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Welcome to the Fun Side

Where to be and what to see this summer on the FUN side!

Saint Paul, Minnesota

Local and global. adventurous and laid back..

Saint Paul is a capital city where over 100 languages are spoken and diversity is celebrated — in food, festivals and art. A city that cares for its heritage, its people, its natural places, and for those who come to visit. We welcome you.

This is your source for the latest on upcoming events, deals, restaurants, lodging and more. Be sure to order your free copy of the Insider's Guide and share your Saint Paul experience on Instagram , Twitter and Facebook using the hashtag, #MYSAINTPAUL .

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When you come to Duluth, you understand what makes it special. From the world-famous lift bridge to charming neighborhoods filled with local breweries and restaurants, Duluth is a true original along the pristine shores of Lake Superior. Part rugged, part refined and 100% one-of-a-kind. You’ll get it when you get here.

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the people. the pace. the place.

From fun family attractions and lakeside events to watching the giant ships pass through the canal, there’s always something happening in Duluth. Hop on a train, jump in the lake, grab a pint or just take in the view.

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What trails are safe for kids? Where’s the best cup of coffee? Just how big is Lake Superior? If you’ve got questions, we’ve got advice. Gear up for summer fun with these awesome adventure ideas.

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Duluth offers year-round events and festivals featuring music, crafts, arts and sporting events that offer something for everyone

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1

Tony O’Neil

Tony O’Neil is the heart and soul behind  Jamrock Cultural Restaurant in downtown Duluth. Oh, and he’s also the first-ever coach of Duluth’s new arena football team, the Harbor Monsters. Set, hut!

Sarah Herrick-Smíšek

DLTH clothing is one of many businesses behind the maker spirit of Lincoln Park Craft District. Read on for more about their origin story, iconic logo and Sarah’s favorite spots around town.

Eduardo Sandoval Luna

In 2008, Eduardo opened a food truck with the vision of sharing Latino culture, one bite at a time. Now, his first brick and mortar location is serving even more great bites from Lincoln Park.

For more than 24 years, Jay Walker has been sharing his passion for aquatic animals and preservation at Duluth’s Great Lakes Aquarium. Read on to learn what drives his passion, what a typical day is like in his role as Executive Director, and some of his favorite spots in Duluth.

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14 Top-Rated Attractions & Things to Do in Minnesota

Written by Lana Law Updated May 11, 2023

From the lake-laden North Country to the marble exterior of the State Capitol in St. Paul, Minnesota is brimming with natural and cultural beauty. Plan to explore the wilderness areas of Minnesota, including Superior National Forest and the North Shore of Lake Superior, or cultural attractions, like the Minneapolis Institute of Art or the outstanding Munsinger Clemens Gardens in St. Cloud.

Minnesota State Capitol Building in St. Paul

Whether it's wandering down the hiking trails , paddling the waterways, gliding down the ski hills , or shopping at Mall of America, Minnesota is more than a land of 10,000 lakes, it's a state with unlimited things to do. Discover more places to visit with our list of top tourist attractions.

1. Superior National Forest & Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness

2. see the sights along the north shore scenic drive, 3. paddle voyageurs national park, 4. international wolf center, 5. minnesota state capitol building, 6. go shopping at the mall of america, 7. como park zoo & conservatory, 8. minneapolis institute of art, 9. split rock lighthouse state park, 10. stroll through munsinger clemens gardens, 11. duluth aerial lift bridge, 12. go camping at itasca state park, 13. cathedral of st. paul, 14. minnehaha park.

A canoer enjoying the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness

Superior National Forest , with pristine lakes and rivers, covers large areas of northeast Minnesota. The town of Ely, home to the International Wolf Center , is an excellent base from which to explore the unspoiled landscape. The Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, which lies within the forest, is well known among paddlers in the United States and Canada.

Superior National Forest and Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness

It is located along the boundary between the two countries and is a great area for backcountry canoe and kayaking trips , as well as fishing. This area is remote and supports a great deal of wildlife, including bears, moose, and wolves. Superior National Forest covers more than three million acres, of which 445,000 acres or almost 700 square miles are made up of water.

North Shore Scenic Drive

The North Shore Scenic Drive near Duluth follows the north shore of Lake Superior from Duluth to Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada. Along this route are many of the top state parks in Minnesota , including Split Rock Lighthouse, Tettegouche, and Grand Portage State Park . Waterfalls, rocky cliffs, and great views of the seemingly never-ending Lake Superior accompany the long drive.

Recreational activities like boating, fishing, and mountain biking are easily accessed along the route, including downhill skiing , snowshoeing, and ice-fishing throughout the long winters. For those not interested in automobile travel, the 300-plus-mile Superior Hiking Trail extends along the Minnesota shoreline and can only be traveled by foot.

Voyageurs National Park

Voyageurs National Park is a pristine wilderness area that combines natural beauty with history. This mainly backcountry park, accessed primarily by water or air, is a wonderful place for canoeing, boating, fishing , and other outdoor pursuits.

The park is remote and offers great opportunities to see wildlife , such as bears, moose, loons, and much more. Historically, this area was important during the fur trade, when the French-Canadian Voyageurs traveled these waters in huge birch bark canoes.

Adventures by boat and by land abound at Voyagers, and like the waterfront Wooden Frog Campground, some of the best campgrounds in Minnesota can be found lining the shores.

  • Read More: Top-Rated Attractions in Voyageurs National Park, MN

International Wolf Center

The International Wolf Center near Ely, one of the best small towns in Minnesota , is an educational center that supports and promotes the survival of wolves. Hands-on exhibits, demonstrations of wolf tracking methods, and all kinds of information on wolves is presented.

Visitors learn about the natural history of wolves by observing the resident wolf pack. The center also offers a wide variety of programs and other visitor experiences, including Wolf Photography Workshops , Geocache Adventures, and overnight visits for groups of eight or more (call ahead to schedule).

Address: 1396 Hwy 169, Ely, Minnesota

Minnesota State Capitol Building

Constructed between 1896 and 1905, the Minnesota State Capitol building recently underwent renovations to restore this historic structure back to its original glamour. Besides repairs to the exterior marble and restored furnishings of the interior, the 2013 to 2017 renovations also added more public space and accessibility for visitors.

