I- 90 Adventures
Get o; the interstate to experience southern
Minnesota’s great outdoors. | LISA HAVELKA
WHITEWATER STATE PARK, ALTURA
M;;; ;;;; ;;;; the fastest route from Wisconsin to South Dakota, I- 90 o;ers road trippers
a chance to experience some of the
best outdoor adventures that southern
Minnesota has to o;er. From rock
climbing and windsurfing to fly fishing,
visitors may be surprised to discover all
there is to do just beyond the next exit.
Blue Mounds State Park, just north
of Luverne in the southwest corner of
the state, is distinguished by its 1,500
acres of ancient prairie and one of the
last remaining herds of purebred bison
in the world. The park, which includes
a small piece of America’s once vast
tallgrass prairie, is home to hundreds of
wildflowers, big bluestem grasses up to
7 feet tall and prickly pear cacti. Reserve
a seat on the new bison and prairie tour
and ride in an open-air vehicle through
the scenic landscape.
The prairie sits on top of a massive,
dramatic cli; of Sioux quartzite, 1. 5 miles
long and 90 feet high in spots, making it
a popular destination for rock climbing.
Spend a day hiking or biking on the trails,
or stay overnight in your tent, RV or in
the on-site tipis.
Staking its claim to “the best wind in
the Midwest,” Worthington is located
near Buffalo Ridge in southwest
Minnesota and has one of the largest
wind farms in the region. The
795-acre Lake Okabena benefits from
the winds generated, often at speeds
of 15 or more knots, making it ideal
for windsurfing. The Worthington
Okabena Windsurfers host the annual
Windsurfing Regatta & Music Festival
in June that draws many fans and
spectators, and has hosted the U.S.
Windsurfing National Championships.
Interested in learning to windsurf
yourself? World-renowned instructors
o;er lessons for all ages, providing
equipment and instruction on land
before ge;ing in the water.
Stop by Lake Okabena throughout the
summer to enjoy the public beaches and
other water sports, including boating,
canoeing, waterskiing and fishing. Come
winter, don’t miss Winterfest on the Lake,
which includes an ice fishing contest and
a plunge into the chilly water for charity.
Albert Lea is known as the “Land
between the Lakes” for its location
between Fountain and Albert Lea lakes.
Take a cruise on Albert Lea Lake aboard
the Pelican Breeze II, a 60-foot riverboat
replica complete with two smokestacks
and a paddlewheel.
Rent a canoe at the Brookside
Boathouse on Fountain Lake and paddle
down the Shell Rock River State Trail,
which begins at the headwaters of
Fountain Lake, meanders through Albert
Lea and onto the Shell Rock River for 20
miles before ending at the Iowa border.
Beyond the lakes, the Blazing Star
Bike Trail connects visitors to Myre Big
Island State Park, where the wetlands
make for spectacular bird-watching,
especially during the spring and fall
The Jay C. Hormel Nature Center
in Austin began in 1927 with a single
tree, planted by Jay, the son of Hormel
Foods founder George A. Hormel. Today,
this 507-acre nature center features
hardwood and pine forest, wetlands, a
restored prairie, walking trails and 10
miles of hiking, cross-country skiing and
Visit at night to see the planets, stars
and constellations through the 12-foot
ash dome of the Sola Fide Observatory’s
10-inch refractor telescope, open on
select Saturdays. The main building
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