Minnesota Sights and Views

Minnesota’s 8 National Park Sites

Did you know Minnesota has 8 National Park Sites? The National Park Service celebrates its 100th anniversary this month. Why not stay in a local engaging B&B community and take part in the celebration! Top to bottom, Minnesota’s National Park sites touch every region in the state.

Voyageurs National Park is a wMinnesota's National Park Sitesater-based park featuring some of the oldest exposed rock in the world (2.8 billion years old!) Glaciers, more than a mile high, scoured out the lake and river beds here and set the stage for vast forests. This area, where the southern boreal forest meets and mixes with the northern hardwood forest, is widely known for its wildlife viewing opportunities. Voyageurs is one of only two national parks in the continental United States with an indigenous population of the Eastern timber wolf.

Grand Portage National Monument, located on the north shore of Lake Superior in northeastern Minnesota, preserves a vital center of fur trade activity and Anishinaabeg Ojibwe heritage. The Grand Portage is an 8.5-mile footpath that bypasses a set of waterfalls and rapids on the last 20 miles of the Pigeon River, which is part of the historic trade route of the French-Canadian voyageurs. Nearby B&Bs are Pincushion Trails Inn and Poplar Creek Guesthouse.

North Country National Scenic Trail stretches approximately 4,600 miles from eastern New York to central North Dakota. While only a few have attempted to thru-hike the whole trail in one shot, thousands find their way onto a section of the Minnesota portion each year. Spring, summer, fall or winter, the trail offers something for everyone. Snowshoeing, long-distance trail running, a saunter through quiet spring meadows or vineyards, crossing salmon-filled rivers, a weekend with the grandkids…. you can find what you’re looking for on the North Country Trail, and right nearby! Leech Lake B&B and Park Street Inn are in communities where the trail is located.

Traveling to the Chippewa National Forest means traveling “up north”. The Forest, located in the heart of northern Minnesota, is a celebration of seasons, culture, and environment where you get to choose your own adventure! Visit the Green Heron B&B in nearby Grand Rapids.

Grab your paddle and your longing for adventure and head to the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway, offering over 200 miles of clean water that glides and rushes through a forested landscape. Paddle, boat, fish, and camp among this wild and scenic beauty. Hiking and historic towns also beckon featuring a wide array of B&Bs including the Afton House Inn, Aurora Staples Inn, Cover Park Manor, Maple Knoll InnThe Outing Lodge, Summit Inn Bed & Breakfast and the Water Street Inn.

The Mississippi National River and Recreation Area protects a 54,000-acre corridor along the Mississippi River from the cities of Dayton and Ramsey to just downstream of Hastings. In the middle of a bustling urban setting, this 72-mile river park offers quiet stretches for fishing, boating and canoeing.  Other spots are excellent for bird-watching, bicycling and hiking. If you are interested in the Mississippi River, this is a great place to start your exploration. Metro St. Paul B&Bs include Cathedral Hill B&B, Como Lake B&B, Corban Manor Inn, and Hotel 340.

The Circle Trail is a paved, 3/4 mile, walking trail that leads to several points of interest at Pipestone National Monument. The pipestone quarries are a significant site for many American Indian cultures because the pipestone quarried here is carved into pipes used for prayer. Many believe that the pipe’s smoke carries one’s prayer to the Great Spirit. The traditions of quarrying and pipemaking continue here today.

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