My wife and I love traveling, but it became a lot harder once we had kids. We still managed to get out, but our trips were shorter and closer to home. I feel like we've explored most of Minnesota, but I know there are still a lot of places worth checking out.

Explore Minnesota recently unveiled its annual tourism report, highlighting the most popular destinations around the state. Find inspiration for your summer road trip below.

What Is Explore Minnesota?

The Tourism Council is made up of individuals from various sectors in hospitality and tourism. It aims to boost tourism in the state by promoting activities that enhance both domestic and international travel, leading to more visitor spending, tax revenue, and job opportunities.

The Most Visited Locations In Minnesota

Explore Minnesota used geolocation data collected from smartphone apps and tracked 500 points of interest across the state to determine where people were visiting.

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Explore Minnesota says that tourism is finally back to pre-pandemic levels and outlined the top destinations in each region of the state. Below you'll see the most visited locations in each section of the state.

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Northeast Minnesota's Top Tourist Destinations

Duluth is a popular Tourist Destination in the Upper Midwest on the Shores of Lake Superior in Far North Minnesota
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Not surprisingly, Duluth's downtown and Canal Parkare the most visited areas, accounting for 28% to 26% of trips in this region. Grand Casino - Hinckley follows with 12%, while the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness attracts 8% of visitors.

Central Minnesota's Top Tourist Destinations

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In Central Minnesota, top spots include Grand Casino in Mille Lacs and Gull Lake, each accounting for 16% of visits, followed by Mille Lacs Lake with 11%. Breezy Point Resort Golf Course was another popular destination.

The Top Destinations In The Twin Cities

Credit: Google Maps
Credit: Google Maps
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In the Twin Cities area, the Mall of America leads the pack with 29% of visits, followed by downtown Minneapolis at 12%. The Central Mississippi Riverfront, U.S. Bank Stadium, and the Minnesota State Fairgrounds each draw in 9%, 5%, and 5% of visitors respectively. Mystic Lake Casino and Target Field round out the list with 5% and 4% of visits.

Northwest Minnesota's Top Tourist Destinations

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In Northwest Minnesota, Lake of the Woods tops the list with 21% of visits, followed by Leech Lake at 18%. Downtown Bemidji captures 13% of tourists' attention, with Shooting Star Casino following closely at 12%.

Southern Minnesota's Top Tourist Locations

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Southern Minnesota's most visited locations include downtown Rochester with 24% of visits. It's probably safe to assume many are coming to visit Mayo Clinic which isn't really a fun trip, but downtown Rochester does host fun events like Thursdays Downtown which attracts 20-30K people each week in the summer.

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

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Gallery Credit: Samm Adams

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