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Winter Recreation in Minnesota

Sledding, Snowmobiling & Skiing in the North Star State

Minnesota Winter Activities

Sledding in MN

Don’t hide out in the Mall of America during your winter break in Minnesota.

This year, choose from an extraordinary menu of outdoor activities – but only if you’ve got the appetite for skiing and snowboarding, ice fishing, and snowmobiling.

Join the fun at St. Paul's Winter Carnival when visiting Minnesota, or stick around for the City of Lakes Loppet in Minneapolis – a cross-country skiing celebration happening in February.

However, you don’t have to stay in the Twin Cities for some solid winter fun; venture out into the Minnesota cities and countryside for unforgettable winter activites.

Find your favorite winter spot in the North Star State, because you’ll be back next year for sure.

Skiing & Snowboarding

Planing on bringing your snowboard and skis? Check out Minnesota ski areas like the Hyland Ski & Snowboard Area in Bloomington, or the Buck Hill Ski Area in Burnsville.

Minnesota Winter Activities

Skiing in MN

Set in northeastern Minnesota, the cozy port city of Duluth rests against the shore of Lake Superior.

If you're in northwestern Minnesota, be sure to check out Detroit Mountain near the city of Detroit Lakes. The Detroit Mountain Recreation Area offers 20 ski trails – including Heavy Metal and Pura Vida – plus the Landslide Tubing Park, and trails for cross-country skiing, snow shoeing, and winter biking.

Once you’ve arrived, get directions to the Chester Bowl Ski Area – a 117-acre city park home to a 175-foot drop for alpine skiers. Don't miss excellents views of the city before you drop.

The family may also take advantage of ski lessons provided by the Chester Bowl Improvement Club, or try other winter activities at Chester Bowl like ice skating and cross-country skiing.

Southern MN visitors, head to Mount Kato Ski Area – another great ski area this time set near the city of Mankato. Bring your skis – or take advantage of the full-service rental shop.

These excursions include four beginner trails, eight intermediate trails, and seven advanced trails – plus eight chair lifts and four terrain parks for you snowboarding fans.

Ice Fishing & Snowmobiling

They don’t call it the Land of 10,000 Lakes for nothing. A Minnesota tradition, ice fishing is a highly awaited winter activity anticipated by both visitors and residents of the North Star State.

Minnesota Winter Activities

Ice Fishing in MN

Guarded by the giant walleye pike, Mille Lacs Lake is a fixture of central Minnesota. Come winter, the lake comes alive with recreation like snowmobiling, cross-country skiing and of course, ice fishing.

Rent a fish house on Mille Lacs Lake come the beginning of December, look into ice fishing guide services, and take advantage of nearby bait shops.

Just south of Mille Lac Lake is the sleepy destination town of Onamia – a hotspot for snowmobiling and gateway to the big lake.

Just north of St. Cloud on U.S. Highway 169, you can take a scenic day trip up to Onamia for everything winter fun.

Rent a snowmobile in town, and zip past stunning landscapes and beautiful evergreen and birch trees. Choose from the Soo Line snowmobile trail, or head down over 140 miles of snowmobile pathways maintained by the Mille Lacs Trails Snowmobile Club.

Cross-country Skiing, Snowshoeing, & Sledding

In Minnesota, winter means one thing: Snow, and lots of it. In southeastern Minnesota, the city of Rochester can accommodate any snow sport craving you may have during your time in the North Star State.

Once you find yourself in southern Minnesota, head to the Quarry Hill Nature Center for a day of cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and some epic snowball fights with the family.

Open daily until 5 p.m., the 320-acre Quarry Hill Nature Center features ski and snowshoe rental, and allows the family dog to tag along. Ready to learn a thing or two? Take advantage of Quarry Hill’s many winter classes, like Winter Nature Photography, and winter survival courses.

Continue your winter recreation tour of southeastern Minnesota at Judd Park and Schmidt Park – home to great cross-country skiing, and some pretty intense downhill sledding. For more cross-country skiing, head to Whitewater State Park for six miles of ski trails, and snowshoeing opportunities throughout the park.

Plan a stay in Burnsville this winter, and be sure to check out the Murphy-Hanrehan Park Reserve. This park in northeast Scott County is home to some of MN's most chellenging cross-country skiing, thanks in part to its glacial ridges and hilly terrain. 

This winter, when you’re looking for great ski areas, snowmobile trails, and ice fishing, all you have to do is keep Minnesota in mind.


Best Western Hotels Along the Way:


Best Western Plus Bloomington Hotel

1901 Killebrew Drive, Bloomington MN 55425-1890
Phone: +1 952-854-8200  |  Fax: (952) 854-6940  |  Hotel Details & Reservations »


Best Western Premier Nicollet Inn

14201 Nicollet Avenue, Burnsville MN 55337-5773
Phone: +1 952-435-2100  |  Fax: (952) 435-2483  |  Hotel Details & Reservations »


Best Western Hotel & Restaurant

1111 Range Street, Mankato MN 56003-2214
Phone: +1 507-625-9333  |  Fax: (507) 386-4592  |  Hotel Details & Reservations »


Best Western Plus The Normandy Inn & Suites

405 S 8th Street, Minneapolis MN 55404-1026
Phone: +1 612-370-1400  |  Fax: (612) 370-0351  |  Hotel Details & Reservations »


Best Western Plus Kelly Inn

100 4th Avenue S, Saint Cloud MN 56301-3615
Phone: +1 320-253-0606  |  Fax: (320) 202-0505  |  Hotel Details & Reservations »


Best Western Plus Capitol Ridge

161 Saint Anthony Avenue, Saint Paul MN 55103-2382
Phone: +1 651-227-8711  |  Fax: (651) 227-1698  |  Hotel Details & Reservations »


Best Western Plus Como Park Hotel

1010 Bandana Boulevard W, Saint Paul MN 55108-5107
Phone: +1 651-647-1637  |  Fax: +1 651-647-1637  |  Hotel Details & Reservations »

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