Minnesotans are big on the great outdoors! Be it winter, summer, spring or fall we enjoy the outdoors. Our parks, city, county or state, have plenty of activities for all ages and activities.
The state of Minnesota itself has 72 parks and recreation areas. This Saturday, June 11 is National Get Outdoors Day which means all our state parks are offering free admission and some are offering free activities as well. This would be a great opportunity to give one of the parks a try.
Here in the Twin Cities we have our neighborhood parks and trails – most homes are located within just a few blocks of some type of park with grassy areas, playground equipment and sometimes sports fields or ice rinks as well. This holds true for the older neighborhoods as well as the newer ones. Now in the warmer months most of the parks with ball fields will offer t-ball, baseball and softball games in the evenings and on weekends. This is not just for the kids as there a numerous adult softball leagues!
Trails are also a big part of Minnesota life. We have many areas that have separate walking and biking trails and other trails that are used by both. Some are paved and some are off road. The entire state of Minnesota has over 1200 miles of hiking trails! You can head up to northern Minnesota for hiking and find bear, deer and moose or you can hike around the trails in the suburbs and find deer, fox, coyote and more. Nature can be found throughout the entire state!
If you are a runner there are more than enough trails to train on. Minnesota also offers numerous races from 5K to marathons throughout the year. Some are more “just for fun” such as the Monster Dash for Halloween and some are more serious like the Twin Cities Marathon in the fall. We also sponsor many walking events for good causes during the year, one of the bigger ones being the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure.
If biking is your thing, you can cover the entire state on a bike. Minneapolis was actually named America’s best bike city. Many people have recently started biking to work to save on gas and parking costs, to help the environment and to get fit. Some even bike in the dead of winter – they, of course, have the proper clothing and winter bike tires! Minneapolis also has a program called Nice Ride which for a yearly fee offers you the use of some 600 bikes that are parked all over the city. This system is modeled after the bike sharing in many European cities such as Copenhagen. The city has also opened some bike stations where you can park your bike for the day, get maintenance done and they even offer shower facilities so you can freshen up for work after biking into town.
Why limit parks to just people? Minnesota has numerous off leash dog parks where you can enjoy the great outdoors with mans best friend! They vary in size and style, some are a grassy area, some have swimming holes, some have wooded areas, some are free and some have a nominal fee. No matter which dog park you choose, Fido will love you for it!
Time to turn off the tv, get off the couch and explore the great outdoors through the parks and trails in Minnesota!