Minneapolis, Minnesota is an amazing city filled with historic homes, beautiful parks, expansive lakes, and rivers offering gorgeous views and plenty of fun recreational activities. While the “Mini-Apple” is definitely a great place to both visit and live in, it’s sometimes nice to get away from city life to enjoy a quiet weekend getaway with your one and only. If you live in or are visiting Minneapolis and want to take a short getaway with your someone special, you’re in luck. After settling into your Minneapolis vacation rental, venture to one of these seven destinations perfect for a weekend trip.

1. Stillwater

lake city trees
Source: Flickr/Dave Gingrich

For a short excursion to a welcoming town away from the hustle and bustle of the city, take a weekend getaway in Stillwater. Located about 30 miles south of Minneapolis, Stillwater’s picturesque landscapes and quaint downtown shops and restaurants are reminiscent of yesteryear, making it an ideal spot for a quiet mini-break. Take a long stroll along the Stillwater Bridge and take photos of the beautiful St. Croix River, then pop over to Pioneer Park for a leisurely picnic along the river bank. For a refreshing treat, visit Leo’s Grill and Malt Shop on Main Street, and share a malted while admiring the retro atmosphere. If you wish to surprise your partner with a delicious romantic meal, head over to Domacin Restaurant and Wine Bar for a bottle of red and some tasty Mediterranean food.

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2. Lutsen

snow-covered hills
Source: Flickr/Jim Sorbie

Lutsen is a great spot for both winter and summer getaways, as this cozy town is home to the Lutsen Mountain Resort, which sits just minutes from both Lutsen Mountain and Lake Superior. Located in Northern Minnesota, a road trip to Lutsen takes approximately four hours, and it’s definitely worth the drive. Book a vacation rental with spectacular mountain views, and take in an amazing Minnesota sunrise before you start your day. Visit the resort and hit the slopes on skis, snowboards, or snowmobiles during the cold season, or partake in a variety of water activities when visiting in the summer. For a fun night on the town with your sweetheart, enjoy some live music and breathtaking mountain views at Papa Charlie’s Tavern and Stage.

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3. Taylors Falls

falls canyon
Source: Flickr/Smitty 54017’s Photos

Taylors Falls is approximately 51 miles and a short one-hour drive from Minneapolis, and it’s an ideal getaway location for couples who love outdoor adventures. This welcoming small town is home to Interstate Park, a diverse and beautiful recreation area that sits on the St. Croix River. During the summer months, the river provides the perfect backdrop for canoeing, kayaking, and excursion boating, while the winter months are perfect for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing on the park’s abundance of trails. If you’re looking to pick up a few gifts to take back to Minneapolis, be sure to stop by Swanky Sweet Pea, a locally-owned specialty shop with one-of-a-kind items, such as handmade soaps and candles. Before you head back home, treat your sweetheart to a quiet seafood meal at Tangled Up In Blue Restaurant.

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4. Brainerd Lakes Area

pond beach
Source: Flickr/Greg Gjerdingen

If you feel like spending some time on the water, surrounded by beautiful views and mingling with loons and Canadian geese, book a weekend vacation rental in the Brainerd Lakes area. Located approximately three hours from Minneapolis, the Brainerd Lakes area is all about fun and relaxation. Spend some time boating or fishing on Gull or Bay Lake, then pay a visit to Paul Bunyan Land, a beloved theme park dedicated to the world-famous lumberjack. For a romantic meal with gorgeous views of the water, book a table for two at Madden’s. If you’re hoping to squeeze in a little shopping, Nisswa Pioneer Village in Brainerd offers a host of shops along Main Street, where you’ll find some great trinkets and souvenirs that honor the local area and its history.

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5. Wabasha

historic home
Source: Flickr/Teemu008

The town of Wabasha is about 90 miles away from Minneapolis and sits along the Mississippi River. Here, you’ll find vacation rentals ranging from rustic cabins to rental homes just a few minutes from the river’s edge. The town’s proximity to the Coffee Mill Ski Resort makes Wabasha a great spot for couples who enjoy recreation, and the downtown area houses a variety of shops and restaurants for a touch of city life. For a little live music in a friendly atmosphere, enjoy a date night at Moonshine Showcase on Broadway in Downtown Wabasha, Listen to original music by local and big name acts, then head over to Main Street for a cozy meal and a pint at The Olde Triangle Pub.

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6. Grand Marais

lake rocks
Source: Flickr/Roy Luck

If you’re up for a romantic road trip, take a 4.5-hour drive south of Minneapolis and visit Grand Marais. This beautiful village sits along Lake Superior, with vacation rentals just steps away from the rocky shoreline. While this quaint town is on the smaller side, there’s plenty to keep you occupied, from romantic walks along the beach to visiting local museums. Spend a morning at the Grand Marais Harbor, taking in the fresh air and lake atmosphere, then visit the Cook County Historical Museum, housed in the old quarters of the lightkeepers who once ran the Grand Marais Lighthouse. For a cozy dinner for two, head to the Harbor House Grille for some delicious seafood.

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7. Prior Lake

lake pier sunset
Source: Flickr/Laura

Prior Lake is approximately 25 miles and a short 30-minute drive from Minneapolis. This peaceful city is surrounded by the lake it’s named after, with beautiful natural scenery at every turn. Many of the vacation rental homes in Prior Lake sit just minutes from a host of parks and recreation areas, including Murphy-Hanrehan Park Reserve and Sand Point Beach Park, where you can take nature walks and cross country ski in the winter, and enjoy some water fun such as boating and swimming during the summer. For a fun date night on the town, head over to Mystic Lake Casino. Take in a live music show, try your hand at the slots, or enjoy a Vegas-style meal at the casino buffet. If you’re visiting during the winter months and the temps are a bit too chilly for outdoor activities, take the fun inside and have an ice skating date at Dakotah! Ice Center.

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