Minnesota is an extremely diverse and culturally rich state. Every part of Minnesota offers a different type of adventure, immersed in rich history, unique culture, and rare attractions. There’s truly something for everyone in the Bread and Butter State!
But when you only have 2-3 days on your hands and you’re craving a weekend escape full of adventure and wonder, no place can serve you better than Minneapolis, MN. Minneapolis is one-half of the famous twin cities in Minnesota. Saint Paul, the state’s capital, is the other twin.
Those who love the general ambiance and hustle and bustle of the city will find numerous museums with riveting collections in Minneapolis. Nature enthusiasts will find their work cut out for them with Minneapolis’s numerous lakes.
You can take the straight route from Minneapolis to Fort Wayne via Intersection 94, but where would be the fun in that? The best part of a road trip is that you get to control where you go. We suggest spicing up your trip by taking Intersection-35 and then switching from one highway to another to hit all the interesting spots along the way.
In northeast Indiana, the city of Fort Wayne is filled with landmarks and gems like the ball field that catalyzed a downtown revival and of course, the Allen County Courthouse ‑ a National Historic Landmark. The city will keep you occupied with its heritage trail, delicious food, and plenty of recreational activities.
Owatonna, MN is home to the historic Minnesota State Public School Orphanage Museum. It would be a shame not to visit this place and learn about its history before exiting state borders. Places like these not only expand your knowledge but also make you appreciate your circumstances and the importance of never taking things for granted. Perhaps that’s why this museum is extremely popular among families.
The history of this structure dates back to the years between 1886 and 1945, when 10,635 orphaned, abused, and abandoned children were sent here. This structure used to be the Minnesota State Public School for Dependent and Neglected Children in Owatonna.
Today, the museum tells the stories of those kids via pictures, stories, belongings, and artifacts. The museum also holds the State School Kids' Memorial, Children's Cemetery, FlagPole Plaza, and Rock Garden. You can take the outdoor tour to learn more about all that happened here so many years ago.
Timbavati Wildlife Park in Wisconsin Dells allows you to get comfortable with friendly and tame animals and get to know them in a way that you would never be able to elsewhere. It is one of the best choices to stop by as you exit Minnesota and enter the state of Wisconsin.
If you are a wildlife enthusiast or are traveling with kids who love animals making a stop here is simply a no-brainer. This wildlife park is home to more than 400 animals and 70 diverse species and is extremely informative in addition to being fun and exciting.
That’s not all, the Wildlife Park also has quite a collection of park activities to keep the kids entertained for even longer. The park is home to the Old Fort Dells Engine Number 9 train and plenty of other interesting exhibits.
While big cities seem to have the most happening ambiance, do not underestimate the charm and joy of beautiful and quaint towns surrounded by forests and water. Fortunately, just a two hours drive south of Timbavati Wildlife Park, you’ll come across an idyllic river town called Galena.
This town is everything you imagine a magical little town to be and more. It has cobbled streets lined with historic buildings and mansions and offers plenty of outdoor recreational opportunities.
You can hike the bluffs overlooking the Mississippi River or take thrilling rafting trips in the river’s fast-waters. In winter, road trippers can even enjoy a good dose of skiing in addition to other winter activities.
Galena might be small but it has been home to some truly famous people such as Ulysses S. Grant, whose residence can be toured by the visitors. The Galena & U.S. Grant Museum, the DeSoto and Washburne Houses, Galena River and the Jail Hill Inn are some of the top attractions of this picturesque town.
A two-hour drive from the city of Chicago, Starved Rock State Park is one of the biggest and most popular attractions of the state of Illinois. That is why we totally encourage this out-of-the-way, yet completely worth-it stop.
One look at the view offered by this park, and you’ll understand what the hype is all about. Dwelling in this immense sanctuary of nature lies 18 spectacular canyons, 14 breathtaking waterfalls, massive sandstone bluffs, the mesmerizing Illinois River and plenty of flora and fauna.
You can book a campsite for your RV and explore the 13-mile long hiking trail or head to the water to enjoy boating and fishing in this serene outdoor setting. This is a great place to either spend the day or set up camp for the night.
One can also take a tour of the historical rock where the Illinois Indians took refuge in the 1760s for fear of death after one of them killed the chief of the Ottawa tribe. Legends have it that they died of starvation – hence the name. While Starved Rock State Park remains green and beautiful throughout the year, its beauty is magnified tenfold during the winter months.
Fort Wayne, IN, is a lively city that is sure to give you fond memories no matter where you go. The downtown streets are one of the most popular attractions of the city with numerous festivals keeping the city alive and vibrant all year round.
Germanfest, Rib Fest, and Taste of the Arts allow you to treat your taste buds and your eyes with the absolute best food complimented with fine arts. Fort Wayne is also known for its Music showcases in venues like the Brass Rail, the Tiger Room, Fort Waynes Embassy Theatre, and the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum.
The city also offers a number of family-friendly activities such as the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo – one of the top ten zoos in the USA.