Midwestern stops.

For a beautiful fall visit consider taking Highway 61 via Winona and cross over into Wisconsin at La Crosse, for a particularly memorable trip.

Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, Wisconsin, USA with a view of the rocky shores of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore with water in the foreground and blue sky.

Minneapolis to Apostle Islands National Lakeshore

🚗 230 miles ⏱️ 3 hours, 47 minutes

Drive from Minneapolis to the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore to explore the beauty of Lake Superior's coastal islands. This destination might make you think you're in the Mediterranean for a minute with its sapphire waters and sandstone cliffs. Wow!

Spend some time in Duluth on the way, with Canal Park, the Lake Superior Maritime Visitor Center, and scenic Lakewalk all worth a visit.

Red Wing, Minnesota, USA with a view of the G.A. Carlson Lime Kiln in the Barn Bluff hiking area on a sunny day.

Minneapolis to Red Wing

🚗 55 miles ⏱️ 1 hour

Enjoy a short trip from Minneapolis to Red Wing, a picturesque town along the Mississippi River, known for its towering bluffs and a great selection of 19th-century architecture. Red Wing is a popular weekend getaway.

Although you won't need to travel far, if you have the time then stops at Prescott and Hager City are worth a mention.

Alexandria, Minnesota, USA with an overlooking landscape view of the many lakes on a clear day.

Minneapolis to Alexandria

🚗 135 miles ⏱️ 2 hours, 5 minutes

Head from Minneapolis to Alexandria to experience classic Minnesota lake culture, with opportunities for boating, fishing, and exploring local history. Alexandria regularly makes it on lists of the best small towns in America. So, it's not just us who think it's worth a visit.

Be sure to explore some of the 55-mile long Central Lakes Trail which runs through Alexandria and the surrounding lakes.

Root River in Lanesboro, Minnesota, USA with mist rising from a Weir waterfall on the Root River on a cloudy day.

Minneapolis to Lanesboro and Decorah

🚗 160 miles ⏱️ 2 hours, 50 minutes

Explore the charm of Lanesboro and Decorah, a relatively short interstate trip from Minneapolis, which still packs a punch, taking you through the gorgeous countryside into Hawkeye State and two welcoming towns with strong Scandinavian roots.

En route make sure to stop off at Rochester, where you the Rochester Art Center and Silver Lake are just some of the main attractions.

Banning State Park, Sandstone, Minnesota, USA taken at Wolf Creek Falls on the Kettle River during fall with trees in the distance and leaves in the river.

Minneapolis to Duluth and Banning State Park

🚗 217 miles ⏱️ 3 hours, 5 minutes

Travel from Minneapolis to Duluth, full of iconic buildings and landmarks, including a 19th-century lighthouse. In addition to Duluth's Great Lake views, this route passes through the gorgeous Banning State Park.

Enjoy what Lake Superior's shores have to offer, with thrilling whitewater adventures on the Kettle River.

Lake Michigan, Door County, Wisconsin, USA with a dramatic coastal sunset taken at blue hour with rocks in the lake in the foreground.

Minneapolis to Door County

🚗 364 miles ⏱️ 5 hours, 51 minutes

Enjoy a picturesque drive along the peninsula, from Minneapolis to Door County. You'll wind through forests, along shimmering lakeshores, and past several fascinating towns which boast lighthouses and even shipwrecks offshore.

Door County is nestled between Green Bay and Lake Michigan so both can be enjoyed as you make your trip.

La Crosse, Wisconsin, USA taken at a Bluff with stunning views of the trees and town beyond.

Minneapolis to Winona and La Crosse

🚗 147 miles ⏱️ 2 hours, 50 minutes

This interstate trip features two beautiful and historic river towns in Minnesota and Wisconsin. Take a scenic drive from Minneapolis to the river towns of Winona and La Crosse, and you'll enjoy rich history, stunning river bluffs, and vibrant cultural scenes.

Travelling Highway 61 from Red Wing to Winona and La Crosse is considered one of Minnesota's most beautiful drives in the fall.

Grand Portage State Park, Minnesota, USA taken at the High Falls waterfall with trees surrounding it.

Minneapolis to Grand Marais

🚗 265 miles ⏱️ 4 hours, 19 minutes

Escape to Grand Marais from Minneapolis, a coastal village on the shores of Lake Superior. Dense and varied foliage, majestic waterfalls, and coastal vistas are all highlights of this rejuvenating drive to the furthest regions of the North Star State.

The beautiful town of Two Harbors is directly along this route, so feel free to stop there at your leisure.

Longer road trips from Minneapolis

Sunset view of the Seattle skyline from Kerry Park, in Seattle, Washington, USA

🚗 1,840 miles ⏱️ 32 hours

From Minneapolis to Seattle you can expect memorable major landmarks across northern US, before reaching the lively, coastal city of Seattle.

Glacier National Park, Montana, USA with fireweed blooming and the mountains in the distance taken on a sunny day.

🚗 1,335 miles ⏱️ 20 hours, 30 minutes

After a scenic journey from Minneapolis to Glacier National Park showcases the spectacular beauty of the Northern Rockies.

Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, USA with a closeup view of the Grand Prismatic Spring.

🚗 1,050 miles ⏱️ 16 hours, 10 minutes

Travel from Minneapolis to Yellowstone via Fargo, and you'll pass epic mountainous landscapes before reaching America's first national park.