Weekend Getaways Near Minneapolis

When you need a break from the metro's hustle and bustle, these weekend getaways are within a roughly 250-mile radius. 

As a veritable Midwest beacon of culture and hospitality, Minneapolis is home to some of the most exciting restaurants, events, shows and shops the region has to offer. But if you're craving a break from the North Star state's largest city, there's much to see and do within an (almost) 250-mile radius. Visit nostalgic lake towns, forge new paths in a nearby state park or find bliss amid starry skies. To help you plan, we've compiled a short list of weekend getaway ideas from Minneapolis.

Bluffs along the Root River Trail
Root River Trail. Justin Salem Meyer

Lanesboro, Minnesota—130 miles from Minneapolis

Situated on the South Fork of the Root River in southeastern Minnesota, Lanesboro is an artsy little enclave ripe for exploration. Parkway Market and Coffeehouse is a popular spot to fuel for a day of adventure. Catch a show at one of the town's theaters, like the professional Commonweal Theatre, now in its 35th season, or wander amid creative works from 90 regional artists at Lanesboro Arts. Stretch your legs by cycling or walking part of the 60-mile Root River State Trail System, one of the most celebrated in a state known for its bike trails. On water, consider kayaking or tubing with Root River Outfitters; the Root River is known for its gentle flow and few to no rapids.

Nisswa, Minnesota Grand View Lodge
Grand View Lodge. Graddy Photography

Nisswa, Minnesota—140 miles from Minneapolis

Nisswa is a nostalgic small-town base for lake country exploration. Stay at one of the state's premier resorts, Grand View Lodge, which boasts Gull Lake frontage, a newly refurbished spa, multiple eateries and private cabin accommodations. Nisswa is also home to part of the Paul Bunyan State Trail, Minnesota's longest rail-to-trail pathway, running from Brainerd to Bemidji. It's a prime route for biking, walking and jogging in warmer months and snowmobiling during winter. Nisswa's Main Street charms with shops and restaurants. StoneHouse Coffee & Roastery whips up craft coffee beverages and scones; The Chocolate Ox will satisfy cravings for fudge, ice cream, truffles and taffy.

Couple walking by exterior of the Oxbow Hotel
Oxbow Hotel. Dana Halferty

Eau Claire, Wisconsin—90 miles from Minneapolis

Just 90 minutes east of Minneapolis, Eau Claire is the fastest-growing city in Wisconsin. A new children's museum, great music festivals and one of the nation's largest sculpture tours are just a few reasons for Twin Cities residents to make the quick weekend trip. On your visit, scoop up souvenirs at The Local Store, which features work from area artisans that embrace life in the Chippewa Valley, then enjoy actual scoops at Ramone's Ice Cream Parlor, which donates all tips to area nonprofits. The Oxbow Hotel equips guests with complimentary cruisers to explore downtown; the hotel's on-site dining and rotating mural project are also noteworthy. For those seeking more outdoor connection, the Eau Claire and Chippewa rivers converge in town, creating ample opportunities to hike and kayak.

Detroit Lakes - Fair Hills Resort
Fair Hills Resort. John Noltner

Detroit Lakes, Minnesota—200 miles from Minneapolis

More than 400 lakes surround this west-central town in the heart of Minnesota's lake country, and in summer, its sandy beaches beckon travelers looking for water recreation. During your visit, save room for delicious (and quirky) peanut butter pizza from local legend Zorbaz and score treasures at the Shady Hollow Flea Market (open in summer only). Fair Hills Resort will take you and your kids back to the days of sleepaway camp with lakeside cabins, all-ages activities, included meals and family-friendly entertainment.

Vikre Distillery in Duluth.; Vikre Distillery by road at dusk
Ryan Donnell

Duluth, Minnesota—155 miles from Minneapolis

The North Shore's rugged beauty stretches for 154 miles along the North Shore All-American Scenic Drive (Highway 61), a nationally acclaimed trek that starts in Duluth then passes through state parks and small lake towns along Lake Superior before ending in Grand Portage. After a day of sightseeing, congregate at female-owned Vikre Distillery in Duluth's Canal Park for a classic Scandinavian spirit, aquavit. Satisfy an appetite for smoked fish and meat sandwiches (or grab charcuterie for a picnic) at Northern Waters Smokehaus. Make strolling around Canal Park, cone in hand from Grandma's Boxcar, the cherry on top of your tour—and enjoy the view of the famous Aerial Life Bridge. Cool hotels and inns in the area, as well as cozy cabin Airbnbs, add to the fun of overnight stays.

Dubuque, Iowa, Fenelon Place Elevator
Fenelon Place Elevator. Ackerman + Gruber

Dubuque, Iowa—250 miles from Minneapolis

Dubuque is a compelling riverside getaway for outdoor exploration, history and adventure—particularly if you have a long weekend on the horizon. This Great River Road destination offers plentiful birding opportunities as part of the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge. Just south of Dubuque, Mines of Spain Recreation Area features 1,437 acres of wilderness for hiking and nature-filled discoveries. Back in town, ride the Fenelon Place Elevator (the world's shortest and steepest), learn about the ecology of the river at National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium, stop and smell the roses at the award-winning Dubuque Arboretum or kick back with a craft beer from 7 Hills Brewing Co. In the Old Main District, Hotel Julien Dubuque, a refurbished boutique hotel and former haunt of Al Capone, is a romantic retreat with an onsite restaurant and spa.

Bayfield's marina Wisconsin
Kevin J. Miyazaki/Redux

Bayfield, Wisconsin—210 miles from Minneapolis

Situated on the Lake Superior National Scenic Byway, one of Wisconsin's best road trips, this harbor town serves as the gateway to the nearly 70,000-acre Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. Visitors can camp and hike on its rocky shores as well as scuba dive and paddle in pristine waters. Don't miss the Bayfield Maritime Museum for a dose of Great Lakes history, or a rejuvenating stay at Wild Rice Retreat, a wellness- and arts-focused sanctuary in the woods overlooking the lake.

Mirror Lake State Park
Mirror Lake State Park. Ginger Crichton

Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin—215 miles from Minneapolis

As Waterpark Central, the Dells has long been a family-favorite weekend getaway from the Twin Cities. Noah's Ark Waterpark is perhaps its most famous draw, but those looking for a quieter escape can stay at the rustic-luxe, 600-acre Wilderness Resort (or the adults-only Sundara Inn and Spa). Two state parks also make the Dells a great base to explore Wisconsin's scenic wilderness. At Devil's Lake State Park, the most-visited and larger of the two, see dramatic quartzite bluffs, rock formations and a portion of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail. Mirror Lake State Park, named for its calm, central body of water, features a swimming beach and myriad wildlife viewing opportunities throughout its 2,200-acre footprint.

Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness Minnesota
Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. Kevin J. Miyazaki

Ely, Minnesota—245 miles from Minneapolis

Take advantage of a long weekend to journey to one of Minnesota's most remote and tranquil areas surrounding Ely: the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. Thousands of lakes and streams prime for paddling and boating spread over a million acres, including misty, boreal forest. Throughout the year, this official dark sky sanctuary might brilliantly showcase the Northern Lights. If you prefer the comforts of a home stay to camping or rustic lodge accommodations, you'll find plenty of vacation rentals in the area. In town, learn North Woods skills and crafts at the Ely Folk School. Grab classic pub grub from the Boathouse BrewPub or an upscale bite from Insula.

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