With a population of less than 1,000, Lanesboro is the epitome of a charming small town. But, however tiny it may be, it’s certainly not lacking any adventure. This Minnesota gem has one of the best trail systems around, including access to the paved Root River Trail, a 60-mile, multi-use trail that stretches across the rural landscapes of the southeastern portion of the state.
A visit to Lanesboro is without a doubt one of the most awesome things to do in Minnesota. And, for those desiring a little R&R, the quaint town is teeming with cozy inns and bed and breakfasts, making for a peaceful respite in the rolling countryside of the Midwest. Here’s what to know about visiting and all the things to do in Lanesboro.
Top Things To Do In Lanesboro, Minnesota
From local history museums and art galleries to scenic drives and thrilling river adventures, here are some of the best things to do during a trip to Lanesboro.
Learn About Local History At The Lanesboro Museum
The Lanesboro Museum in Lanesboro, Minnesota
Explore the many exhibits of this museum, including displays of old farm tools, woodworking pieces, and photographs for a snapshot of history. It also features a research library and a historic phone booth can be found outside.
Float Down The Root River
People floating down Root River in Lanesboro, MN
The winding Root River is undeniably one of Lanesboro’s most prominent natural features. And, visitors can tackle its flowing waters via kayak, canoe, or tube, courtesy of the recreation rental shop Root River Outfitters.
- Address: 101 Parkway Ave S, Lanesboro, MN 55949
- Hours: Open seasonally from Sundays to Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Fridays and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
- Cost: Rates vary; contact Root River Outfitters for more details
Tube rentals are available by walk-in only; canoes and kayaks must be reserved in advance.
Experience The Amish Countryside With Bluffscape Amish Tours
Aerial view of the historic downtown of Lanesboro, Minnesota
One of the most unique things to do in Lanesboro is exploring a different culture. Some of the largest Amish communities can be found around Lanesboro. Visitors can learn more about the Amish with a tour through the countryside, which includes stops at their various farms and shops as well as a bakery.
- Address: 102 Beacon St E, Lanesboro, MN 55949
- Hours: Tours are held Mondays through Saturdays at 10 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.; contact Bluffscape Amish Tours to book a reservation
- Cost: $30 for adults, $20 for teens, $10 for children ages 6 to 12, and free for children 5 and under
Tours generally last about three hours and depart from the local Stone Mill Hotel & Suites.
Bike The Scenic Root River Trail
Stop by the Little River General Store (located at 105 Coffee St E, Lanesboro, MN 55949) to rent a bike or e-bike and tackle the iconic Root River State Trail, which runs parallel to the Root River. See the rushing waters and stop and see the beautiful view of the Lanesboro Stone Dam.
Little River General Store offers regular pedal bike rentals for $33 a day and e-bike rentals for $85 a day. The bike shop also carries tandem bikes, kids’ bikes, pull-behind carts, and more.
See A Live Performance At The Commonweal Theatre Company
Commonweal Theatre in Lanesboro, MN
Catch a live performance at the Commonweal Theatre, which can be found tucked away in the town’s historic downtown area. People come from out of town to see performances at this venue, so it’s certainly worth a visit.
Stroll Through Sylvan Park
Old Stone Dam in Lanesboro, Minnesota
Perched adjacent to the Root River, enjoy an afternoon stroll or a nourishing picnic on the green grass of Sylvan Park. The grounds feature tennis courts and a playground, and the park is located near the Lanesboro Stone Dam, which makes for a scenic view.
- Address: 202 Parkway Ave S, Lanesboro, MN 55949
Want to pitch a tent for the night? A campground can also be found in the park, which is available from May to November. Campsites are $25 per night and RV sites are $40 per night.
Marvel At The Exhibits At Lanesboro Arts
Theatre District in Lanesboro, MN
Checking out local art is one of the things to do in Lanesboro. See the fantastic art of local Minnesotans and beyond at the Lanesboro Arts Juried Sales and Exhibition Galleries.
- Address: 103 Parkway Ave N, Lanesboro, MN 55949
Take A Drive Along The Historic Bluff Country Scenic Byway
View of a farm from the Historic Bluff Country Scenic Byway
The Historic Bluff Country Scenic Byway is one of the best scenic drives that shows off the fall foliage of the Midwest; however, it’s certainly worth a drive any time of year. Spanning 88 miles, the highway passes through a number of charming towns, including Lanesboro, Whalan, and Peterson.
Notable stops along the way include the Rushford Sand Barrens Scientific and Natural Area (SNA) in Peterson.