Guided tours are available every day of the week except Sunday, and self-guided tours of areas like the Rotunda, the second "Grand" floor, and the Governor's Reception Room are always encouraged.

On the exterior main entrance of the Capitol, The Quadriga is a golden four-horse chariot statue and always a visitor favorite. Admission and visits are free but a donation is always appreciated.

Address: 75 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr Boulevard, St. Paul, Minnesota

Mall of America

Located on the outskirts of St. Paul, in the suburb of Bloomington, is the Mall of America . When it opened in 1992, it was one of the largest malls in the United States. In addition to more than 520 shops and dozens of restaurants , the facility includes theaters, hotel accommodations, and other amusements .

More than 400 events happen at the mall each year, ranging from dance parties to Minnesota Viking fans' celebrations. Numerous "Stay and Shop" packages can be booked with nearby hotels.

Address: 60 E Broadway, Bloomington, Minnesota

Feeding a giraffe

The Como Park Zoo & Conservatory is one of the best family attractions in Minnesota. Here, you'll find everything for a complete day of fun for all ages. It's also budget-friendly; both are free to enter but donations are encouraged.

The zoo has a variety of animals from around the world, ranging from monkeys through to polar bears. One of the most enjoyable animal interactions is feeding the giraffes. Available to visitors of all ages, these gentle giants eat Romaine lettuce right out of your hand.

The zoo recently completed a 20-million-dollar expansion, with the addition of the new Como Harbor exhibit. This is the new home of seals and sea lions and features amphitheater-style seating in front of a 250,000-gallon tank complete with acrylic glass viewing windows. Two shows take place daily, and one of the star performers is Sparky the sea lion.

There is more to the park than the zoo. Be sure to swing by the conservatory to see a riot of heat-loving plants. A visit to this beautiful glass building makes you feel like you've stepped into the tropics. The Sunken Garden is a colorful area full of fragrant and beautiful plants that change throughout the seasons, and is an ideal place to snap a picture or two.

Statue outside the Minneapolis Institute of Art

Hosting more than 700,000 visitors a year, the Minneapolis Institute of Art (Mia) has a wide range of art and attractions, all with free admission to explore. The collection at Mia features more than 89,000 artworks, and the permanent and temporary exhibits span everything from American modernism to ancient artifacts from around the world .

Among many other installations, visitors can check out Japanese and Korean art, decorative art and textiles, and the Doryphoros - one of four surviving Roman copies of an ancient Greek sculpture. Mia also hosts free daily public tours , family programs, and a four-day Art in Bloom festival each year in the spring.

Address: 2400 3rd Ave S, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Split Rock Lighthouse State Park

Split Rock Lighthouse State Park is located 20 miles northeast of Two Harbors on the North Shore of Lake Superior . It is home to Split Rock Lighthouse, which was built in 1910 to protect Lake Superior shipping. Visitors can tour the lighthouse , foghorn building, keeper's house, tower, and light.

Numerous hiking options line the park, which lead through forest, pebble beaches, and great viewpoints of the shoreline. Come winter, the trails at Split Rock become designated for fat tire biking . A cart-in campground is also available, with a few sites offering personal views of the lighthouse.

Address: 3755 Split Rock Lighthouse Road, Two Harbors, Minnesota

Munsinger Clemens Gardens

The Munsinger Clemens Gardens in St. Cloud are some of the summertime delights of the city. The Munsinger Gardens feature approximately 80,000 annual plants within a setting of trees, benches, swings, fountains, and ponds. The Clemens Gardens are known for having more than 1,100 rose bushes and an all-white garden devoted to white flowers and flowering shrubs.

Music in the Gardens , every other Sunday in the summer, is a fun way to enhance the experience, and the annual Art Fair in the Gardens is a popular event featuring artists and musicians from across the state.

Address: 1515 Riverside Drive SE, St. Cloud, Minnesota

Duluth Aerial Lift Bridge

Originally constructed between 1901 and 1905 as an aerial transfer bridge with a cable car, the bridge expanded into an entire roadway in 1929 and has been a prominent icon of Duluth ever since.

The bridge allows residents of Minnesota Point to reach the mainland and it's listed on the National Register of Historic Places . The Duluth Aerial Lift Bridge is operated 24 hours of the day, and watching it rise and lower for freight ships, sailboats, and tour boats is part of the spectacle.

Address: 601 S Lake Ave, Duluth, Minnesota

Read More: Top Things to Do in Duluth

Itasca State Park

As Minnesota's oldest state park, Itasca encompasses more than 32,000 acres of wildlands and lakes, including the headwaters of the Mississippi River . Outdoor recreation opportunities are easily found at this northern Minnesota state park, and visitor favorites include hiking trails, fire towers, and old-growth Red Pine forests .

The one-way Wilderness Drive and Bike Route makes a loop through the mainstay of the park, providing plenty of parking areas and trailheads along the way. Overnight accommodations at Itasca include developed and backpack-only campsites, various lodges, cabins, and the year-round Mississippi Headwaters Hostel .

The Jacob V. Brower Visitor Center and the Mary Gibbs Mississippi Headwaters Center are both good places to begin exploring.

Address: 36750 Main Park Drive, Park Rapids, Minnesota

Cathedral of St. Paul

The imposing St. Paul Cathedral in St. Paul was built in the early 1900s and is today the National Shrine of the Apostle Paul and a pilgrimage site. The design is Classical Renaissance, and the large interior can hold up to 3,000 people.

An active place of worship, the cathedral is open to the public for much of the day, though tourist visits are discouraged during Masses and other holy services. One-hour guided tours are available at 1pm, Tuesday through Friday, and are a good way to gain some historical perspective on the cathedral.

Address: 239 Selby Avenue, St. Paul, Minnesota

  • Read More: Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in St. Paul, MN

Minnehaha Park

No trip to Minnesota and Minneapolis in particular, would be complete without a stop in Minnehaha Park, one of the best parks in Minneapolis .

This 167-acre park is especially known for its famous waterfall, Minnehaha Falls , which plunges 53 feet off a limestone ledge. The base of the falls can be easily accessed via a walking trail or, if you prefer, they can be viewed from the top at a lookout. The falls are best viewed in the spring, when water levels in the creek are at their highest.

