When you embark on a campervan road trip, you have a few expectations in mind: scenic routes, a diversity of attractions, and good infrastructure. But your most important expectation is peace of mind.
All you really want at the end of the day is a break from your frantic routines and revel in a change of scenery. Luckily for you, Minnesota has no shortage of options when it comes to enchanting and otherworldly landscapes and attractions.
With its vast amount of state parks, lakes and terrains, one of the more underrated things to do in Minnesota is simply cruising from town to town while exploring the variety of the North Star state.
So, are you ready for your grand getaway? Here are some ideas for road trips for campervans in Minnesota.
North Shore All-American Scenic Drive
The North Shore All-American Scenic Drive is a 150-mile stretch of a picturesque and breathtaking route along the shores of the grand Lake Superior.
If you didn’t already know, Lake Superior is the world’s largest lake by surface area, holding 10% of the world’s freshwater supply. Moreover, the lake transcends geographical borders between the United States and Canada.
As such, Lake Superior is Minnesota’s gem, home to diverse wildlife and magical sights. On your drive, you’ll visit countless beaches, historical sites, lighthouses, waterfalls, woodlands, and state parks.
Here is how you can plan the most magical Minnesota road trips in a campervan.
- Distance: 150 Miles
- Departure: Canal Park, Duluth
- Destination: Grand Portage State Park
- Main Attractions: Lake Superior, Gooseberry Waterfalls, Grand Portage State Park
Start off slow and dip your toes in the waters of Lake Superior at Stoney Point Beach.
Situated between Duluth and Two Harbors, Stoney Point Beach is the perfect way to start becoming acquainted with Lake Superior. In fact, people specifically go here during storms to witness the Lake’s mighty waves.
Gooseberry Falls State Park
Notorious for its gushing waterfalls, the Gooseberry Falls State Park is roughly 40 miles along North Shore Drive.
The park offers countless trails through the woods along which you can bike as well. Each trail will lead you to some part of Lake Superior, be it waterfalls, wildlife, or the lake itself.
Split Rock Lighthouse
If you want to take a stroll through Minnesotan history, the Split Rock Lighthouse is your gateway. Opened in 1909, this lighthouse is a historical landmark. Its Beacon has guided thousands of water vessels as they travel across Lake Superior.
If you enjoy skiing, you’ll definitely enjoy the Midwest’s largest and tallest ski area.
Spread over four hills, the Lutsen Mountains offer skiers and snowboarders 95 sweeping runs. If you’re not a fan of skiing, you can enjoy slopeside views while riding gondola lifts.
Minnesota Road Trips For Waterfall Lovers
With such an extensive system of waterbodies coursing through it, the Land of 10,000 Lakes is bound to have some magnificent cascades.
Most of the waterfalls in Minnesota are situated in state parks. Luckily for campervan travellers, this means that these must-see waterfalls are highly accessible.
Hence, they are the perfect destinations for road trips for campervans in Minnesota.
So, if you find waterfalls just as majestic as we do, this itinerary should be at the top of your campervan road trips list.
- Distance: 137 miles
- Departure: Gooseberry Waterfalls State Park, Two Harbors
- Destination: Grand Portage State Park
- Main attractions: Gooseberry Falls, The Devil’s Kettle, The High Falls
In this road trip for campervans in Minnesota itinerary, you will check off seven of the grandest waterfalls in a single-day trip.
Of course, you can always set up camp in one of the state parks and turn it into a weekend road trip if you want.
The Gooseberry Falls are located in the Gooseberry Falls state park in Two Harbors. Featuring three levels of rushing cascades, these falls are a sight to behold in any weather.
High Falls And Illgen Falls
19 miles ahead lies our next stop: the Tettegouche State Park. Here, you can trek between the High Falls and the lower Illgen Falls; both situated a few miles away from each other.
Cascades State Park Waterfalls
The next stop lies a further 40 miles along the route at the Cascade River State Park, just ahead of the Lutsen mountains.
Home to a number of different waterfalls, this state park might tempt you to stay for the whole day and explore its hidden gems.
The Devil’s Kettle
Lake Superior buries its mysteries and secrets in the depths of the Devil’s Kettle. Indeed, this unusual waterfall is a strange sight to behold; it seems to plunge into solid rock and then just disappears.
The High Falls
The final stop lies near the US-Canada border in the Grand Portage State Park. Home to Minnesota’s largest waterfall, the High Falls are the perfect way to end your waterfall crusade.
