Skip to Content

The Best & Worst Times to Visit Minnesota (Updated for 2024)

The Best & Worst Times to Visit Minnesota (Updated for 2024)

What's the best time to visit Minnesota?

The best time to explore Minnesota is in July and August, when the warm summer weather invites outdoor adventures. Duluth attracts visitors with its scenic Lakewalk Trail and historic Aerial Lift Bridge.

For water enthusiasts, Voyageurs National Park offers unique kayaking and canoeing experiences. Minnesota’s rich landscape, marked by rivers like the Mississippi starting from Itasca State Park and numerous waterfalls, provides a backdrop for a variety of outdoor activities.

Planning on visiting the Land of 10,000 Lakes during the summer to travel the waterways? Choosing Minnesota as your next vacation destination provides both of these options.

Head to the state’s cities to learn more about the area while touring a plethora of museums. Shopping is another popular activity with folks visiting the nation’s largest mall in Bloomington.

There are dozens of reasons to plan a vacation to Minnesota. However, choosing the best time to visit Minnesota can be challenging if you don’t know about the state. Here, we’ll lay out all your options so you can plan your vacation at the optimal time.

The Overall Best Time to Visit Minnesota

Red canoe sitting partially on the rocks of a lake during the best time to visit Minnesota

Dan Thornberg/Shutterstock

The overall best time to visit Minnesota is in the summer months, especially July and August when temperatures are warmest.

Locals and visitor travel throughout the state and head north toward the Canadian border for a cooler alternative to the humid summer weather. Duluth provides one of the most appealing options for summer travel.

In the city, you can walk along the edge of Lake Superior on the three-mile Lakewalk Trail. Following the shoreline, you can spot the Aerial Lift Bridge and the North Pier Lighthouse. The city also boasts a large freshwater aquarium and a railroad museum.

Further north, travelers can explore state and national forests, along with many lakes. One of the most popular spots for water lovers is Voyageurs National Park.

A great deal of the park can only be accessed with a watercraft, so it’s an excellent option for kayaking or canoeing. Lakes aren’t the only draw to the state for outdoor adventures.

Rivers wind their way through the state, including the mighty Mississippi, starting from headwaters in Itasca State Park. Rivers and a landscape carved by glacier retreat mean Minnesota has several gorgeous waterfalls.

Cheapest Time to Visit Minnesota

Photo of the concrete bridge over the river in downtown Minneapolis for a guide titled Best Time to Visit Minnesota


The cheapest time to visit Minnesota falls during the travel slump after the winter holidays. The period from December to February offers more affordable prices for travel necessities like lodging and airfare.

However, due to the winter conditions, you may have to purchase costly gear for the weather if you live in a warmer climate. Getting around the state during this time can be challenging due to the snow, and certain areas may be hard to reach and lack their summer splendor.

Consider instead a spring vacation before Memorial Day to catch the tail end of off-season prices along with warmer conditions.

Minnesotans celebrate the end of winter weather by getting out of the house, so you’ll find lots of free or low costs spots to visit, like farmer’s markets. The improving weather allows for cheaper activities like hiking in parks.

If you’re planning on visiting the Minneapolis-St. Paul region, save money by traveling through the city on bikes. Rent them for a low cost and drop them offer at convenient locations throughout the Twins Cities to save on gas and costly city parking.

Least Busy Time to Visit Minnesota

Fog on Lake Superior rolling in off the lake during the winter, the overall least busy time to visit Minnesota

Jacob Clausnitzer/Shutterstock

Along with being the cheapest time to visit, the least busy time to visit Minnesota is in the winter, especially January and February, due to the chilly temperatures.

However, there are other times when hotspots aren’t as busy if you don’t want to deal with below-freezing weather. Consider fall travel, since traffic declines while school is in session.

These periods see fewer visitors with lingering warm weather through October. The area’s four distinct seasons make for prime fall foliage viewing when the leaves change color.

Fall brings special events to the state, whether you want to be scared at a haunted house or challenge yourself by navigating a corn maze. Many of the region’s crops are harvested in the fall, making it a prime time for visiting markets.

Apple orchards are popular places to visit, where you can pick your own produce as you wander under the trees. However, since these activities are also popular with locals, consider a weekday visit to avoid crowds.

Worst Time to Visit Minnesota

Rocky Lake Superior pictured with rocks lining the lake during the winter, the worst time to visit Minnesota


The worst time to visit Minnesota falls during winter, especially during January when the state experiences the coldest weather However, if you want to play in the snow as locals do, there are tons of snowshoeing, skiing, and snowmobiling opportunities.

If you do decide to head to northern Minnesota during this time of year, you can experience some unique opportunities for winter fun, including traveling by dog sled.

The state offers cross-country skiing all around the state and downhill skiing where the elevation is higher, like the Lutsen in the Sawtooth Mountain range.

In addition to being a fun spot for winter activities, the Twin Cities metropolitan area has excellent attractions to visit any time of year. From museums to the nation’s largest mall, there’s something for everyone in the area.

Frequently Asked Questions

Sunrise over Voyageurs National Park as seen from the bank of a lake during the best time to visit Minnesota


These are some of the most frequently asked questions about visiting Minnesota and their answers!

What is Minnesota famous for?

One of Minnesota’s most significant claims to fame is the 10,000 lakes, drawing residents during the warmer months for swimming, fishing, and water sports. Minnesota resident, Ralph Samuelson, invented water skiing in Lake City, creating one of the state’s most popular activities in 1922.

What months are warm in Minnesota?

In May, temperatures start to warm. In northern Minnesota, the climate stays cooler than in the south, though both areas experience warmer summer weather. Southern Minnesota receives the hottest temps with frequent humidity from June through August.

What months does it snow in Minnesota?

Expect snow in Minnesota from November to April, though this varies by year. Sometimes the snow lasts longer or begins earlier. Northern areas receive more snow than parts of the state further south.

What is the best time to see fall colors in Minnesota?

Mid-September to mid-October is the best time to see fall colors in the state. The farther north you travel in Minnesota, the sooner trees change color.

What is the snowiest city in Minnesota?

Duluth ranks as Minnesota’s snowiest city due to its location on Lake Superior. The city holds the record for the highest daily snowfall in the state. The record was set in November of 1991 when Duluth received over two feet of snow in one day.

So, When Should You Visit Minnesota?

Guthrie Theater in the Twin Cities pictured during the summer, the best time to visit Minnesota

Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States – October 10, 2008: Colorful Maple trees at the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis with Gold Medal Flour silos in Autumn/Reimar/Shutterstock

The overall best time to visit Minnesota falls in warmer months to experience most of what the state offers. However, there are plenty of other things to see and do in the state during different times of the year. So what are you waiting for — book your trip today!