Social distancing has becoming part of everyday life during the coronavirus pandemic, but Stay at Home and Stay Safe orders don't have to mean never leaving your home.
"The outdoors aren’t closed," said Minnesota travel writer Lindsey Ranzau. "There’s great hiking close to the Twin Cities that can be done in a day trip. Minnesota has many great hidden gems, you just have to know where to look."
Ranzau suggests heading out to some of these places to enjoy the great outdoors closer to home:
Interstate State Park - Taylors Falls
About 50 minutes northeast of Minneapolis, Taylors Falls is home to Interstate State Park, on both the Minnesota and Wisconsin sides of the St. Croix River. Hike along the sandstone bluffs with great views of the river along the way.
Right on the edge of the metro area, Stillwater features a pair of hidden gems that rate among Lindsey's favorites: Fairy Falls and the Arcola Bluffs Day Use area. She says the hike to the falls is quick, but there's plenty of other walking to be done nearby, though be warned it's not always easy with the bluffs!
Quarry Park - St. Cloud
"This is probably the biggest hidden gem in Minnesota," Ranzau said. "St. Cloud has a really gorgeous Quarry Park, where they used to do a lot of granite mining. It's a really unique spot, the water is insanely clear."
Banning State Park
About an hour and a half north of Minneapolis, in addition to the trails, you'll find a waterfall and a river great for canoeing and kayaking.
St. Croix State Park
Located along its namesake St. Croix River, this is one of the largest state parks in the Minnesota, with plenty of hiking and other activities, including a fire tower to climb for a bird's eye view of the whole region.
Ranzau shares many more ideas for hikes, day trips, and enjoying Minnesota on her website, lookaboutlindsey.com.
More hiking ideas in and around the Twin Cities: