Start Here

Minneapolis/Saint Paul metro residents and visitors can find the best local places for all your outdoor recreation activities right here on Twin Cities Outdoors.

The two main criteria for including activities are:

  • They’re nature-based
  • They’re human-powered

Outdoors and on the move!

There are so many health benefits we get from both recreation (moving) and being in nature: physical, emotional, mental and spiritual.

There’s a reason the Twin Cities was named “fittest city in America” in 2017 by the American College of Sports Medicine and the Anthem Foundation in their annual American Fitness Index. Minnesotans are active!

The Outdoor Industry Association’s 2016 Participation Report for our state tells us that 70% of Minnesotans participate in outdoor recreation every year. That’s 21.4% more than the average American.

And while getting away to other parts of our state and to other parts of our country (and the world!) are wonderful, most of the time we’re looking for opportunities right here near home.

When you’re looking at a couple hours, half a day, a weekend…we’ve got you covered!

Hiking & Running Trails Near You

There are miles upon miles of trails in the Twin Cities metro for hiking, running and walking. Many of them are multi-purpose, but there are also many for foot traffic only.

You’ll find trails that are paved and natural surface, and through all kinds of terrain: woods, prairie, rolling hills, lakeside.

fall hike minneapolis
Hiking is a year-round option in most Twin Cities parks and trails!

Explore Twin Cities hiking and running trails…

Biking Trails Near You

The Twin Cities was named America’s Best Place to Bike-Commute Year-Round by It’s not only a great place to commute, but to bike for fun, too.

There are parks with paved trails, parks with mountain bike trails and a handful of state bike trails the criss-cross the Cities, too.

bike browns creek trail
There are hundreds of miles of paved bike trails in the Minneapolis/Saint Paul metro

Explore Twin Cities bike trails…

Kayak, Canoe and SUP Spots Near You

With over a thousand lakes, the three largest rivers in the state, and several smaller rivers in the metro area, there’s no shortage of paddling opportunities here!

Whether you’re into kayaking, canoeing or paddleboarding—or all three—there are loads of waterways for you to check out.

SUP at bryant lake
With over 1,000 lakes and several area rivers, paddling options abound here!

Explore Twin Cities paddling places…

Cross Country Ski & Snowshoe Trails Near You

Don’t buy the myth that you have to hibernate indoors when the snow starts to fly and the temps drop! Many, many Minnesotans get outside just as often in our cold winters. You can join them!

You’ll find miles and miles of groomed cross country ski trails here, as well as plenty of opportunity for snowshoeing both on and off-trail.

cross country ski fort snelling pike island
Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow for ski and snowshoe options in the metro!

Explore Twin Cities cross country skiing and snowshoeing trails…

Campgrounds Near You

Whether in a tent or RV there are a handful of camping options in the 7-county metro. So if you just have a night or two, or don’t want to get too far from home you’ll find something nearby.

Several of our local parks offer camping cabins, too, for wintertime or for those who prefer a bed to sleep on.

camp bunker hills
There are several beautiful public campgrounds and a couple private ones in the Twin Cities metro

Explore Twin Cities campgrounds…

More Resources for You

Our Twin Cities Guide Series

In 2020 we began producing our Twin Cities Guide series. 48-55 pages long, each guide is a PDF digital download with tons of helpful info about our parks, trails and waterways. Each is a compilation that would take you hours to search out on your own—we make it easy for you! Each guide is $12.

Learn more about our Twin Cities Guide Series…

Outdoor Education Opportunities for All Ages

Learn how to kayak and SUP, how to cross-country ski and snowshoe. Find out the best outdoor recreation programs in our K-12 and post-secondary schools. Are you a home school family? We have educational resources for you, too.

Explore local education opportunities…

Why Outdoor Activity is So Healthy

Being fit is about a healthy weight, yes, but also so much more. It’s one of the best things you can do for your whole person—physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Health, fitness and outdoor recreation go hand-in-hand.

Explore Health & Fitness topics…

Local Outdoor Small Businesses

There are some wonderful independent outdoor small businesses in the Minneapolis/Saint Paul metro area. Let’s support them by buying local!

Learn more about local outdoor businesses…