The park is a popular place to visit for families, especially in the summer when the wading ponds are a magnet for small children.

Other park attractions include extensive walking trails , three ornamental gardens , a dog park , and the pleasant Sea Salt restaurant (open seasonally).

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Ely, minnesota, adventure awaits in ely, minnesota.

Welcome to Ely! With nearly 20 entry points into the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW)—over one million acres of pristine forest and waterways—the Ely area is your headquarters for adventure. Experience the magic of the Northwoods as you hike or ski through towering pine forests, enjoy a sunset paddle complete with a loon serenade, and sleep under the stars in the world’s largest International Dark Sky Sanctuary. You may even catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights!

Ely is the perfect place to reconnect with family and friends. Expand your knowledge by visiting our museums and educational centers, indulge in delicious food, shop for locally-made goods, and prepare for an expedition into the wild with one of our many outfitters.

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The Ely area provides unique opportunities for those seeking wilderness hiking in Minnesota....

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Tips for spring and summer tent camping from experienced local guides Camping is a timeless pastime that has inspired generations of outdoor enthusiasts, but it also appeals to those wanting to get away from the hustle of life. Though wilderness camping may be easy and accessible to some, others get

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Tips for spring and summer tent camping from experienced local guides Camping is a timeless pastime that has inspired generations of outdoor enthusiasts, but it also appeals to those wanting to get away from the hustle of life. Though...

Winter Logging

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If you look at old photos of the logging camps in the Ely and Winton area, you might notice something surprising that is common in all of them: they were all taken in winter. Why would loggers choose to work in the harsh northern Minnesota...

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Exploring our connection to the night sky from the World’s Largest International Dark Sky Sanctuary Since the beginning of time the night sky has been an important part of life. Ancient cultures used it as a resource to guide them,...

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The Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness or BWCA is located in Minnesota in the northern third of the Superior National Forest. Over one million... Learn More

Downtown Ely

Don’t let the quaint, small-town atmosphere fool you. You’ll find some of the finest shopping and most intriguing gifts anywhere – right here... Learn More

Superior National Forest

The Superior National Forest is also home to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. Getting up close and personal with this boreal forest is as easy as... Learn More

International Wolf Center

There are few things more magical and haunting than hearing wolves howl during a dark Ely night. Encountering these incredible animals in the wilderness is a... Learn More

North American Bear Center

The North American Bear Center is a nonprofit museum with beautiful indoor and outdoor viewing areas for visitors to watch live black bears. Make no mistake,... Learn More

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You might recognize our name from the 1996 film, Fargo, or hit FX series featuring thick Midwestern accents, white barren landscape, and the infamous woodchipper scene (we have the original on display!). While the accents are mildly accurate and it is pretty flat, everything else is completely unexpected – or as we like to call it, North of Normal. Come see for yourself.

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Hwy 135 Biwabik pavement work to start June 19

DULUTH, Minn. – The Minnesota Department of Transportation will be completing paving work on hwy 135 in Biwabik starting on June 19. This work will require a detour of the hwy through the City of Biwabik. Local traffic will be taken on to 1st Avenue North to 1st Street North to 8th Avenue North. Trucks will be detoured on Co. Rd. 20 to Co. Rd. 4. Sidewalks will remain open. Work is expected to last through July 3 and be completed by the holiday.

Please visit the hwy 135 Biwabik project website for additional information.

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15 Underrated Places to Travel This Summer, From Kosovo to Quebec

By Jamie Spain

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Planning the perfect summer trip can take weeks of research, preparation, and organization to ensure it goes off without a hitch. But before you get to the planning and booking phase, you'll need to decide where to go. There's a seemingly endless amount of great options out there, and while there's nothing wrong with heading to the same familiar spot over and over again, sometimes you want to get a little off the beaten path and go somewhere you haven't been before. Whether you're in the mood for a nature escape with jaw-dropping vistas, hiking paths, and secluded lodges, or are looking for a big city excursion surrounded by trendy restaurants, unique neighborhoods, and great shopping, we've got ideas for you.

From islands to national parks , here are 15 underrated summer travel ideas, perfect for avoiding the crowds while you explore someplace new.

Domestic destinations:

Finger Lakes, New York | Voyageurs National Park, Minnesota | Isle Royale National Park, Michigan | Catalina Island, California | San Juan Islands, Washington | Crystal River, Florida

International destinations:

Kosovo | Budapest, Hungary | Copenhagen, Denmark | Buenos Aires, Argentina | Sardinia, Italy | Mauritius | Kyoto, Japan | Bora Bora | Quebec, Canada

Domestic destinations

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Finger Lakes, New York

A fan-favorite of New York City residents, the New York Finger Lakes are unquestionably idyllic. The perfect destination for a summer weekend , or a weeklong trip with the family, this region is home to some of the most beautiful waterfronts. Dotted with adorable small towns , the 11 long, slender lakes that make up this area are exactly what East Coast summer dreams are made of. Spend your trip navigating nearby state parks; hiking, biking, and exploring; and enjoying everything that lake life has to offer, from jet-skiing to swimming.

Where to stay: Check out the Gould Hotel , a modern boutique property in Seneca Falls; book a night at The Lake House on Canandaigua for an airy, design-forward stay; or head east to the Inns of Aurora .

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Voyageurs National Park, Minnesota

Completely immerse yourself in nature at Minnesota's Voyageurs National Park. This gorgeous destination is ideal for getting in some of the best stargazing you could ever imagine. Just like dozens of other national parks , this one has an International Dark Sky Park certificate, designating it as a location that is particularly good for viewing the night sky and stars. Unlike the others, however, Voyageurs is one of the least-visited national parks in the country, meaning you'll be able to truly connect with nature and enjoy seclusion. It's ideal for boat rides and swimming, as it's primarily made up of waterfronts and islands—almost 40 percent of the park is water.

Where to stay: Nearby Cantilever Hotel is great for those interested in exploring the park, but not wanting to stay too far away from civilization. Those who are a little more daring will enjoy the Kettle Falls Hotel , a property that is only accessible by boat or seaplane. If you're really looking to be one with nature, you can rent a canoe and camp at a tent site.

