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5 Great Places to Visit on Your Next Trip and Photography in Minnesota

Wednesday, April 11th, 2012

Minnesota is perhaps one of the greenest States in the United States. Its lakes and mountains make it a perfect place for nature enthusiasts and photographers as well.

If you love landscapes as a subject to your photography, here are some places that you may want to pay a visit on your next trip to Minnesota.

1. The Jay Cooke State Park or Lake Superior State Parks This nature park is situated approximately 10 miles in the southwestern part of Duluth. You can try your luck by trying to capture photos of the following animal species: 46 mammal species (including black bears, Timberwolves and coyotes) 173 bird species 16 reptile species that are non – poisonous.

2. Super Hiking Trail (SHT) Do you enjoy mountain climbing as much as you love photography. If you do, then the SHT is for you. If you are up to it, you can enjoy the 244 – mile trail alongside the Lake Superior. While enjoying the hike, you can take snapshots of the lake and some breath taking sights of the trail itself.

3. Voyageurs National Park The name came from the initial French – Canadian tourists who frequent this place via canoes. This national park boasts of 30 or so lakes that are adorned with approximately 1000 islands. Boating, canoeing and fishing are among the activities you can enjoy. Of course, on the way, you can take snapshots of the islands as a souvenir of your trip.

4. Minnehaha (Laughing) Falls This unassuming waterfall can be found in the southeastern part of Minneapolis. However, the Minnehaha Falls is not the only attraction that is “photo” worthy. Tourists and locals alike, have found themselves posing beside the statues of Hiawatha and Minnehaha. Both of which are famous because of Longfellow’s “Song of Hiawatha”.

5. Como Park Zoo and Conservatory If you are looking for a haven in the midst of the hustle and bustle of the city, the Como Park Zoo and Conservatory can be your best bet. The park is not only a sanctuary to big cats, other mammals and birds but in its midst, you can also find a Japanese garden where you can take photographs of manicured Zen garden and bonsais. If you are looking for color in your photographs and the flowers and orchids are not enough, you can visit the Enchanted Garden filled with all sorts of butterflies.

8 Best State Parks in Minnesota

Thursday, February 9th, 2012

1. Bear Head Lake State Park

Bear Head Lake Park, though little known outside of Minnesota, was voted as America’s Favorite Park in 2010. In a contest designed by a major soft drink company in which 5.7 million votes were cast, Bear Head Lake State Park beat out the likes of Yellowstone and Yosemite to take the title. The park is located just south of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area in Minnesota and is home to black bears, wolves, deer and moose. Things to see and do in Bear Head Lake State Park include tent and RV camping, fishing, 17 miles of hiking trails and lakes with sand beaches and boat and canoe access.

2. Split Rock Lighthouse State Park

Split Rock Lighthouse is located on the shores of Lake Superior near the town of Two Harbors, MN, and is said to be “the most photographed lighthouse in America”. In 1905, the Mataafa Storm damaged 29 ships, leading to the eventual construction of the lighthouse in 1910. The lighthouse was built before Highway 61 ran through the area, so a steam-powered hoisting derrick was built and the supplies were shipped in and hoisted to the top of the 130-foot cliff. In 1924 the North Shore Highway that ran from Duluth, MN to the Canadian border was completed, and Split Rock began to attract visitors from Duluth and other nearby areas. The lighthouse attendants were expected to be gracious hosts to the tourists until it became too much to handle. The Split Rock Lighthouse visitor log recorded 30,000 names and an estimated 90,000 total visitors in a single year, at which time the lighthouse staff was relieved of its tour guide duties.

3. Itasca State Park

Itasca Park is Minnesota’s oldest state park and home to Lake Itasca, the headwaters of the mighty Mississippi River. In 1832 explorer Henry Rowe Schoolcraft correctly claimed Lake Itasca as the source of the Mississippi. He named the lake by combining the Latin words for “truth” (verITAS) and “head” (CAput), linking them together and forming a new word, Itasca. Itasca State Park, MN is located west of Highway 371 near Leech Lake, and offers many things to do such as camping, fishing, canoeing and kayaking and hiking.

4. Scenic State Park

Scenic Park is located amidst the Superior National Forest in northeastern Minnesota. The park is home to a forest of virgin white and red pines that were never touched by logging interests, as well as the untouched beauty of Coon Lake, Sandwick Lake and Lake of the Isles. Some things to see and do in Scenic State Park include hiking the Chase Point Trail, view the interpretive displays at the historic CCC-built lodge houses, RV camping, tent camping (drive-in, backpack, and boat-in sites available), fishing, canoeing, birding and taking in the scenic views.

5. Frontenac State Park

Frontenac Park, MN is located at Lake Pepin, a natural widening of the Mississippi River, and is known as one of the best bird watching areas in the country. The park is home to numerous scenic overlooks and is home to the bluff called “point-no-point”. A trick in visual perspective makes the bluff appear prominent from a distance to travelers moving downstream on the river, but vanishes from view as it is approached. One of the Gerard brothers, the first settlers of the nearby town of Old Frontenac, used to jump from point-no-point with his flying machines in an attempt to soar above the river. The machines didn’t work, but he was never badly hurt in his attempts. Some things to see and do in Frontenac Park are birding, hiking, camping, canoeing and boating. This park lies along the Great River Road Minnesota, which follows the Mississippi River from the Twin Cities to the Iowa Border. This is a beautiful drive that you must take sometime.

6. Jay Cooke State Park

Jay Cooke Park on Minnesota’s North Shore is home to three different zones of Rustic Style constructed buildings, all of which are on the National Register of Historic Places. Jay Cooke, the park’s namesake, was a very successful banker who operated around the time of the Civil War. Jay Cooke Park offers much to visitors in the way of camping, hiking, and biking along the beautiful St. Louis River, and is well known for the swinging suspension bridge that rises high above the river.

7. Grand Portage State Park

Grand Portage Park is home to Minnesota’s highest waterfall, over 120 feet. Grand Portage is located along the Pigeon River in MN near the Canadian border on the shores of Lake Superior. The park is home to the Grand Portage National Monument and Heritage Center, where visitors can have the history of early Native Americans and the fur trading era interpreted for them. The High Falls of Grand Portage required travelers to get out of their boats and carry them around the falls. This act is known as a “portage” and the inland Lake Superior bypass of the falls became known as the “Grand Portage”.

8. Tettegouche State Park

Tettegouche Park is one of Minnesota’s hidden natural treasures. The park is home to the High Falls of the Baptism River, beautiful overlooks at Shovel Point and a hiker’s paradise with miles of trails overlooking the Sawtooth Mountains. You can rent a rustic cabin at the historic Tettegouche Camp, or stick with standard tent camping. Tettegouche State Park is one of few places that have camping year round.