See The View From Inspiration Point
View from Inspiration Point
For motorists opting to take the Historic Bluff Country Scenic Byway south of Lanesboro, a beautiful panoramic view awaits at Inspiration Point. In addition to spellbinding views, the Inspiration Point Wayside Park is another great location to hunker down on a blanket for a picnic.
- Address: MN-16, Lanesboro, MN 55949
Explore Forestville/Mystery Cave State Park
Mystery Cave, Forestville,Mystery Cave State Park, Minnesota, USA
Forestville/Mystery Cave State Park certainly tops the list of the most interesting Minnesota state parks to visit. It’s home to the longest cave in the state. Called Mystery Cave, it features more than 13 miles of underground passages to explore. Plus, it’s only located about 30 minutes outside Lanesboro.
- Address: Mystery Cave State Park, Spring Valley, MN 55975
- Hours: Tours are given seasonally; make reservations in advance
- Cost: A variety of tour options are available, from scenic tours to wild caving tours, with rates starting at $15 for the former
Best Time To Visit
Old telephone booth in Lanesboro, Minnesota, USA
There are a variety of states that have the most brutal winters across the country, and Minnesota is definitely one of them. Of course, Lanesboro is one beautiful town that’s worth braving the Minnesota cold — at least for those who can stand the freezing temperatures.
During the winter, the town features an average high of around 26 °F and lows of about 16 °F, so the summer months are definitely the best time to visit. And, for those who enjoy seeing the changing leaves, early fall is also a great time to get away to Lanesboro.
The temperatures are a bit chilly, but the scenery makes it all worthwhile, and there are plenty of things to do in Lanesboro in all seasons.
Best Ways To Get Around
Fall trees in Minnesota
Tourists visiting the small town of Lanesboro will definitely need a car to get around to attractions located on the outskirts of town, such as Inspiration Point and Forestville/Mystery Cave State Park. However, since the town is incredibly small, the quaint downtown area and many of the local attractions can be easily accessed on foot or via bike.
Where To Eat
A restored historic dining car in Lanesboro, Minnesota
Dining out around Lanesboro presents plenty of opportunities to enjoy old favorites or try something new.
Lanesboro Pastry Shoppe
- Address: 202 Parkway Ave S, Lanesboro, MN 55949
Home Sweet Home
- Address: 210 Parkway Ave N, Lanesboro, MN 55949
- Address: 111 Parkway Ave N, Lanesboro, MN 55949
Pedal Pushers Cafe
- Address: 121 Parkway Ave N, Lanesboro, MN 55949
Driftless Trading Post at Sylvan Brewing
- Address: 100 Beacon St W, Lanesboro, MN 55949
Root River 102
- Address: 102 Coffee St W, Lanesboro, MN 55949
High Court Pub
- Address: 109 Parkway Ave N, Lanesboro, MN 55949
Root River Saloon
- Address: 112 Coffee St E, Lanesboro, MN 55949
Where To Stay
Stone Mill Hotel and Suites in Lanesboro, Minnesota
Lanesboro offers a variety of accommodations for every taste.
- Address: 305 Coffee St E, Lanesboro, MN 55949
- Address: 209 Parkway Ave N, Lanesboro, MN 55949
- Address: 100 Beacon St E, Lanesboro, MN 55949
- Address: 101 Parkway Ave N, Lanesboro, MN 55949
Charming Bed And Breakfasts
- Address: 708 Parkway Ave S, Lanesboro, MN 55949
- Address: 507 Fillmore Ave S, Lanesboro, MN 55949
Tips To Know When Visiting
Bass Pond Pier in Lanesboro, Minnesota
Lanesboro is a lovely little town and one that’s absent sprawling resorts and swanky hotels. Instead, visitors can enjoy a peaceful respite to one of the town’s many adorable bed and breakfasts or historic inns.
It’s also important to note that many of the town’s attractions operate seasonally, so be sure to check the hours of operation prior to booking a trip.
How To Spend The Perfect Day In Lanesboro, Minnesota
Lanesboro Historic District
Lanesboro is the perfect weekend getaway any time of year. Visitors can spend an enjoyable day exploring the downtown district’s main street, including its many shops, boutiques, and restaurants. Be sure to stop by the Lanesboro Museum to learn more about the town’s incredible history and consider renting bicycles to explore the iconic Root River Trail.
Enjoy a relaxing picnic in Sylvan Park, stopping by the Lanesboro Vista Overlook for spellbinding views of the Root River and historic Stone Dam. And, if time permits, head out to Forestville/Mystery Cave State Park to explore the wondrous underground passages.