Best Small Towns in Minnesota
Historic Afton, Minnesota, is home to Afton State Park on the beautiful St. Croix River and is only 45 minutes from the Twin Cities. This summer, we’ve been exploring Minnesota in search of our new home base. We sold our house in 2020 and have been renting due to the crazy housing market and because we weren’t sure where we wanted to land. It’s been a fun summer visiting new cities and returning to our favorites. By doing so, we have a renewed appreciation for where we grew up. Minnesota is filled with incredible small towns, history, restaurants, nature, state-regional-and national parks, and endless recreation.
Best Restaurants in Afton, Minnesota
We started our day in Afton at the Lumberyard Pub. We sat at the bar to take in the open air (see pic below) and loved the atmosphere and excellent service from the bartender. The house-made chips and french onion dip are crazy good! The summer salad was fresh and bright and a perfect companion to the chips and dips. Terry loved his burger. Yes, I know you’re shocked he had a burger. 😉
*Note: you can call ahead from your boat and pick up your food curbside to-go.
The next stop was Selma’s Ice Cream Parlor. You can’t go to Afton and not stop at Selma’s! They offer so many unique flavors and we enjoyed the nostalgic candy for sale. *Tip: walk along the river while eating your ice cream.
Afton State Park
After fueling up, we headed to Afton State Park for a hike. The park offers 20 miles of trails including a variety of habitats and walking the old railroad bed. Three bridges remain from the line that once ran along the river to Stillwater. The river views from the bridges, bluffs, and lookouts are beautiful! Especially surrounded by all the wild flowers.
“Grand oaks and delicate prairie flowers grace the rugged, rolling landscape of this park. Trails pass through remnant and restored prairies, wind down deep ravines, and rise up to the grassy ridgetops and bluffs overlooking the scenic St. Croix River. The trails are perfect for hikers, horseback riders and cross-country skiers. The park offers visitors a swimming beach, backpack campsites and a visitor center with interpretive displays.” – Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
Did you know that Afton State Park has goats?! They brought the goats in for prescribed-grazing of their 42 acres. We visited in June so I’m not sure if they are still there but make sure to keep an eye out for them.
We didn’t have the dogs with us on this trip but the state parks are dog-friendly.
Add Afton to your Minnesota day trip list!
Another fun spot to explore and camp close to the Twin Cities is Whitetail Woods Regional Park. The camper cabins are amazing!
Life is short, never stop searching for What Stirs Your Soul. ❤️