Watch CBS News

Vacation spots in the midwest that feel like international destinations

Travel destinations in the midwest that feel like international vacations
Travel destinations in the midwest that feel like international vacations 05:49

MINNEAPOLIS — Traveling across the world can get quite expensive, but Minnesota and areas in the upper midwest have gems that are just a car ride away.

Consider the state's own national park — Voyageurs — which mirrors the bold beauty of the Pacific Northwest. If you've ever eyed the scale of spots like the Grand Canyon, the Badlands of South Dakota could be the place to visit. If you're craving massive majestic marvels - like Yellowstone or the coast of California, consider the Black Hills, with Yosemite-like rock formations jetting from the landscape.

If you want to be completely immersed in nature, you can visit a tranquil tiny home at Samsara Ridge, nestled in the country just outside of Taylors Falls. The warm, simple interior is almost reminiscent of a getaway in the Nordic countryside or a quiet corner of Japan.

"It has this view of the river valley that just goes on forever," explained Julia Beasley. "Rolling hills and farm fields; it's rich with wildlife." 

Doug Beasley, a world renowned photographer, intended to create a unique, beautiful setting. 

"It is a small space, but you're just connected with the expansive views and this incredibly large property that's to yourself; it's views for someone to gain some perspective on their life or their relationship, reconnect with the harmony of nature, and just get some of that beauty of natural immersion," said Julia Beasley.

It's just a 10 minute drive from Taylor's Falls, with canoeing, hiking, horseback riding, and mountain biking at your fingertips.

Across the state to the Fond Du Lac area, and you'll find the closest thing to a private island within driving distance of the Twin Cities. 

"When I turned 19, this place came up for sale," recalled Craig Semanas, who bought the Little Lake House in 1984 and slowly started rebuilding it. 

"It's like living on an island because you're actually 10 to15 feet from the water's edge. There's no house like it on the lake because its on a peninsula," he said.

Yet it's only a 5 minute drive to the city, lined with lakefront restaurants and entertainment. 

And if you're searching to set sail, instead of hopping to Florida and boarding a giant ship, you can drive north to embark on the cruise of a lifetime with Pearl Seas Great Lakes Explorer, which is set to start departing from Duluth in May. It can carry 210 passengers, and the cruises run all summer throughout the region, visiting ports in Mackinac Island and even going to Niagara Falls.

And while European river cruises sound intimate - they require a long flight. American Cruise Lines offers Mississippi river cruises so you can set sail without stepping foot on an airplane. 

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.