Winter in Minnesota can feel like the longest season of the year, so instead of being cooped up inside for months at a time, try some fun outdoor activities. While Minnesota is known as the Land of 10,000 Lakes, there are many other scenic wonders this state has to offer in the winter.
A long standing pastime among Minnesota's residents, ice fishing is a great way to (literally) spend a day on the water. Watersheds in the northern reaches of the state, like the famous Lake of the Woods, tend to freeze sometime in November as the first arctic blasts drop down from Canada.
If you do not have your own equipment, there are outfitters who rent heated shanties for a day or weekend complete with all the gear you need to catch Minnesota's popular gamefish, including walleye, northern pike and yellow perch. These shanties often have all the amenities of home and it almost feels like you are fishing in your living room.
Cross Country Skiing
A great way to enjoy the beauty of the forests found in Minnesota during the winter is to cross-country ski the numerous trails found across the state. No matter where you plan to cross-country ski in Minnesota, all skiers aged 16 and above must posses the Great Minnesota Ski Pass in order to use the trails. A daily pass is $5, while the seasonal pass is $15 in 2009. They can be purchased in person at the Minnesota State Parks office or at the Minnesota DNR office. An easier means of obtaining a pass is to register online through the Minnesota DNR online licensing system.
With over 20,000 miles of groomed snowmobile trails in Minnesota, it is easy to see why this is such a popular winter activity. A Minnesota state trail sticker is required for all riders on the state snowmobile trail system. These stickers are available through the Minnesota DNR at a cost of $16 for a seasonal license and the state now offers a three-year sticker as well for a cost of $31 in 2009.
There are 330 trail contacts that avid snowmobilers can call ahead of time to get the latest conditions on their favorite trail. With groomers working around the clock on the most popular trails, your snowmobile ride in Minnesota should be smooth and enjoyable.