Best Twin Cities day trip destinations in Minnesota, Wisconsin

LARK Toys’ amazing carousel near Wabasha, Minn., adds magic and whimsy to the Great River Road.

Get help planning the top Twin Cities day trips
If there were a fairy godmother to – “Poof!” – make Minnesota weekend getaways or week-long vacations as easy as Cinderella’s dress, I’d volunteer for the post. Really. Give me a sparkly wand and make it official.

Suncrest pizza farm near Alma, Wis.

I could probably find a wand at Rebecca’s in Nisswa, one funky shop with everything from Princess Way street signs to lifesize cutouts of the latest heartthrobs.

Few things make me as happy as helping people find places they’ll love in this wonderfully varied state of Minnesota. You could spin the car in any direction and find totally different terrain and places well worth a few hours on the road.

Ride the Empire Builder train.

I’ve collected 24 of my favorite trips, from single towns to several towns, into the new Minnesota guidebook “Day Trips from the Twin Cities: Getaway Ideas for the Local Traveler.” Read about where to find:

  • Beautiful bluffs and soaring eagles along the Great River Road
St. Cloud’s Clemens Garden.
  • A toy store that could rival Santa’s workshop and Christmas morning for nostalgic childhood joy. 
  • A pioneer ghost town and Minnesota’s coolest cave tours in the Root River Valley.
  • One of the nation’s oldest family-run breweries, an idyllic German downtown and fascinating tales from the US Dakota War of 1862 in New Ulm.
  • A sweet boutique hotel, amazing apples, comical scarecrows and crazy finds such as bacon-flavored soda pop along the Minnesota River Valley.
    Rebecca’s is among Nisswa’s great shops.
  • One of the state’s coldest swimming holes at St. Cloud’s Quarry Park and the inspiring Clemens and Munsinger Gardens along the Mississippi.
  • Legends of Charles Lindbergh, a quirky fishing museum and classic downtown in Little Falls.
  • Bike trails that whirl through the scenic Chippewa River Valley across the border in Wisconsin. 
  • Amazing canoe rides through the Dalles of the St. Croix River
  • World-class Nordic ski trails near Cable, Wis.
  • Girls’ getaways with great spas and shopping near Nisswa.
Artsy breakfast at Duluth’s Solglimt B&B.

Of course there’s more, but I don’t want to give it all away.

You can email me to order a copy by mail for $16 (includes taxes & shipping) or head to your favorite bookstore. Buy it online through independent booksellers or the almighty Amazon. If you enjoy it, please leave a review. If you have suggestions for upcoming editions, let me know.

Happy travels!

Emma Krumbee’s Scarecrow contest & festival, Belle Plaine.