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Top 5 Instagram Spots Along the Mississippi River

Bluffs, hiking trails, and waterfalls make for beautiful summer photos


A photo of Bay Point on the Mississippi River at sunset.
Bay Point

photo by Tim Alms

Road-tripping down the Minnesota portion of the Mississippi River is no small task—although with an adventurous spirit and the right amount of vacation time, it can be done. But what if you only have time for a weekend getaway? Or maybe even a day trip (with lots of music and, of course, snacks for the ride)?

There are a number of state parks, restaurants, historical attractions, and museums to visit along the Mississippi River, and below are just five of the best spots for Insta-worthy, “Just-look-at-that-view” photos.

Itasca State Park

Whether you snap a pic by the Headwaters Monument to mark the river’s 2,552 mile journey to the Gulf of Mexico, camp along Lake Itasca, hike along the park’s many trails, or canoe on the Mississippi River or Lake Itasca, you’re sure to take some breath-taking photos and create some great summer memories while you’re at it.

Cuyuna Mountain Bike Trails

This is less of a one-stop destination and more of an alternate method of transportation to get where you’re going or provide a joy ride on two wheels. Located slightly south of the Mississippi River, this bike system spans 25 miles over 800 acres and offers bike trails for all levels. Catch stunning views of the surrounding lakes as you bike along the system, pack a picnic, or even camp at the nearby Portsmouth campground.

Upper and Lower St. Anthony Falls

Minneapolis and St. Paul have plenty of Mississippi River views. Besides checking out some local favorites—Minnehaha Falls and Mill City Museum are must-sees—also make a point to stop at the Upper and Lower St. Anthony falls on the Mississippi River. Visit the St. Anthony Falls Visitor Center and take a panoramic shot of the Upper St. Anthony Lock and Dam, the Stone Arch Bridge, and the surround Mill City District. For a cobble stone, tree-lined backdrop, visit St. Anthony Main just north of the river.

Barn Bluff

The 340-foot Barn Bluff in Red Wing gives some of the best views of the Mississippi River and the surrounding area. With several hiking trails to choose from and the quaint, red-bricked downtown of Red Wing just a walk away, plenty of photo opportunities await.

Great River Bluffs State Park

Barn Bluff isn’t the only place to visit for Mississippi River views in southern Minnesota—Great River Bluffs State Park (3,067 acres) is known for its various scenic overlooks, all accessible by foot. Try the King’s Bluff Nature Trail, which leads to a Mississippi overlook atop King’s Bluff. Visitors can camp at one of the 31- camp sites, too.

For more restaurants, state parks, and attractions along the Mississippi River, take a look at our complete Mississippi River Adventure Guide.

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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.

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