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Isle Royale National Park, Michigan

If you're looking for a summer vacation where you can explore an area relatively untouched by civilization, look no further than Isle Royale National Park . A favorite of my family, this park is uniquely difficult to get to (the main island is best reached by ferry), so the only other travelers you'll find here are extreme adventurers and in-the-know locals. It's best to visit during the summer months since Lake Superior is quite cold and foggy throughout the rest of the year. My family heads to this park in the summer months in hopes of spending a few days backpacking , canoeing, and hiking through the near-untouched environment—admiring the nature and wildlife along the way.

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Where to stay: While the actual park is best experienced through camping, those who aren't interested in totally roughing it can stay at the Rock Harbor Lodge , centrally located on the main island. Or, book this nearby rustic Airbnb cabin with panoramic views of Lake Superior for the days leading up to your national park visit.

15 Underrated Summer Travel Ideas for 2024

Catalina Island, California

Just a hop, skip, and a jump from Los Angeles , Santa Catalina Island is quite literally heaven on Earth. Hopeful travelers can either take the one-hour Catalina Express ferry over to the island (it departs daily from San Pedro, Long Beach, and Dana Point) or charter a private yacht to get them there in style. Whether you're looking to hike the Trans Catalina Trail or simply indulge in some tasty seafood while wandering through the quaint town of Avalon, Catalina Island is a great break from the hustle and bustle of LA. Head a bit farther inland to explore El Rancho Escondido , the acclaimed Arabian horse ranch that's also home to Rusack Vineyards.

Where to stay: For day-trippers or those who plan to extend their vacation to include a stay in Los Angeles, there are a variety of hotels and Airbnbs to choose from, including The Beverly Hills Hotel, Dorchester Collection , The Malibu Beach Inn , and the luxe Chateau Marmont Estate on Airbnb. If you're hoping to stay on-island, the plush Bellanca Hotel is the way to go.

15 Underrated Summer Travel Ideas for 2024

San Juan Islands, Washington

A 2019 Readers' Choice Award winner, named one of the best islands for beautiful scenery, this collection of more than 400 islands off the coast of Washington is ideal for a Pacific Northwest weekend getaway. The three most popular (and largest) islands to explore are Orcas , San Juan, and Lopez—all easily accessible by ferry. Travelers can enjoy a laidback vacation with comfortable temperatures and a relaxed atmosphere: hop on a bike and explore the area; spend time sailing, hiking, and fishing; or take a walk to admire all of the islands' natural beauty, from the mountains to the lakes.

Where to stay: Glampers, campers, and regular hotel-goers will all adore the Lakedale which has accommodations for every type of traveler.

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Crystal River, Florida

Home to one of the best beaches in Florida , Crystal River is unlike most other cities you'll find in the Sunshine State for one major reason: It's one of the only places in the world where people can swim alongside manatees . If you've ever wanted to truly get up close to these gentle giants, this is the city to visit. Head to the Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge to see your fill of the endangered animal, and spend some time taking in the natural beauty of the nearby springs and parks.

Where to stay: The Plantation Resort on Crystal River is home to a variety of different activities including a 27-hole championship golf course and a family-friendly resort with 196 accommodations.

International destinations

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There's a reason Kosovo is on our list of the Best Places to Go in 2024, and it has everything to do with the jaw-dropping scenery that can be found in every corner of this country. Outdoorsy folks who want to spend their time hiking and biking through untainted valleys, mountains, and countryside will appreciate the chance to explore the newest European country. Travelers who who are looking for a taste of the young nation's history can head to the national museum; afterward, explore the streets of Prizren taking in the architecture as well as the historic mosques and churches.

Where to stay: Book a night at the Hotel Gracanica in the quiet suburb of Prishtina, or pamper yourself at the luxe Ujevara e Drinit Resort near Peja. For something a little more traditional, enjoy tasty Kosovo dishes as well as classic comforts at the rural Ariu Guesthouse . (Check out our guide on where to eat, play, and stay in Kosovo for even more recommendations.)

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Budapest, Hungary

Skip Western Europe and instead head to the beautiful capital of Hungary . Luxuriate in the mineral-rich thermal baths you'll find around the city , or spend your days exploring the historic Castle District, walking along the Danube, and meandering through the city streets. You can even take a faux hot air balloon trip to enjoy the best view in the city. If you plan your trip for August, it may coincide with the Sziget Festival , one of the largest music and cultural festivals in all of Europe.

Where to stay: Book a night at 2024 Gold List winner, The Four Seasons Gresham Palace Budapest , or spend a few nights at the adults-only Hotel Clark Budapest . (Check out our guide on where to eat, play, and stay in Budapest for more recommendations.)

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Copenhagen, Denmark

There's no better time to visit Copenhagen than during the summer months when the weather is warm, the days are exceptionally long, and the waterfront views are breathtaking. Aside from being ranked as one of the happiest countries in the world , sustainably-minded travelers will appreciate how eco-focused the place is, and enjoy a trip to CopenHill, the multi-use waste-to-energy plant with a ski slope, climbing wall, and cafe. It's also worth checking out the Tivoli Gardens, Rosenborg Castle, and the picturesque Nyhavn harbor .

Where to stay: Check out our favorite hotels in Copenhagen , including the grand and historic Hotel d'Angleterre , the Nimb Hotel which was originally built as a castle in 1909, and the modern Villa Copenhagen .

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Buenos Aires, Argentina

From awe-inspiring museums to culture-packed tours to dance halls perfect for learning to tango , there's no shortage of amazing things to do and see in Buenos Aires . Whether you're spending the day simply walking the streets and taking in the sights; exploring the colorful La Boca; watching a soccer match; learning to tango; or going to the Colón Theatre to see the opera, this will be a trip to remember.

Where to stay: Some of our favorite hotels in Buenos Aires include the luxe Palacio Duhau ; the Jardín Escondido , once home to Francis Ford Coppola; and the Faena Hotel Buenos Aires located right by the water in Puerto Madero.

