Edit ModuleShow Tags

Destination: Pipestone

Civil War Days and Pipestone National Monument make Pipestone a rich historical destination


People firing a cannon at Pipestone Civil War Days.
Pipestone Civil War Days

Photo courtesy Kate Heller

Located in the very southwest corner of Minnesota, Pipestone is just 47 miles northeast of Sioux Falls and 197 miles (3 hours and 30 minutes) from Minneapolis. This weekend, take a trip down to Pipestone and celebrate Civil War Days, explore Pipestone National Monument, and, for a weekend trip, try camping at Split Rock Creek State Park, just seven miles south of Pipestone.

Every town has its celebration, and for Pipestone it’s Pipestone Civil War Days, which is taking place this weekend, Aug. 11–12, at Hiawatha Pageant Park. The two-day event is considered a tribute to the town’s past, and reenactors and performers work to transport visitors back to the 1860s with daily battle reenactments, cannon demonstrations, and vintage baseball games along with a Civil War Tea and Civil War Ball, among other activities. Attendees can snap a selfie with a statue of Abe Lincoln, grab food from one of the many vendors, and see collections of over 200-plus Civil War guns on display.

Individual, weekend, and family tickets and passes are available for purchase at the front gate, which opens at 8 a.m. both days.

For more history, make sure to stop by Pipestone National Monument, and learn more about Native American culture; the red pipestone which is quarried for prayer ceremonies by the Plains tribe; and the natural, untouched prairie. A visitors center contains educational displays, and the Circle and Quarry Trails allow for visitors to explore the grounds—the Circle Trail will lead you to the Winnewissa Falls.

If you’re hoping to make a weekend out of it, book a campsite at Split Rock Creek State Park, which has hiking trails and a swimming beach, or if you’re hoping to stay in Pipestone, check out the Historic Calumet Inn, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and complete with a coffee shop called Cal’s Coffee House.

If Pipestone is too far a trek, check out two more festivals this weekend that also shine the light on some culture and history:

Irish Fair (Aug. 10-12)

Although there aren't as many historic reenactors, the live entertainment, food, dance, and talks will make you feel like you've gotten a healthy glimpse into the Emerald Isle at the largest free Irish fair in the country. Check out all that's happening here.

Legends and Logging Days (Aug. 9-12)

On closer inspection, Park Rapids' Legends and Logging Days doesn't really dive into the culture of lumberjacks, but hey, their Jack and Jill lumberjack competitions are pretty fun to watch as people go head to head on challenges like stacking log cookies, bow saw speed, and hammerschlagen. Plus, there is some history with its family-friendly programming.

Between events, watch master chainsaw artists demonstrate their art form and take a look back in time with Civil War canon exhibits, black powder demonstrations, Dutch oven cooking samples, and more. Schedule in some downtime at the Sip and Paint with Nate on Friday, the beer garden Friday and Saturday, or the free beach concert on Sunday (donations go toward the Kinship of the Park Rapids Area). If the lumberjack games have your own competitive juices flowing, sign up for the bean bag toss tournament on Saturday.

Edit ModuleShow Tags

About This Blog

Whether you are a seasoned Twin Cities traveler or planning your first trip to Minnesota, this blog will introduce you to many new adventures to add to your itinerary. From day trips and scenic discoveries to luxurious girls weekends, travel tips, and insider scoops, our editors will give you all the information you need to enjoy your stay Up North.

Learn about the contributing writers.

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Travel Blog

Journeys: How to Love Baseball While Knowing Little to Nothing about It

Whether you’re a fan for life or an ultra casual like me, baseball is a sport for the summer

A Gala Befitting Glensheen

At the Glensheen Gala, you can explore the gardens, see normally closed-off spots, and relish in the after party along Lake Superior

Seven Days of California Adventure

New adventures await in California, even for Travel Club guide and travel editor Todd Walker

The Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe Traditional Powwow This Weekend

The Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe welcomes the public to enjoy traditional dancing, drum ceremonies, and contests

A Day Trip to the North Loop

Just north and west of Target Field, North Loop has some of the best restaurants and shops in Minneapolis

The Museum of Pizza Has Minnesota Ties

Todd about Town: New York's new museum dedicated to pizza came from a U of M alum

Spa Central

When it comes to relaxation and rejuvenation, the Twin Cities do it right

A Bay Area Break

Go on a worry-free, weeklong vacation to San Francisco, Lake Tahoe, and Napa Valley, with the Minnesota Monthly Travel Club

This Week’s Top Artist Picks

Sam Smith, Reba McEntire, and Rod Stewart come to Minnesota

3 Fairs This Weekend

Celebrate Minnesota’s heritage—by raising a glass at the country’s biggest free Irish fair, by marveling at fierce lumberjack competitions, or by slipping into Civil War re-enactments

Ramsey Falls: A Photo Essay

Picturesque bridges, four miles of hiking trails, a gorgeous waterfall, and more await at Ramsey Park in Redwood Falls

Journeys: A Civil War Woman

Pipestone Civil War Days reenactor Kate Heller talks about what the festival is like, how she began reenacting, and how her Civil War Days wedding went

Destination: Pipestone

Civil War Days and Pipestone National Monument make Pipestone a rich historical destination

Irish Fair of Minnesota

Pure bagpipin' bliss
Edit ModuleEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags