This tour doesn’t encompass all of Minnesota ’s wonderful natural attractions—there are just too many—but in 10 days you will get an in-depth look at both the beauty and the diversity of the state.
Head to Interstate State Park , a 45-mile ride outside the Twin Cities , for a look at some awesome geological formations carved by the water from melting glaciers during the last ice age. There are further examples in Banning State Park , which also has a wonderful wildflower display each spring. Gaze at the gorge in Jay Cooke State Park  before stopping in Duluth  for some late afternoon bird-watching on Park Point .
Before leaving town, climb Hawk Ridge , where each fall tens of thousands of migrating raptors pass by. Head up the waterfall-rich North Shore, stopping at Gooseberry Falls State Park  and Tettegouche State Park , including Palisade Head , to explore Lake Superior’s rocky shoreline. Leave the lake behind and head north on Highway 1, where you stand a good chance of seeing a moose, through the Superior National Forest .
Depending on your preference, take an extended camping trip by canoe into the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness  (book in advance) or by motorboat through Voyageurs National Park , two of the most beautiful places on earth. If you are here in the winter, you can cross the frozen lakes by ski, snowshoe, dogsled, or snowmobile. After getting back to civilization, join the International Wolf Center in Ely  for a howling trip into the forest, or travel to Orr  to meet the bears at the Vince Shute Wildlife Sanctuary .
Stop at Hill Annex Mine State Park for the morning fossil-hunting tour and then head into the Chippewa National Forest, home to a greater percentage of breeding bald eagles than anywhere else in the Lower 48, for a few hikes. Make sure you see the old-growth forest in the Lost Forty.
Look for insectivorous plants along the Bog Walk at Lake Bemidji State Park, and spend the rest of the day pondering the minute Mississippi River and admiring all the other attractions at Itasca State Park.
Tamarac National Wildlife Refuge lies on a convergence of Minnesota’s three primary ecosystems—prairie, northern hardwood forest, and northern pine forest—and so it is one of the state’s best wildlife-watching destinations, particularly for birds. Cross through the remarkably flat Red River Valley to Buffalo River State Park, which protects one of Minnesota’s largest and healthiest prairies and is a premier place to see prairie chickens doing their spring mating dance. Turn south, continuing through endless farm fields until you hit the Minnesota River near the Big Stone National Wildlife Refuge. Bird-watchers will want to detour to Salt Lake to expand their life lists. You’ll have to go pretty fast to squeeze this all into a day, but it can be done.
The wildlife-watching is always wonderful at Lac Qui Parle State Park, but especially in fall when hundreds of thousands of geese gather. Bald eagles congregate over the winter. Leave the river to see some fantastic prairie scenery at Jeffers Petroglyphs and the Sod House on the Prairie, and then stop at Minneopa State Park to see southern Minnesota’s largest waterfall and a field full of glacial erratics.
Your last day twists through the deep, rugged valleys of Minnesota’s Pseudo Driftless Area. Forestville and Mystery Cave State Park  has some especially lovely scenery and also Minnesota’s longest cave. Make a quick stop in Fountain , the “Sink Hole Capital of the U.S.A.,” before reaching the spectacular 500-foot bluffs lining the Mississippi River. Climb the bluffs at John A. Latsch State Park  for some wonderful views before heading home. (In the fall, watch the migrating tundra swans near Weaver , or, in the winter, do some eagle watching around Wabasha .)