Minnesota is very special to the nearly 3,000 miles of the Mississippi River that winds its way to the Gulf of Mexico because that’s where the river, and the Great River Road, begins.
Minnesota’s Great River Road starts as a humble stream in Itasca State Park that you can tiptoe over, as you hear the call of the loon and watch Bald eagles soar overhead. Head out on the rest of the 565 miles of the Minnesota section that spans 43 communities, three tribes, and six unique destination areas.
As you travel, you can visit Bemidji, to capture a photo memory of Paul Bunyon and the Big Blue Ox. Next up, Cass surrounded by huge lakes, where you can learn the stories of the Ojibwe Indians and the lumberjacks who lived here.
In Grand Rapids, tour the Forest History Center. In Minneapolis, meet up with the Grand Rounds Scenic Byway, and enjoy theater, museums, concerts, and fine dining. Visit the falls of St. Anthony, the first of the Upper Mississippi’s working locks. From there, you’ll discover Bluff Country, where river vistas become remarkable and wildlife abundant.
There are a dozen more quaint towns to explore on your way to the Iowa border, where the Great River Road, becomes the route through another state.