Change of Scenery

Part II: Three More Unforgettable Day Trips Under 90 Miles from the Twin Cities

With several summer weekends on the horizon, it’s the perfect opportunity to explore some charming towns surrounding the Twin Cities. Here is a second helping of our curated series of day trips—all within an hour and a half of the Twin Cities.

Did you miss Part I? Read it here!

Waseca, Minnesota
Waseca, Minnesota

Courtesy of Waseca Lakes Association

Escape to Waseca

Just over an hour south of the Twin Cities lies an escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. Waseca is home to Clear Lake, a quiet lake popular for fishing and swimming. To walk around the lake or have a beach day, head to Maplewood Park or Clear Lake Park. For mealtime, try Barney’s Drive-In, a 1950s-style hamburger restaurantcomplete with car hops and vintage cars! Go to North or South State Street for some boutique shopping, and finish your day with a cold one at the Half Pint Brewing Co.

Lake Pepin near Lake City, Minnesota
Lake Pepin near Lake City, Minnesota

Courtesy of Visit Lake City

Step Into Nature in Lake City

Visit scenic Lake City, located along Lake Pepin, about 60 miles southeast of the Twin Cities. Known for its miles of stunning shoreline and abundant wildlife, Lake City is a perfect getaway for nature lovers. With Frontenac State Park and the National Eagle Center nearby, there are plenty of options for hikers and birdwatchers. You can start your adventure at Heidi’s Huggamug Café for tasty waffles and coffee before heading to Roschen Park or the Mississippi Blufflands State Trail for walking. Try Kelly’s Lake House for dinner and sit on their outdoor patio for encompassing lake views.

Red Wing, Minnesota
Red Wing, Minnesota

Courtesy of Visit Red Wing

Take a Mini Vacay in Red Wing

About an hour’s drive from the Twin Cities is Red Wing, a charming riverside town. Fuel up at Hanisch Bakery to try the donuts voted No. 1 in the state, and make your way to He Mni Can-Barn Bluff for a scenic hike. This 340-foot bluff is worth walking up to witness spectacular views of the Mississippi River and surrounding trees. Mac-and-cheese lovers will appreciate The Mac Shack & Specialties, and the Red Wing Confectionery is the perfect place to stop for a sweet treat afterward.

Julia Jacobson is a rising senior at the University of Notre Dame, studying political science and journalism. Outside of her coursework, she participates in her school’s mock trial team and works as a teaching assistant for an introductory political science course. Julia was born and raised in Minnesota, and loves traveling both domestically and internationally. In her free time, she enjoys reading and journaling.