(of motorhome rental after previous one night hotel stay upon arrival)
Collect your motorhome in Minneapolis, and then it’s not a long drive to your base camp for the next couple of nights at the Minneapolis Southwest KOA in Jordan.
Tour the “Twin Cities” of Minneapolis and Saint Paul which is one of the greenest metropolitan areas in America with over 1,000 lakes and 400 parks including Mississippi National River and Recreation Area and the Grand Rounds Scenic Byway.
Visit the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden and if time permits the adjoining Walker Art Center. Allow a full day’s visit to Mall of America for some serious shopping. As one of the most visited tourist destinations in the world, Mall of America features 520 stores, 50 restaurants and attractions galore, including Nickelodeon Universe, the nation’s largest indoor theme park, and the new American Girl store.
★ Take a paddlewheel cruise on the Mississippi River. Maybe tour the city by bike – rated top bicycling city in the US by Bicycling magazine. Stock up at all the shops on your visit to Mall of America and remember there’s no sales tax on clothing or shoes in Minnesota!
Today you drive to Itasca State Park, headwaters of the Mississippi River and Minnesota’s oldest state park. Enjoy the park’s 100 lakes, 32,000 acres and walk across the mighty Mississippi as it starts its winding journey 2,552 miles to the Gulf of Mexico.
✪ 235 miles to Itasca State Park
★ Visit the Itasca Indian Cemetery or Wegmann’s Cabin, landmarks of centuries gone by. Explore Wilderness Drive past the 2,000 acre Wilderness sanctuary.
Today you drive to Ely named America’s coolest small town by Budget Travel magazine. Visit the North America Bear Center which provides a detailed insight into the lives of the black bears that roam Minnesota’s northern woods. Also located at Ely is the International Wolf Center, featuring a resident wolf pack and offering a variety of educational programs. Tonight you camp at Bear Head Lake State Park, recently voted America’s favourite park in a nationwide campaign sponsored by Coca-Cola.
✪ 210 miles to Ely
★ From the Bear Center windows and observation deck, watch three live bears in a 2 acre wooden enclosure with pond. Enjoy some fun activities at the Wolf Center including night-time howling with the wolves!
Explore the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness on a day canoe trip, a 1.09 million acre wilderness area within the Superior National Forest. National Geographic magazine rated it among 50 places of a lifetime that any serious world travel must visit. This is a roadless wilderness accessible only by canoe or kayak!
★ Try your hand at fishing which is a popular activity. Game species includes pike, smallmouth bass, yellow perch & lake trout. Maybe you will even spot some beaver, bears, moose or bald eagles.
Depart for Duluth via the North Shore Scenic Drive, along the coast of Lake Superior. The 154 mile North Shore scenic coastal seashore drive is truly dramatic. Lake encompasses 8 state parks and brims with natural wonder. Spend some time exploring Duluth known for its rocky shoreline and Canal Park with its iconic Aerial Lift Bridge.
✪ 120 miles to Duluth
★ Suggested stops include Split Rock Lighthouse Historic Site and Gooseberry Falls state park. Appreciate the areas beauty & wilderness by hiking The Superior Hiking Trail.
Drive to Wabasha following Jay Cooke state park, Veterans Evergreen Memorial Scenic Drive, Saint Croix National Scenic Riverway, first among the nation’s Wild Scenic Rivers, and Great River Road, a National Scenic Byway.
✪ 250 miles to Wabasha
★ Suggested stops include the historic river towns of Stillwater and Red Wing.
Visit the National Eagle Center in Wabasha. Four eagles reside at the center and interactive exhibits explain the biology of the eagle, the cultural history of the eagle, its significance as a national symbol and its importance to American Indian cultures. Minnesota has over 1,300 nesting pairs of eagles and Wabasha has one of the largest concentrations of wintering bald eagles in the nation. Drive Bluff Country with soaring, wooded bluffs and charming river towns to stop off at along the way. These scenic river valleys offer plenty to see and do, with antique shops, wineries and apple orchards. There are many Amish homesteads in the area, and shops carry their quilts.
✪ 65 miles
★ Watch eagles soaring overhead, perching in trees or fishing along the river from the vast windows of the new facility at the Eagle Center or by the riverside observation deck. Niagara Cave & Mystery cave tours are other area highlights. Tonight you are camping at the Old Barn Resort & River’s Bend golf course in charming Lanesboro.
It’s an early start to drive the 125 miles back to the Cruise America depot in Minneapolis, unless you have booked the Earlybird departure so you have until 3pm!