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Minnesota, "Land of 10,000 Lakes," stretches about 400 miles north to south, averages 275 miles east to west, and has enough attractions to please just about any visitor. Northern Minnesota, the area north of Moorhead on its western border and Duluth on the east, is a land of vast open spaces. Heavily forested when the first explorers and fur traders arrived in the 17th century, much of the land is now covered with second-growth pine, aspen, poplar and oak. Southern Minnesota — the area from 20 miles north of the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul to the Iowa border — contains about three-fourths of the state's population, an ethnic ...

Minnesota, "Land of 10,000 Lakes," stretches about 400 miles north to south, averages 275 miles east to west, and has enough attractions to please just about any visitor. Northern Minnesota, the area north of Moorhead on its western border and Duluth on the east, is a land of vast open spaces. Heavily forested when the first explorers and fur traders arrived in the 17th century, much of the land is now covered with second-growth pine, aspen, poplar and oak. Southern Minnesota — the area from 20 miles north of the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul to the Iowa border — contains about three-fourths of the state's population, an ethnic broth with people from at least 200 countries. It's also a melange of big city sophistication, world-class culture, nature preserves, large farms, historic sites, small town pleasures, biking and hiking trails.

In the land between, Minnesota's Heartland's lakes become meccas for city-dwellers in summer. Its little cities and small towns put on ice cream socials, village-wide rummage sales, band concerts in the parks and hundreds of other events celebrating everything from Loons (Virginia) to Sinclair Lewis (Sauk Centre). During winter, the hardier Heartland souls bring out their snowmobiles (the state ranks first in snowmobile ownership). There's cross-country skiing and the same lakes that were alive with water-skiers, jet-boaters and pontoon passengers in summer are dotted with ice-fishing shacks. As for those lakes, 10,000 is not an exaggeration. According to official sources, there actually are 11,842.

Connie Emerson
About the Expert

Connie Emerson is the author of more than a dozen books, including The Cheapskate's Guide to Branson, Missouri and Eyewitness Top Ten Travel Guide – Las Vegas.

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Connie Emerson for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance