Summer Activities in Minnesota and the Dakotas

Badlands National Park | Dave

If you want to make the most of your summer in Minnesota and the Dakotas, we’ve got you covered. Below is a look at some incredible summer activities in Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota.

Experience Minnesota’s Famous Lakes

Renowned as the “Land of 10,000 Lakes,” Minnesota is one of the top places to visit during the summer in the U.S. Minnesota showcases expansive freshwater scenery everywhere you look, offering an abundance of picturesque lakes. Among these, Big Sand Lake, Rainy Lake, and Burntside Lake stand out as premier options for nature enthusiasts and water lovers alike. Visitors can enjoy many activities, from boating, water sports, and angling to swimming or simply basking on the beach. 

Burntside Lake | Micah Larson

Visit the North Dakota State Fair

The North Dakota State Fair is an ideal way to get out and get festive with loved ones during the summer. This annual family-friendly event offers everything from concerts and midway rides to delicious dining and farm exhibitions. The fair, in Minot, typically occurs at the end of July and regularly sees hundreds of thousands of visitors. The event has included performances from major artists, such as Brad Paisley and Eric Church, along with a rodeo, demolition derby, and horse relay races. 

Explore Badlands National Park

Renowned for its stunning scenery, South Dakota’s summer sun creates the perfect environment for exploring the state’s one-of-a-kind settings. Covering more than 240,000 acres, Badlands National Park is one of the top outdoor destinations in the state. Within this otherworldly site, unique geologic formations tower hundreds of feet above the ground. Hikers and bikers can enjoy the diverse trails that lead to lookouts offering exceptional panoramic vistas. And wildlife enthusiasts will appreciate the many species of wildlife living in the park, including bison and bighorn sheep. 

Badlands National Park | Matan Levanon

Immerse Yourself in the Culture of the Twin Cities

The Twin Cities, as Minnesota’s major population centers, houses over half of the state’s residents within the bustling metropolitan area. As a vibrant cultural hub, it offers plenty of exciting activities and events to indulge in throughout the summer. Catch a music festival such as TC Summer Fest, which featured The Killers and Imagine Dragons this year; enjoy creative displays and celebrate Uptown’s art scene at the Uptown Art Fair; or sample the area’s diverse food scene at one of the city’s alfresco patios or a food festival such as MinnesoThai

Minneapolis | TopSphere Media

Head to the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally

The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in South Dakota beckons to those craving a unique experience this summer. The rally is the largest gathering of bikers in the world, regularly attracting around half a million people to the small city of Sturgis. This summer, the wild, one-of-a-kind spectacle runs from August 4th to the 13th. Whether you are a biker or not, you won’t want to miss out on the rally’s many concerts and events, including the Mayor’s Pub Crawl, the Beard and Mustache Contest, and the massive poker tournament. 

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