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Sardinia, Italy

There's so much more to Sardinia than just a beautiful coastline and wonderful beaches. While the long, warm days are perfect to spend by the crystal blue waters of the Mediterranean Sea, travelers who want a little more substance to their vacation can head inland to experience the island's charming towns, rustic cuisine, and ancient ruins.

Where to stay: Rest your head at the Cascioni Eco Retreat , set on a 90-acre nature reserve with gorgeous views of the surrounding land. The colorful Su Gologone Experience Hotel is another great option, as is the luxurious, high-end Hotel Cali de Volpe .

OneOnly Le Saint Gran

Another location on our list of the Best Places to Go in 2024, Mauritius is about 1,200 miles east of Madagascar . From its gorgeous coastlines with pristine beaches to the luxury accommodations and unparalleled nature, this island destination is nothing short of paradise. Head here during the Northern Hemisphere's summer months to avoid wet season. Your main activities on Mauritius will be water-based, from diving and snorkeling to sitting on the beach and admiring the coastline. If you need a break from relaxing, take a trip to the Bel Ombre Nature Reserve, the Botanic Gardens, or the capital city of Port Louis.

Where to stay: Check out our favorite hotels in Mauritius , including the four-time Readers' Choice Award winner and two-time Gold List winner, One&Only Le Saint Géran . You can also book a stay at the legendary resort, Lux Belle Mare , or the kite-surfers' paradise of Riu Palace Mauritius .

Ace Hotel Kyoto

Kyoto, Japan

Instead of heading to the mega-popular Tokyo or the bright and lively Osaka, consider touching down in Kyoto , one of the best cities to experience traditional Japanese culture. Spend the day exploring the temples and shrines that are dotted throughout the city; take a walk through Gion, the “Geisha District;” or while away a few hours in the Kyoto National Museum. The best times to visit Japan are at the very end or beginning of summer when the season overlaps with spring and fall, and while it'll certainly be a bit warmer during the peaks of summer, it's no less beautiful.

Where to stay: From the Ace Hotel to the Shinmonzen , there is no shortage of great hotels in Central Kyoto. If you're interested in something a little different, tour guide Sara Aiko from Traveler 's Ask a Local series recommends taking a trip to Moksa , a gorgeous property in the north of Kyoto surrounded by temples and nature.

Conrad Bora Bora Nui French Polynesia

Nothing says romance like staying in an overwater bungalow in Bora Bora. The winter in French Polynesia corresponds with the summer in the Northern Hemisphere, meaning June, July, and August experience less humid and more comfortable temperatures. This time period also falls during Tahiti 's dry season, so you don't have to worry about being rained out. You could easily spend your days simply lounging in your bungalow and slipping into the crystal waters whenever you feel, but Bora Bora is also ideal for snorkeling, scuba diving, and taking a boat or a 4x4 island tour.

Where to stay: Bora Bora is particularly known for its luxury overwater bungalows. Conrad Bora Bora Nui is a more private option with exceptional snorkeling and coral, The St. Regis Bora Bora Resort is perfect for honeymooners and families alike, and the Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora is home to over 100 bungalows, fine dining, and an exceptional spa.

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Quebec, Canada

When you think of summer travel, your first thought is probably an island getaway or a far-flung destination that you've only read about in books. But, don't overlook all of the beauty that our northern neighbor has to offer. Quebec City is home to all the same type of charm you'll find in Europe but without the exceptionally long flight to get there. Spend some time in Old Quebec City —home to some of the oldest streets in North America—taking in the history and culture that make this city worthy of its title as a UNESCO World Heritage Site . Or, head to Montreal , where you can enjoy a variety of museums, the open-air market, and great culinary options. Don't forget to explore the nature and French architecture found in the greater province.

Where to stay: For a wonderful stay in Quebec City, Hotel 71 is a six-time Readers' Choice Award winner while Auberge Saint Antoine Quebec City and Le Germain Hotel Quebec are both five-time winners. For a wellness-focused retreat , head to Monastère des Augustines . In Montreal , check out the Auberge du Vieux-Port on the St. Lawrence River, or Hotel William Gray in Old Montreal.

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As a powerful extension of the Explore Minnesota brand, exploreminnesota.com  garners nearly 8 million sessions annually. Our website inspires and connects travelers with a vast amount of searchable travel information throughout Minnesota.

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In Europe's Schengen area , your passport must be valid for at least six months at the time of your entry. At present, the Schengen area includes most European Union (EU) countries, except for Cyprus and Ireland.

If you are transiting through Canada or the United Kingdom (UK) enroute to the Schengen area : your passport must be valid for at least six months, even though Canada and the UK do not themselves have the six-month rule. If your passport will expire within six months, airlines may not let you board your onward flight to Europe.

Traveling in Europe

If you plan to travel in Europe, you need to know about the Schengen Borders Agreement, which allows you to move freely within a number of countries without border checks. Tourists, exchange students, and people visiting for business from certain countries, like the United States, can travel in the Schengen area for up to 90 days. The Schengen area includes most EU countries, except for Cyprus and Ireland. It also includes four non-EU countries: Iceland, Norway, Switzerland, and Liechtenstein.

Before you travel to the Schengen area, we recommend you do the following:

  • Check the expiration date on your passport book carefully before traveling to Europe. Ensure your passport book is valid for at least six months when you enter the Schengen area. This is especially important for minors under age 16 as their passports are only valid for five years. In contrast, U.S. citizen adults aged 16 and older receive passports that are valid for 10 years.
  • Always carry your passport book with you when traveling to another country in the Schengen area. Even if there is no border check at that time, officials may reinstate border controls without notice.
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  • Be prepared to provide proof of sufficient financial resources for the visit.
  • Comply with other entry requirements for each country you will visit or transit.

On our Country Information pages , you can find passport validity requirements and other important information for your destination country. If your passport does not meet the Schengen requirements, you may be:

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An immigration official will determine if you qualify for visa-free entry to the Schengen area when you first cross any external Schengen border. You will have to present your passport at that time. The officer may deny your entry if you do not qualify.

You should also check passport validity requirements if traveling onward from the Schengen area to a country outside the Schengen area. You can find this information in our Country Information pages.

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  • With a valid U.S. passport book, you can stay up to 90 days in the Schengen area for tourism or business during any 180-day period. You must wait an additional 90 days before applying to re-enter the Schengen area.
  • If you plan to stay in the Schengen area longer than three months, contact the embassy of the country where you plan to spend the majority of your time and apply for a visa.

