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Spontaneous Summer Escapes: Take a Day Trip to Lanesboro & Whalan, MN

In the heart of southeastern Minnesota lies a hidden gem waiting to be discovered: thea beautiful river towns of Lanesboro & Whalan. Tired of the same old routine? Looking for an adventure that's just a short drive away? Look no further than Lanesboro & Whalan, the perfect destination for an impulsive day trip with friends. From live music to cave exploration, this vibrant area offers a plethora of experiences that promise to make your spontaneous getaway one to remember.

Live music with people on the patio of Sylvan Brewing
Live music on the patio of Sylvan Brewing. Photo courtesy of Sylvan Brewing.

Picture this: you and your friends cruising down the scenic country roads, windows down, music turned up.

As you roll into Lanesboro, you're greeted by the sound of live music echoing through the streets. From local bands rocking out at cozy cafes to impromptu jam sessions on front porches, the town is alive with the rhythm of summer. Grab a cold drink, kick back, and soak in the tunes as you let the music wash over you.

Theatre District Mural in downtown Lanesboro
Theatre District Mural in downtown Lanesboro. Photo courtesy of Lanesboro Arts.

And it’s not just music - Lanesboro is a living arts campus with arts and culture weaved directly into the fabric of the town.

As you wander the streets of Lanesboro, you'll quickly discover that art is everywhere. From colorful murals adorning building facades to whimsical sculptures tucked away in hidden corners, the town is a veritable feast for the eyes. Pop into galleries and studios to admire the work of local artists, or simply stroll the streets and let your imagination run wild. Who knows what artistic treasures you'll stumble upon?

People hiking the trails at Eagle Bluff Environmental Learning Center near Lanesboro, MN
People hiking the trails at Eagle Bluff Environmental Learning Center. Photo courtesy of Eagle Bluff.

Ready to stretch your legs and get some fresh air?

Lanesboro has you covered with its abundance of outdoor adventures, Eagle Bluff Environmental Learning Center is no exception. Situated amidst the rolling hills and lush forests just a short drive from town, Eagle Bluff offers a sanctuary for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts alike. The best part? The center's expansive campus and hiking trails are free and open to the public from dawn till dusk, inviting visitors to explore and discover the beauty of the surrounding landscape at their own pace. For those craving an extra thrill, Eagle Bluff also offers high ropes courses that are available to the public for a ticket fee. Test your agility and balance as you navigate suspended bridges, zip lines, and other exciting obstacles high above the forest floor. With trained guides on hand to ensure safety and provide assistance, it's an adventure that promises adrenaline-pumping fun for adventurers of all ages.

A girl smiling and holding an ice cream cone in Lanesboro, MN
A girl smiling and holding an ice cream cone. Photo courtesy of Another Time Ice Cream Parlor.

I scream, you scream, We all scream for ice cream!

Whether you’re strolling along the Root River Trail or exploring the charming streets, Lanesboro offers delightful spots to satisfy your sweet tooth. Clara’s Eatery serves up 16 flavors of ice cream, perfect for a sunny day treat. Meanwhile, Another Time Ice Cream Parlor invites you to savor Bridgeman’s Ice Cream, Caribou Coffee, and Abdallah Chocolates. So grab a cone, find a cozy spot, and enjoy the simple pleasures of ice cream in this picturesque town.

A couple dancing to live music in Sylvan Park in Lanesboro
A couple dances to live music in Sylvan Park in Lanesboro during the annual Rhubarb Festival.

No impromptu day trip would be complete without a bit of community celebration.

Luckily, Lanesboro has plenty to offer in that department. Check out the annual Rhubarb Festival, where locals showcase their creative rhubarb-inspired dishes, or swing by Art in the Park to peruse the work of local artists and craftsmen. And don't miss Buffalo Bill Days, a lively celebration of the town's rich history complete with parades, live entertainment, and family-friendly activities.

Outside and grounds of the historic Whalan Depot
The outside and grounds of the historic Whalan Depot. Photo courtesy of Whalan Depot.


The historic Whalan Depot invites visitors to step back in time. This 1880s train depot has been lovingly restored and transformed into a delightful stop for travelers. As you explore, you’ll find a variety of treats and treasures: refreshing cold drinks, ice cream novelty treats, saltwater taffy, and homemade fudge. The backroom is a treasure trove of unique artisan gifts, from natural soy candles to hand-embroidered towels and handmade gnomes. Whether you’re passing through on the Root River Trail or seeking a cozy spot to relax, the Whalan Depot offers a warm welcome and a taste of nostalgia.

A stone's throw from The Whalan Depot is the world-famous Aroma Pie Shoppe. This must-stop delectable destination is a delightful haven for pie enthusiasts. The folks at the pie shoppe are warm, friendly, and always ready to help you choose your favorite flavors. Whether you’re a regular or a first-time visitor, they’ll guide you through their mouthwatering selection. Their delectable pies, made fresh right in the store, evoke nostalgia and warmth, ensuring every slice is a heavenly treat!

Aerial view of the Historic Stone Dam in Lanesboro
Aerial view of the Historic Stone Dam in Lanesboro.

Lanesboro & Whalan, MN are the perfect destination for an impulsive day trip with friends.

Whether you're in the mood for live music, outdoor adventure, historic charm, artistic exploration, or community celebration, this vibrant area has something for everyone. So grab your friends, pack up the car, and hit the road for a day of spontaneous summer fun in Lanesboro & Whalan.