Journeys: Winter Getaways

Minnesota Monthly’s staff shares some of their favorite winter mini-vacations

Photo by Jamie Johnson

Some Minnesotans do their darn best to make the most of the winters. Others quickly decide they’re better spent elsewhere—at least for a few days. Both decisions are valid, in our book! Below, staff of Minnesota Monthly share their favorite winter mini-vacations. Take notes!

“Duluth! That grand lake is beautiful in the summer, but seeing its wave power mixed with ice is a new level of beauty. Bring your parka and enjoy.” —Jamie Johnson, senior art director (Our cover photo is a photo of Jamie’s daughter on one of their more recent trips up north.)


“Phoenix, because let’s face it. It’s nice to get some sun and feel some warmth in the middle of a long Minnesota winter.” —Matthew Drewek, event manager

“That would be Just for Me Spa in Stillwater.” —Mindy Looyenga, account executive

“My favorite January pastime is definitely searching for flights to warm places. Last year, my friends and I found cheap flights to Miami in January and Palm Springs in March. I’m thinking we might have to do that again.” —Katie Ballalatak, associate editor

“This winter, I definitely went to the Tropics in Shoreview, played on the giant plastic animals, and went down the waterslide, even though I’m 23. Maybe the hot tub and beach chairs will appeal more to you, though. I also really like ice skating indoors! It’s like you’re outside and doing iconic winter activities but with not as much of the cold.” —Lianna Matt, associate editor

Lake Pepin and Wabasha continue to be year-round destinations for event sales representative Katy Pitts, while Casie Beldo, Minnesota Monthly’s art director, often enjoys her time ice fishing with family, which, according to her experience, consists of lots of games, a couple of drinks, and a few fish, if you’re lucky. 

Amber Kipp/Unsplash

“For me, it’s Key West, Florida. It’s like going to the tropics without leaving the U.S. Beaches: warm weather, fishing, diving, and snorkeling, plus some of the best in Caribbean eats and island drinks. It’s funky, fun, and just enough off-center to make you forget your winter blues. Plus, it’s ideal for a long weekend—fly down on a Friday, back home on Monday evening.” —Mike Berger, executive editor