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USA TODAY 10Best

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Enjoy waterfront charm at the 10 best coastal small towns across the US

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Best Coastal Small Town (2024) April 10, 2024

Big cities on the water have their perks, but these 10 coastal small towns — nominated by an expert panel and voted by readers as the best in the country — offer a calm and charm that is hard to find in more heavily populated areas. You can enjoy scenic views, historic attractions, delicious food, and plenty of things to do both on and off the water.

Long Beach, Washington

No. 10: Long Beach, Washington

Not to be confused with the Southern California city, Washington's Long Beach is just as relaxed, albeit with a different vibe (and somewhat chillier weather come winter). People-watch on the boardwalk, go birding or biking along their nature trails, take a leisurely lighthouse tour, check out the unique World Kite Museum, or just go restaurant-hopping — the choice is yours in this quaint seaside spot.

Washington Island, Wisconsin

No. 9: Washington Island, Wisconsin

Trek to Wisconsin's Washington Island via car ferry and then let your adventure begin! Whether you do some biking and hiking, go back in time at the local history museums, or slow down to smell the lavender at Fragrant Isle Lavender Farm, you're bound to go home with plenty of marvelous memories of this delightful town.

Cape May, New Jersey

No. 8: Cape May, New Jersey

This seaside town in the southernmost part of the Cape May Peninsula is a popular destination that's quieter and cleaner than its more boisterous cousin to the north, Atlantic City. Families love the free Cape May County Park and Zoo, as well as free summer movies on the beach, while couples might enjoy a sunset cruise, strolling through the various gardens and parks, and getting pampered at the local Cape May Day Spa.

Sandusky, Ohio

No. 7: Sandusky, Ohio

This Ohio town on the coast of Lake Erie is home to Cedar Point — one of the top roller coaster-laden amusement parks in the country — but there's more to Sandusky than thrill rides. Visitors can enjoy learning more about the town's maritime heritage at the Maritime Museum of Sandusky, visit scenic Shoreline Park, go on an island-hopping cruise, and dine at a number of top-notch waterfront restaurants.

Newport, Rhode Island

No. 6: Newport, Rhode Island

This Rhode Island town has a little something for everyone, from breweries and wineries to regattas and Gilded Age mansions — and that's just the start. Go paddleboarding or sailing, visit the International Tennis Hall of Fame, hike along the Cliff Walk with gorgeous ocean views, or simply stroll about downtown to grab a bite and do some souvenir shopping.

Pismo Beach, California

No. 5: Pismo Beach, California

Located along California's Central Coast, Pismo Beach draws in plenty of visitors with its quiet beaches and array of wineries and outlet shopping. Other highlights to check out include Dinosaur Caves Park, the Monarch Butterfly Grove, and the award-winning boardwalk. You might also enjoy some fishing or surfing if you prefer to stay on the water.

Gulf Shores, Alabama

No. 4: Gulf Shores, Alabama

Drive an hour west of Pensacola, Florida, and you'll find yourself in the midst of Alabama's best beaches aka Gulf Shores. Swim, surf, and sunbathe by the sea, and then check out some of the area's top attractions like Waterville USA, the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo (home to sloths and kangaroos), and Gulf State Park. Visitors also love the multitude of beachfront restaurants.

Key West, Florida

No. 3: Key West, Florida

Key West boasts everything from conch train tours and six-toed cats to a bevy of bars and festivals, not to mention it's the southernmost point in the continental United States. This walkable Florida town is full of historic and coastal charm, with gorgeous white sand beaches and palm-tree lined streets. It's also home to a robust arts scene, a butterfly garden, an aquarium, and buskers a-plenty for year-round entertainment.

Saugatuck, Michigan

No. 2: Saugatuck, Michigan

This lakeside destination is home to award-winning beaches, spas, breweries, art galleries, and so much more. Whether you're looking for a wedding venue or a romantic place to renew vows, want to enjoy a fun wine tasting, or take an unforgettable family vacation with plenty of outdoor time, Saugatuck has it all.

Stuart, Florida

No. 1: Stuart, Florida

Part of Florida’s Treasure Coast, with the impressive Roosevelt Bridge to its north, is the under-the-radar town of Stuart. Walk along the St. Lucie River at Flagler Park or Shepard Park, both great spots for picnicking, fishing, or otherwise relaxing. The Stuart Heritage Museum, Road to Victory Military Museum, and restaurant-lined downtown Stuart are all among the local attractions.

About 10Best Readers' Choice Awards

Nominees are submitted by a panel of experts. 10Best editors narrow the field to select the final set of nominees for the Readers’ Choice Awards. Readers can vote once per category, per day. For any questions or comments, please read the FAQ or email USA TODAY 10Best .

The Experts

Allison tibaldi.

Allison Tibaldi

Allison Tibaldi is a travel and food writer based...   Read More

Allison Tibaldi is a travel and food writer based in New York City. She has lived in Rome, Tuscany, Melbourne Australia, Toronto and Los Angeles.  She studied early childhood development in graduate school and firmly believes that travel is the best education.  She writes for numerous publications including CNN, Travel Channel, HGTV, am New York, Emirates Open Skies, Family Traveller and Travel Weekly. 

Allison Tibaldi

Chez Chesak

Chez Chesak

‘Chez’ Chesak is Executive Director of the Outdoor...   Read More

‘Chez’ Chesak is Executive Director of the Outdoor Writers Association of America, an adventure travel writer, board member of the Society of American Travel Writers and 22-year veteran of the outdoor and travel industries. While he’s lived all over the U.S. and traveled to more than 30 countries, he has the most fun when he’s exploring with his wife Sally and two daughters. An avid outdoors person, he’s happiest on a trail, on skis, or nestled into a sleeping bag. Learn more about him and his work at www.chezconnects.com .  

