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10 Fun Places to Fly: Minnesota Tourist Destinations

Minnesota is home to gorgeous lakes, pristine forests, bustling urban environments, small-town oddities and other great tourist attractions, making this great northern state a fun place to fly to.

Here are 10 Minnesota tourist destinations that you should set your sights on – let’s get started!

1) Wabasha Street Caves

St. Paul, MN

Nearest Airport: Downtown St. Paul Airport

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These curious caverns, formed under a large plateau opposite of downtown St. Paul, are home to a number of interesting historical happenings and modern-day events alike. Before European settlers arrived in the area, the caves served as a refuge for indigenous tribes. By the early 1900s, a family nurtured a mushroom farm from within their depths, later turning the location into a Prohibition-era speakeasy. In the 70s, the caves were turned into a happening underground disco spot, and today it continues to host fun events with a dinner theatre, prohibition-style bar, tours, and of course, the purported haunting grounds of murdered gangsters and speakeasy patrons.

2) Minnesota Forest

Williams, MN

Nearest Airport: Baudette International Airport

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This is the perfect tourist attraction for pilots, as its only visible from the air. This location of carefully shaped trees is known as the “Minnesota Forest”, created by a rogue forester over decades to look like its home state. Using nothing more than a compass and other analog measurement tools, forest engineer Bill Lockner was able to match the shape of his forest to the shape of Minnesota, creating a whimsical attraction that’s become a popular site to fly over.

3) Wings of the North Air Museum

Eden Prairie, MN

Nearest Airport: Flying Cloud Airport

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For those flying into Flying Cloud Airport in Eden Prairie, stop by the Wings of the North Air Museum. Currently, the museum houses five beautifully restored World War Two aircraft, three of which are Oshkosh award-winning aircraft. In addition to a P-51D Mustang, AT-6D Texan, and a Boeing N2S-1 Stearman that was used for training at the MSP Naval Air Station during World War II and was flown by future President George H.W. Bush, guests can also see aircraft engines, ejection seats, a WWII Ford Jeep, aviation art and many other displays.

4) Split Rock Lighthouse

Two Harbors, MN

Nearest Airport: Weideman International Airport

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Split Rock Lighthouse is the most-photographed lighthouse in the U.S. and attracts countless visitors throughout the year. It may not be located directly in Duluth (just a short drive up highway-61), the trip to Two Harbors is worth it as it’s a “must-see” attraction for North Shore visitors. The lighthouse is one of America’s best-preserved and most recognized ones in the country, offering unmatched views of the lake. Tours are offered daily in summer and the Visitor Center offers displays, a film in the Theater and shopping in the Museum Store.

5) Duluth’s Great Lakes Attractions

Duluth, MN

Nearest Airport: Duluth International Airport

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No matter how many times you see it, the scenery of Duluth and the Great Lakes never gets old. Walk along the riverway to see Duluth’s Aerial Lift Bridge, which rises more than 20 times each day for boats—and skyscraper-size ships—traveling between Lake Superior and Duluth Harbor. At the Lake Superior Maritime Visitor Center, guests can learn about the lake’s shipping industry and out a pilothouse wheel. The Great Lakes Aquarium is home to playful otters, gigantic sturgeon and more aquatic wildlife that’s found in the area.

6) Munsinger Gardens

St. Cloud, MN

Nearest Airport: St. Cloud Regional Airport

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Munsinger Gardens is a 14-acre botanical garden on the Mississippi River in St. Cloud. Built on the site of a former sawmill, the gardens include flower-lined paths which wind through tall pine trees and lily-pond covered water features. Beyond the wonderful views and gorgeous natural environment, one of the best parts of these gardens is the number of peacocks roaming the gardens, giving guests a chance to view these majestic birds up-close. In addition, events such as art exhibits, musical concerts and the like happen regularly.

7) Valleyfair Amusement Park

Shakopee, MN

Nearest Airport: Flying Cloud Airport

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Fun and thrill await you, your family and friends at Valleyfair, the Midwest’s largest amusement park. With family rides that are perfect for all ages and thrill rides that will provide you with a rush of excitement, there’s something for everyone here. Plus, with their newest additions like Dinosaurs Alive, Planet Snoopy and Soak City Waterpark, even returning guests will have a unique experience.

8) Forestville/Mystery Cave State Park

Preston, MN

Nearest Airport: Filmore County Airport

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Around 1900, a forward-thinking farmer bought up the dying town of Forestville and patiently waited for the state’s historical society to recognize what he had saved. Here, visitors can tour the village of Forestville, which has been restored to an authentic 19th-century appearance. Enjoy camping, hiking, fossil hunting, horseback riding, fishing and more – below the town sits Mystery Cave, the state’s longest cave, which is open to the public.

9) World’s Largest Ball of Twine

Darwin, MN

Nearest Airport: Brandt Airport

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Darwin Minnesota is home to one of the most famous Minnesota tourist attraction, which even spawned a hit song by music icon Weird Al Yancovich. Rolled by Francis Johnson, the ball of twine is 12-feet in diameter and weighs almost nine tons. It’s currently the centerpiece of Darwin, protected in an enclosed gazebo across from the town park on Main Street. Fly-in on the second Saturday of August when the town celebrates “Twine Ball Day” to join in on festivities such as live music, food trucks, beer sampling and more.

10) Minneapolis Sculpture Garden

Minneapolis, MN

Nearest Airport: Minneapolis/St. Paul Airport

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The state’s most impressive display of sculpture and outdoor art is at the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden. This 19-acre urban green space features the iconic Spoonbridge and Cherry, as well as an arboretum and pavilion area, in addition to the Walker Art Center attached to the grounds. As recently as 2017, the sculpture garden underwent renovations to support more sustainable initiatives, making this public space greener than ever.

Ready to Fly to these Fun Places in Minnesota?

Whether you’re someone that wants to learn to fly or a certified pilot who wants to further their education, the team at Inflight Pilot Training can help you gain the freedom to explore the best flying destinations in Minnesota and throughout the country.

Ready to get started? Inflight Pilot Training is a leading flight instruction company serving Minneapolis, St. Paul and the surrounding areas. With a reputable training program and an extensive roster of highly skilled, certified flight instructors, we can give you the freedom to fly to the greatest destinations in our great state.

For additional information on Inflight training programs, contact us today or call (952) 698-3000.