The Wonders of Minnesota Road Trip
If you’re looking for something a little more extensive, this is one of the longest Minnesota road trips in a camper van.
Starting out at the southwestern corner of Minnesota in the humble town of Laverne, this road trip takes you all the way to the northwestern tip of Minnesota. In between, you’ll make stops at Minnesota’s greatest natural marvels.
- Distance: 700 miles
- Departure: Blue Mound State Park, Laverne
- Destination: Grand Portage State Park
- Main attractions: Blue Mound State Park, Boundary Water Canoe Area, Eagle Mountain
Blue Mound State Park
You will start your road trip at the Blue Mound State Park. Here, you will see Quartzite cliffs, wild Bison, prickly pear cactuses, and other flora and fauna.
Interstate State Park
A long 265-mile drive later, you’ll reach your next stop: the Interstate State Park. Not many people know this, but the colorful and layered cliff formations are actually the result of volcanic activity over 1.1 billion years ago!
Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness
This stretch of untouched and pure wilderness truly looks like heaven on Earth. Spread over 1,000,000 acres, this wilderness area boasts beautiful mountains and lakes alike. No doubt, you’ll have to camp out here for a few days to fully take it all in.
Minnesota isn’t all lakes, rivers, and waterfalls. On the contrary, the Eagle Mountain (your second-last stop before the Grand Portage State Park) will remind you just how diverse Minnesota’s landscapes really are.
Minnesota Road Trips for Christmas
Christmas comes but once a year. But with these Christmastown road trips for campervans in Minnesota, you’ll feel like you’re celebrating anew in each town.
What’s more; you can easily clear this short trip through southern Minnesota in a weekend. But be warned; the Christmas Spirit in these charming towns might make you want to stay forever.
To kick off our Christmas road trip is the charming historic town of Stillwater. You’ll notice that the town likes to embrace its history in the most quirky ways around Christmas time: through Victorian carolers and horse-drawn carriages.
168 miles southwards hides another gem of a town nestled near the Mississippi River. High in holiday cheer, the town goes all out on Christmas, with trolley rides, concerts, and endless holiday shopping.
If you want to fully revel in Owatonna’s Christmas cheer, you might want to plan an overnight stay here. You’ll find that Owatonna prides itself on its arts and culture, which is always the center of attention around the holidays.
Mankato boasts a grandiose display of Christmas Lights in Kiwanis Christmas Lights Display. If you miss it on Christmas, you can still witness the lights up until New Years’. Check out these other top things to do in Mankato while you are in town.
You will end your Christmas Minnesota Road trips in Minnesota’s German town. Here, you can witness the Schell’s Brewery Christmas Luminary in full swing.
The Perfect Halloween Campervan Road Trips
Speaking of the Holiday season, why not plan a trip celebrating the Halloween spirit? Sure, Halloween doesn’t necessarily scream holiday cheer. But why pass on an opportunity to plan an eccentric yet meaningful road trip in the spirit of Spooktober?
Here’s another win for Halloween-themed campervan road trips: you can do them any time of the year. After all, the mysterious and the supernatural never rest.
Pack a few jackets, though, because these mysterious ghost towns and ruins of Minnesota will send a chill down your spine.
- Distance: 804 miles
- Departure: Umore Park
- Destination: Fergus Falls Historic State Hospital
- Main attractions: Umore Park, Banning State Park, Tanner Hospital, Rouchleau Mine
You will begin this daring exploration in an abandoned factory site. As it was used to produce gunpowder in World War II, this park serves as a haunting reminder of a tragic history.
Banning State Park
The Banning State Park is home to rushing rivers and roaring waterfalls. But hidden beneath these is the abandoned Banning Sandstone Quarry. Though it was bustling from the 1800s to 1905, its ashy ruins will remind you that everything must come to an end.
Yes, abandoned hospitals are a Halloween cliche. But this beautiful 100-year old building is a reminder that Minnesota’s architecture deserves as much praise as its mountains, lakes, and wildlife.
Fergus Falls Regional Treatment Center
Abandoned in 2005, the Fergus Falls Regional Treatment Center holds bittersweet memories. It was originally a mental hospital but soon became a rehabilitation center for people with chemical dependencies.
Author Bio: Kyle Kroeger is a travel blogger for his site ViaTravelers.com. Via Travelers is a modern travel blog providing the best tips, hacks, and itineraries to ensure you have an amazing adventure. Check ’em out on Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, and YouTube.
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