Chez Chesak

Jonathon Stalls

Jonathon Stalls

Jonathon Stalls (he, his) is a multi-disciplinary...   Read More

Jonathon Stalls (he, his) is a multi-disciplinary "Walking Artist". Some of his creative work involves media/organizing with the Pedestrian Dignity project, hosting walking/rolling events and leader training with Walk2Connect (a program of America Walks), pen drawing, meditative practices, and more. He is the author of  WALK - Slow Down, Wake Up & Connect at 1-3 Miles Per Hour  (North Atlantic Books, Aug 2022). In 2010, he walked for 242 days across the U.S., walked el Camino de Santiago in 2012, and has continued to move, write, and create alongside a wide variety of longer-distance routes. Learn more:  www.IntrinsicPaths.com

Jonathon Stalls

Kirstie and Christine of On Airplane Mode Travels

Kirstie and Christine of On Airplane Mode Travels

Kirstie Pike and Christine Diaz are award-winning...   Read More

Kirstie Pike and Christine Diaz are award-winning LGBTQ+ travel creators and trailblazers, using their platform, On Airplane Mode, to inspire others to follow their passions while celebrating their unique identities. With the leading LGBTQ+ travel platform in the US, they have a thriving community of over 650,000+ followers. The dynamic duo craft unique storytelling content that resonates with diverse audiences, sparking positive transformation within the travel industry, making it a more inclusive and vibrant space.

Kirstie and Christine of On Airplane Mode Travels

Kristen Lummis

Kristen Lummis

Kristen Lummis is a freelance writer based in...   Read More

Kristen Lummis is a freelance writer based in Western Colorado. The mom of two now-adult sons, Lummis broke into her writing career through snowsports, founding the website  braveskimom.com  in 2010 to provide family-friendly tips across a full range of winter topics. And while skiing is Lummis’ first true outdoor love, she grew up camping, hiking, biking, kayaking and traveling extensively with her family — pursuits that she continues today. She prides herself on unbiased opinions, based on activities and destinations she’s visited and experienced. Lummis is honored to be considered an “expert” for 10Best. Follow her @braveskimom on Instagram and Facebook. 

Kristen Lummis

Kyle McCarthy

Kyle McCarthy

Kyle McCarthy is the co-founder and editor of...   Read More

Kyle McCarthy is the co-founder and editor of Family Travel Forum, the trusted resource for family vacation planners since 1996. FTF’s award-winning publications: MyFamilyTravels.com , America’s Most Popular Family Vacations and  The Family Vacationist  e-newsletter  provide destination reviews, tips and  seasonal roundups  for all aspects of travel. Ms. McCarthy, author of a dozen Frommer’s guidebooks, also contributes to US News, CNN and other publications. She can be found on most social networks @familytravelforum.

Kyle McCarthy

Marla Cimini

Marla Cimini

Marla is an award-winning writer with a passion...   Read More

Marla is an award-winning writer with a passion for travel, music, surfing and culinary adventures! An avid globetrotter and guidebook writer, she has covered topics such as the Hawaiian islands (including food trends and luxury beachfront resorts), as well as European getaways and global destinations. Her articles have appeared in many publications worldwide, including USA Today. Marla lives in New Jersey (Philadelphia area) and is a frequent visitor to Hawaii and Southern California, and often covers those destinations. Her travel website is:  www.marlacimini.com  

Marla Cimini

Melody Pittman

Melody Pittman

Melody Pittman is the owner and creator of Read More

Melody Pittman is the owner and creator of Wherever I May Roam Blog  and is co-owner of the Southern Travelers Explore annual conference, in its 4th year, which brings CVBS and writers/influencers together from all over the country. She is a digital influencer and writes for both online and print publications, such as Travel Awaits, Charleston Home and Living Magazine, Matador Network, She Buys Travel, and more. Melody has worked with major brands during her nine-year career, such as Viking River Cruises, Ritz Carlton, Four Seasons, Disney, hundreds of tourism boards, and GO RVing.  Melody’s first book “100 Things to Do in West Virginia Before You Die” was released in the spring of 2023. She has a podcast, 100ThingsWV, and social channels to go along with the book. Melody loves road trips, small towns, cruising, and sharing lesser-known destinations with her followers via TikTok , Youtube, IG , and FB . After a year of full-time RV travel, she now resides in Mesquite, Nevada. 

Melody Pittman

10Best Editors

10Best Editors

USA TODAY 10Best provides users with original,...   Read More

USA TODAY 10Best provides users with original, unbiased and experiential travel coverage of top attractions, things to see and do, and restaurants for top destinations in the U.S. and around the world.

10Best Editors

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Browse the best.

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Best River for Tubing (2024)

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  1. Minnesota Vacations & Travel Guide: Explore Minnesota

    Discover the Star of the North with Explore Minnesota, the official travel guide and vacation planner for the state. Find things to do, places to stay, events, outdoor adventures, food and drink, and more in every region of Minnesota.

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    Find adventure, nature, culture and fun in Minnesota. Discover hiking, biking, golfing, fishing, stargazing, waterfalls, zoos, parks and more.

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    The Mississippi National River and Recreation Area spans 115 kilometers of riverfront through Minneapolis and St. Paul, providing a spectacular natural setting amid vibrant city life. Two national monuments, Grand Portage on Minnesota's northeastern tip and Pipestone in the southwest corner, preserve the state's American Indian and fur ...

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    Explore Minnesota Tourism 121 7th Place East, Suite 360 St. Paul, MN 55101-2114 (888) 847-4866 or (651) 556-8465 [email protected] Explore Minnesota Website

  5. Explore Minnesota Launches New State Tourism Website

    Explore Minnesota is the state's tourism promotion office that offers travel planning resources, trip ideas, and destination guides for visitors. The new website features high-impact visuals, videos, original content, and personalization software to showcase Minnesota's attractions and activities.

  6. Travel / mn.gov // Minnesota's State Portal

    Find information on what to do, where to stay, and more in Minnesota, from outdoor adventures to urban attractions. Explore the regions, destinations, and transportation options for your vacation.

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    The official YouTube Channel of Explore Minnesota. We're here to help you plan your next Minnesota vacation. Visit exploreminnesota.com for more travel ideas...

  8. Explore the Best of Minnesota

    Explore the Best of Minnesota. Minnesota is a state known for its natural beauty, friendly people, and rich cultural heritage. With over 10,000 lakes and numerous state parks, Minnesota offers a wide range of outdoor recreational activities, including fishing, boating, hiking, and camping. The state is also home to vibrant cities such as ...

