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Discovering Minnesota’s Top Tourist Hotspots

My spouse and I are passionate about traveling, although it has become more challenging since we became parents. Despite the obstacles, we still find ways to embark on shorter trips closer to home. While we feel like we’ve explored much of our surroundings, we are aware that there are numerous undiscovered gems awaiting our discovery.

Explore recently published its annual tourism report, shedding light on popular destinations across the state. Find below some ideas to spark your summer road trip adventures.

Understanding Explore Minnesota

The Tourism Council comprises individuals from diverse sectors within the hospitality and tourism industry. Its primary objective is to stimulate travel, both domestic and international, by promoting activities that contribute to increased visitor spending, tax revenue, and employment opportunities.

Top Tourist Hotspots in Minnesota

By leveraging geolocation data obtained from smartphone applications, Explore Minnesota analyzed 500 points of interest statewide to identify visitor trends.

According to Explore Minnesota, tourism has rebounded to pre-pandemic levels, with a focus on the top attractions in each region of the state. Here are the most frequented destinations in various parts of Minnesota.

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Premier Tourist Attractions in Northeast Minnesota

Duluth stands out as a popular tourist destination in the Upper Midwest, nestled on the shores of Lake Superior in Far North Minnesota. Unsurprisingly, downtown and Canal Park emerge as the most visited areas, accounting for 28% to 26% of visits in this region. Grand Casino – Hinckley follows closely with 12%, while the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness attracts 8% of visitors.

Central Minnesota’s Highlighted Tourist Spots

Central Minnesota boasts top attractions such as Grand Casino in Mille Lacs and Gull Lake, each drawing 16% of visitors, followed by Mille Lacs Lake with 11% of visits. The Breezy Point Resort Golf Course also proved to be a popular destination.

Key Destinations in the Twin Cities

Within the metropolitan area, Mall of America leads the way with 29% of visits, trailed by downtown Minneapolis at 12%. The Central Mississippi Riverfront, U.S. Bank Stadium, and the Minnesota State Fairgrounds each attract 9%, 5%, and 5% of visitors respectively. Mystic Lake Casino and Target Field complete the list with 5% and 4% of visits.

Top Tourist Hotspots in Northwest Minnesota

In Northwest Minnesota, Lake of the Woods claims the top spot with 21% of visits, followed by Leech Lake at 18%. Downtown Bemidji captures 13% of tourist attention, with Shooting Star Casino closely behind at 12%.

The most frequented locations in Southern Minnesota include downtown Rochester, accounting for 24% of visits. While many visitors may be drawn to the , downtown Rochester also hosts exciting events like Thursdays Downtown, attracting 20-30K individuals weekly during the summer.

Treasure Island Casino emerges as the second most visited location in this region, with 18% of trips. Jackpot Junction Casino sees 10% of visits, while downtown Mankato and Winona each draw 7% of tourists.