Other than mountain climbing, your options for getting out into this glorious wilderness are endless. With one million acres, but no roads, the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness just might be the best quiet-water paddling in the world. Bikers can bypass the traffic since Minnesota is a leader in rail-to-trail conversions. Rock climbers can scale some of the best walls between Seneca and Boulder. And, of course, the fun doesn’t stop when the snow falls: from snowboards to dogsleds, you can try it all. While it’s easy to joke about Minnesota’s Scandinavian heritage — which does in fact live on in church-basement lutefisk dinners and the quiet exclamation, “Uff da!” — that doesn’t do justice to the state’s real ethnic diversity. Native American communities in the north work hard to maintain their traditions, and Minnesota is home to the largest Somali population in the United States and the largest urban Hmong population in the world, as well as sizable and established Mexican, Russian, Tibetan, Asian, and East African communities.
Add in the state’s high wages and low cost of living, and it’s not surprising that Minnesota regularly tops nationwide rankings in quality of life. Don’t be surprised if, after your visit, you just can’t bring yourself to leave: Every year thousands of people arrive as visitors and return as residents.
Excerpted from the Fourth Edition of Moon Minnesota.