The Southern Region
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To say the southern region of Minnesota, home to dramatically rising bluffs and deep river valleys is unique, is quite the understatement. It’s also home to the Bed and Breakfast capital of Minnesota, which makes it a truly wonderful candidate for your vacation.
The landscapes of southern Minnesota are one of the biggest draws to the area. The scenery here is breathtakingly beautiful. This part of Minnesota is often called the Driftless Area, which means it was left untouched by glaciers moving through the area long ago, leaving behind dramatic scenery that is anything but typical in the relatively flat midwest. In the heart of southern Minnesota, you’ll find the Mississippi River flowing from its headwaters in northwestern Minnesota and making its way south towards the Gulf of Mexico. Spreading out from there are many small, quiet streams that wind their way through scenic valleys, all nestled among tall, wooded Mississippi Bluffs. The Minnesota River reaches across rich farmland, where you’ll find patches of prairie, and remnants of the grasslands that once blanketed this diverse area.
All across southern Minnesota, you’ll find numerous historic sites recalling the spirit and traditions of the Dakota Indians and early pioneers that settled this area. The communities of southern Minnesota are well-known for their antique shops, ethnic festivals, and historic architecture.
German settlers were prevalent in the southern region. The city of New Ulm proudly showcases its Heritage with a glockenspiel and a popular Oktoberfest festival. Meanwhile, cities like Lanesboro, the Bed and Breakfast capital of Minnesota, proudly show off their Scandinavian heritage. Other top attractions near our southern Minnesota Bed and Breakfasts include the National Eagle Center in Wabasha, the Pipestone National Monument, the SPAM Museum in Austin, the Minnesota Marine Art Museum in Winona, Lark Toys in Kellogg, and the regionally-acclaimed Commonweal Theater in Lanesboro.
Those interested in history will enjoy seeing some of the oldest architecture in the state in Faribault, which boasts the largest commercial district on the National Register of Historic Places. This downtown area includes a variety of 150-year old businesses, such as the Faribault Woolen Mills and Shattuck-St. Mary's School. Faribault is also the birthplace of the popular carnival ride, Tilt-A-Whirl. A prize Prairie-Style bank graces downtown Owatonna, and there are several historic mills along the Cannon Valley region that exhibit an important part of Minnesota's economic history. Most of these mills pre-date those featured at the Mill City Museum in the Twin Cities. Wabasha, the setting of the famous movie Grumpy Old Men, is also home to the oldest running hotel on the west side of the Mississippi River.
Though the cities are undoubtedly charming, southern Minnesota is also incredibly beautiful and popular with nature lovers. The Mississippi River runs wide at Lake Pepin, and the valley here is one of the most lovely in the country. People come from all over the midwest to fish the area’s exceptional trout streams and fishing lakes and to bike the popular Minnesota bike trails here, which include the Cannon River Valley Bike Trail, the Sakatah Singing Hills bike trail, and the Root River State Trail. There are even cave tours at places like Forestville/Mystery Cave State Park than allow for a little underground exploration.
After a filling breakfast at a Minnesota Bed and Breakfast, the area will be yours to explore. Come visit Southern Minnesota, and be surprised at how much you find to see and do!