Edit ModuleShow Tags

Alexandria: The Wonder to the West


Usually, my family heads to the North Shore for summer vacations, but just to mix things up one year, we headed two hours west of the Twin Cities to Alexandria.

If you’re wondering, “What’s in Alexandria?” (affectionately referred to as ‘Alex’ or ‘Alec’ by the locals), I can honestly say there is a lot to see and a lot to do in this part of the state. It might not have the “crown jewels” of the North Shore—Superior National Forest and Lake Superior—but it has Lake Carlos State Park and shopping and good fishing and a fun nightlife and interesting historical attractions like the Runestone Museum and shopping and parks and wine and did I mention shopping? (I’m something of a shopaholic, and I love, love, loved the charming little downtown boutiques.)

We stayed at Crooked Willow Lodge on Lake Henry, a rustic log cabin with a wraparound deck perfect for grilling steak and sipping cocktails, complete with a private dock for the fishing fanatics in my family.

hiking in AleandriaWe spent some time relaxing at the lake, but we also wanted to explore the area. One afternoon we shopped in downtown Alex before heading to Bug-A-Boo Bay Caribbean Club for drinks and dinner (such a lively, energetic, fun environment! The “beachy” décor reminded me of my spring break adventures in Daytona Beach, Fla. and South Padre Island, Texas); another afternoon we drove a few miles to the beautiful Lake Carlos State Park, where we went on a looong hike, tossed the football around, and enjoyed a picnic lunch before the bees chased us away. We didn’t have a chance to stop in at the nearby Carlos Creek Winery, where my friends Amanda and Jon got engaged, but I plan on checking it out when I return (hopefully soon!).

That’s the thing with Alexandria,—you will run out of time before you run out of things to do. My future “to-do” list includes staying at Arrowwood Resort (horseback riding! Kids' camp!), and taking my boys to Casey's Amusement Park, to see the peacocks and pygmy goats at Erickson’s Petting Zoo, the Viking Speedway, and the Douglas County Fair. It’s good to have goals, right?

The next time you’re planning a vacation, give our neighbors to the west a second look.

I know I'll be back. 

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