Ah, summer. Finally. For many folks, it’s been a long (long) winter, and now is the time when the Midwest reminds us why we live here. I don’t know about you, but the draw is definitely not the late-April snowstorms.
Maybe you’ve had your summer to-do list planned out for a while, have already hit up the trails, gone camping, and eaten more than a few scoops of ice cream. If not, don’t sweat it—well, maybe a little bit of sweat—here are a few more activities to make the most of these warm-weather months.
Hunt for Treasure
Minnesota State Parks are offering a slew of geocaching opportunities this summer, including the very awesome-sounding Aquatic Quest, which encourages visitors to find and collect all 82 caches spread across the state’s parks and trails. (Psst—Juniors can knock out the requirements for their Geocacher badge.) These programs are all free, but you’ll need a vehicle permit to enter any of the state parks.
Head outdoors to learn about the animals we share this earth with. The Wildlife Science Center, a research facility that helps conserve the wolf population, offers tours to the general public every Saturday. Check out the deer yard at Fawn-Doe-Rosa (the name never gets old) for encounters with deer, geese, and elk (oh my!), or opt for little-less-wild encounters at their petting area and farmyard. Fawn-Doe-Rosa is open daily through Labor Day.
22830 Sunrise Rd NE, Stacy, MN 55079
2131 US Hwy 8 St. Croix Falls, WI 54024
Get a Pizza Pie
Who can say no to a slice of pizza? And paired with unbeatable scenery? The combination is basically irresistible. One of the perks of summer is dining al fresco, so take advantage of it when you can and grab dinner at one of the many pizza farms spread across our fine states. In Minnesota, there’s Red Barn Farm and DreamAcres Farm, and in Wisconsin, there’s Borner Farm Project and A to Z Produce and Bakery. Check here for a list of other farms slingin’ pies at a location near you.
Visit a Waterfall
Sure, we’re the states with lakes to spare, but let’s not forget that we also have some pretty impressive waterfalls. Most of these attractions are an easy hike in from the trailhead, so even young Daisies can enjoy the sights. Lace up your boots, grab some GORP, and head out to any of these spots:
- Cascade Falls in Osceola, WI. At night, these falls are lit with LED lights—how cool is that?
- Ramsey Falls in Redwood Falls, MN. Nicknamed the “Little Yellowstone of Minnesota,” Alexander Ramsey Park also has a zoo, museum, and suspension bridge.
- High Falls at Tettegouche State Park in Silver Bay, MN. This 60-foot waterfall is one of the highest in the state!
- Devil’s Kettle in Hovland, MN. Ponder where all that water goes, then uncover the story behind the waterfall—one that’s stumped scientists for decades.
However you decide to spend these dog days of summer, we’d love to hear about it—share your story with us!
Lily Yu – Lily is a Volunteer Resource Specialist at River Valleys. She earned her BA in comparative literature and Japanese from Hamilton College and has a background in publishing and advertising. Though she wasn’t a Girl Scout growing up, Lily is making up for lost time by leading her daughter’s Daisy troop (who’s more excited to work on petals and Journeys—it could go either way!). In her free time, she enjoys going for long walks, reading, and spending time with her family.