Minnesota’s 10 Best Summer Break Activities

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Summer break will soon be upon us – and instead of wasting your days stuck inside savoring the A/C, grab the local bull by the horns and enjoy some (one-or-all) of the many warm weather activities Minnesota has to offer.

In no particular order – and with all of the bias that comes from being a proud Minnesotan – here are a few ideas to get you started.

Go swimming at the Quarries In Waite Park, MN – Just outside St. Cloud is a 100-year-old red granite quarry that’s been transformed into a park and nature preserve. You can enjoy, swimming, rock climbing, scuba diving, nature walks, cross-country skiing, mountain biking and trout fishing.

Music Festivals – Just another way to be outside and also spend time with people close to you who love all the same songs you do. Go to a music festival, or music outdoors (Lowertown Sounds, anyone?), socializing, food trucks and other extracurricular un-speakables. If it’s your first time and you don’t want to spend the money or time for the whole thing, they usually offer a day pass. Rock the Garden, Eaux Claires, SoundSet

The Minnesota State Fair – Most counties and states have a fair once a year, but nothing like the MN State Fair. From blueberry donuts and grilled sweet corn to prize rabbits and mini horse shows, the two weeks the MN State Fair is open is barely enough time to enjoy it full-circle.

Mangonada Shave Ice: Mango-flavored shave ice drizzled with Mexican chamoy sauce, dusted with tajin chili powder, topped with popping mango boba pearls and served with a tamarind candy straw. Photo courtesy of the Minnesota State Fair.

Travel across state lines to theWisconsin Dells – With one of the nation’s largest concentrations of water parks, there is no doubt its a great summer “must do” – especially if you have the whole family to entertain.

Visit the National Eagle Center in Wabasha, MN – More eagles gather here than any other place in the United States (if not the world). Travel down to the historic town of Wabasha and learn a few things about our country’s most-famous bird, see them live, and search for more local birds of prey with some fun-and-dynamic interactive tools.

Go camping at one of the many Minnesota State Parks – There is no doubt that this list is compiled of lots of things having to do with water, but Minnesota’s vast wilderness is gorgeous as well, and you should get out and spend a night (or two, or three…) in it. Our favorite? Head north of Duluth to see some beautiful northern lights at Gooseberry Falls State Park.

Here’s the full list: Minnesota State Parks

Visit an Art Crawl – Both Mpls and STP both have booming artist districts, with one of the highest concentration of ceramic artist in the US. Visit an art crawl in STP or Mpls and score your self some one of a kind pieces while support your neighbors.

Coming up: Flow Art Crawl

Bike around the lakes – With paved trails and plenty of stunning lake scenery, this is always a solid Saturday morning idea – or any time, really. With leasable e-bikes now on almost every corner of Minneapolis, you really have no excuse!

Plan your route here: Move Minneapolis

Take a day trip to Stillwater – Spend the day is a small river town with tons to do: Hiking trails, parks, restaurants, shops. Added bonus: Stillwater is one of the most beautiful cities in Minnesota for a simple stroll. Pro tip: Go and explore the Joseph Wolff Brewery caves through what used to be an Italian coffee shop.

Downtown Stillwater painting by Michael Birawer, www.michaelbirawer.com

Read this next: Free Museums & Art Attractions in the Twin Cities

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Born and raised in the suburbs of Saint Paul, MN, Brandon has immersed himself into being a local and sustainable advocate for delicious living. Working for the best Chef’s in the Twin Cities before becoming the Residence Chef at the Minnesota Governor’s Residence and personal Chef for the Zimmern family. Foraging, eating, parenting, writing, cycling, consulting, catering and hosting pop up dinners are what his free time entails.