If you’re dying to get away for a day trip, but don’t want to waste half the day driving, our region of the country is just LOADED with beautiful destinations that you can reach on one tank of gas (roughly).


One of my favorite things to do is road trip with my family. It's fun to see the beautiful countryside and share stories from back in the day while you're out on the open road.

When I lived in Fargo, there wasn't much to see and enjoy because everything was so flat and boring unless you went further out west in North Dakota. I really took for granted what we have here for sites in the Land of 10,000 Lakes.

So check out some favorites of mine and recommendations from others below for some road trips that can be done with a single tank of gas.

[Note: Trip lengths and times are one-way and calculated from Rochester]

  • Winona, MN [54 miles / 1 hour]: The fact I spent four years there while attending Winona State University has everything to do why it's my #1 spot on this list. The beautiful bluffs/Sugar Loaf, river, trails, its many golf courses and several museums, and all the little nuances help make this big-little city a must visit. Plus there's as many bars as there are churches in town, so it's always fun to try and find them all.
  • Whitewater State Park [26 miles / 35 min]: You're about to see a pattern with me, because this stop also has extremely picturesque limestone bluffs as well as deep ravines that make Whitewater a very popular state park. The 2,700 acre park is also an angler's paradise with brown, brook, and rainbow trout swimming in its waters. There's a year-round visitor center, plenty of hiking trails, and camping. Plus in the winter you can go cross-country skiing and snowshoeing, and stay at the group center in rustic, winterized cabins. Awesome!
  • Spam Museum [42 miles / 43 min]: The whole idea of this place is so funny, that it is a "must do" when passing by. The whole place is dedicated to the history and use of SPAM around the world. There's also some info about the company that makes it, and their other products. Plus you can walk out with a nifty souvenir from their gift shop to remember you visit by.
  • Wisconsin Dells [156 Miles / 2 hours 18 min]: Living in southeast Minnesota, I'd be remiss if I didn't include Wisconsin Dells on this list. Between all the waterparks, resorts, attractions, restaurants, campgrounds, and it's hundreds of events every year, it's hard to NOT find something to do when you're visiting the Waterpark Capital of the World.
  • Lanesboro, MN [48 miles / 48 min]: Once up for the title of Best Midwestern Small Town in America, Lanesboro has so much to offer. Located in the Root River Valley and surrounded by Amish country, all of its different outdoor activities around the area, including fishing, hiking and canoeing keep the people coming back for more all year-round.
  • Surf Ballroom & Museum [100 miles / 1 hour 32 min] Great suggestion from Facebook! Located in Clear Lake, IA, the music lover in you will walk their halls filled w/ photo's & memorabilia of legendary recording artists who have performed there. The historical value alone is enough of a draw in itself!

Didn’t see your favorite one-tank trip? Leave your comments below and I’ll add them on! Happy traveling!

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