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    Visit Saint Paul - Official Site. Discover the City of Saint Paul. Explore our comprehensive travel guide, your gateway to the best of St. Paul, Minnesota whether you're visiting for a vacation getaway or corporate event.

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    North Shore Scenic Drive. Visit Duluth, Minnesota, to see Lake Superior and our world-famous Aerial Lift Bridge, experience fun family attractions, local food and drink, outdoor recreation and more. Duluth has it all for your vacation.

  12. THE 15 BEST Things to Do in Minnesota

    12. Guthrie Theater. 1,060. Theaters. Theater with comfortable seating and panoramic views of the river, bridge, and skyline. Features high-quality performances and a glass-floored room for a unique intermission scene. See ways to experience (10) Learn how recommendations for the rest of the page are selected.

  13. Minneapolis Hotels, Restaurants, Things to Do & Visitor Guide

    2024 U.S. Olympic Team Trials — Gymnastics. This summer, Downtown Minneapolis transforms into Gymnastics City USA! Be part of the action by checking out the events and activities happening all week. From navigating the city to exploring our favorite spots and hangouts, we've put together everything you need to make the most out of your ...

  14. Plan Your Trip

    Find your travel style and discover the best things to do, places to stay and kid-friendly restaurants in Minnesota. Order your free travel guide, get advice from experts and plan your unforgettable experience with Explore Minnesota.

  15. 14 Top-Rated Attractions & Things to Do in Minnesota

    Explore the natural and cultural beauty of Minnesota, from the lake-laden North Country to the State Capitol in St. Paul. Find out the best places to visit, such as Superior National Forest, North Shore Scenic Drive, Mall of America, and more.

  16. Ely MN: Minnesota Resorts, Lodging, Outfitting, Shopping, Dining, BWCA

    Adventure awaits in Ely, Minnesota. Welcome to Ely! With nearly 20 entry points into the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW)—over one million acres of pristine forest and waterways—the Ely area is your headquarters for adventure. Experience the magic of the Northwoods as you hike or ski through towering pine forests, enjoy a ...

  17. Official Tourism Website for Fargo, ND & Moorhead, MN

    Fargo, ND. You might recognize our name from the 1996 film, Fargo, or hit FX series featuring thick Midwestern accents, white barren landscape, and the infamous woodchipper scene (we have the original on display!). While the accents are mildly accurate and it is pretty flat, everything else is completely unexpected - or as we like to call it ...

  18. Places To Go

    Discover the diverse regions, cities and iconic places of Minnesota. Find events, attractions, outdoor activities and travel tips for your next trip.

  19. News releases

    DULUTH, Minn. - The Minnesota Department of Transportation will be completing paving work on hwy 135 in Biwabik starting on June 19. This work will require a detour of the hwy through the City of Biwabik. Local traffic will be taken on to 1st Avenue North to 1st Street North to 8th Avenue North. Trucks will be detoured on Co. Rd. 20 to Co. Rd. 4.

  20. Take a Pet from One U.S. State or Territory to Another

    Find U.S. State and Territory Requirements. APHIS doesn't regulate the interstate movement of pets by their owners. Domestic movement requirements are set by the receiving State or Territory. To learn more about the requirements for moving your pet to another State or Territory, select your destination State or Territory from the list below.

  21. Global Entry Enrollment Centers

    Find Your Nearest Enrollment Center. Enrollment Centers are either located in an airport or other varying locations, such as a government building. To find a Global Entry Enrollment Center closest to you, use the following form or select the state or territory in the list below. Select Location:

  22. 15 Underrated Summer Travel Ideas for 2024

    From islands to national parks, here are 15 underrated summer travel ideas, perfect for avoiding the crowds while you explore someplace new. Jump to: Domestic destinations: Finger Lakes, New York ...

  23. Our Office / Tourism Industry Minnesota

    Find out where the Tourism Industry Minnesota office is located in St. Paul, MN. See the address, phone number, directions and parking information for the office.

  24. Our Website / Tourism Industry Minnesota

    Learn how to partner with Explore Minnesota, the official tourism website for Minnesota, to reach and inspire travelers. Find out about free listings, advertising, editorial content, and website feed options.

  25. U.S. Travelers in Europe's Schengen Area

    Tourists, exchange students, and people visiting for business from certain countries, like the United States, can travel in the Schengen area for up to 90 days. The Schengen area includes most EU countries, except for Cyprus and Ireland. It also includes four non-EU countries: Iceland, Norway, Switzerland, and Liechtenstein.

  26. Minnesota Vacations & Travel Guide: Explore Minnesota

    Additional Resources for Traveling in Minnesota. Your complete inspiration and travel planning guide to the state of Minnesota, with trip ideas, lodging, attractions, events, free brochures and more. Find Minnesota resorts, campgrounds, and events, plus Minnesota activities like hiking, biking, shopping, theater, and arts on ExploreMinnesota.com.

  27. Travel Guides

    Order free travel brochures and guides to plan your Minnesota vacation. Choose from regional, specialty and online guides for biking, fishing, golfing, snowmobiling and more.

  28. 10 best coastal small towns across the US for 2024

    Gulf Shores, Alabama. Drive an hour west of Pensacola, Florida, and you'll find yourself in the midst of Alabama's best beaches aka Gulf Shores. Swim, surf, and sunbathe by the sea, and then check out some of the area's top attractions like Waterville USA, the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo (home to sloths and kangaroos), and Gulf State Park.

  29. Festivals and Events

    Events by Type. Explore a full range of events and festivals throughout the state. Arts & Theater Events. Birding & Wildlife Events. Fairs & Festivals. Food & Drink Events. History & Heritage Events. Live Music & Events. Special Interest Events.

  30. Where to Watch Fourth of July Fireworks in 2024

    Fireworks in Aquila Park / Discover St. Louis Park Richfield. Richfield organizes a two-day event to commemorate the Fourth of July, culminating on July 4 with a dazzling fireworks display that illuminates the night sky. The pyrotechnic show will begin promptly at 10 p.m. and is anticipated to last for over 20 minutes.. Shakopee