Minnesota – Land of Lakes

Greetings from Minnesota Postcard. Available at Legends' General Store.

Greetings from Minnesota Postcard. Available at Legends’ General Store.

Minnesota got its nickname the “Land of 10,000 Lakes” because there are more than 12,000 lakes throughout the state. Its name comes from the Dakota (Sioux) word for the Minnesota River’s “sky-tinted waters.” The Minnesota Territory was formed in 1849 from what had been part of the Northwest Territory, and Minnesota joined the Union on May 11, 1858. The state flower is the pink and white lady’s slipper, and the capital is St. Paul.

It is also known as the North Star State, a motto adopted by the state’s first governor, Henry Hastings Sibley. It is based on the French phrase L’E’toile du Nord, meaning “The Start of the North.”

Minnesota is a nature lover’s dream with more than 10,000 lakes, 4,000 miles of paved bike trails, 76 state parks, and the country’s only freshwater-based national park. Canoe the Boundary Waters, trek the Superior Hiking Trail, mountain bike in Cuyuna, or go birding along the Pine to Prairie Trail. In winter, traverse the snowy landscape via skis, snowshoes, snowmobiles, or even dogsleds. And, of course, fishing and hunting are year-round pursuits. Find more outdoorsy activities below, add them to your favorites, and plan your Minnesota adventure today.

Historic landmarks also abound. See the Pipestone National Monument, Grand Portage National Monument, Forts Snelling and Ridgely, Jeffers’ petroglyphs, and many more.


The American Midwest

Chippewa – People of the Great Lakes

Paul Bunyan, Hero Lumberjack

First Settlement of Minnesota

Grand Portage National Monument

Great Lakes of North America

Henry Hastings Sibley – Minnesota Pioneer

Historic Fort Snelling

Lanesboro – A Frivolous Photo Blog

Little Crow – Leader in the Dakota War of 1862

Minnesota Photo Gallery

North West Company Fur Trading Post

Old Northwest Territory

Split Rock – More than Just a Lighthouse (photo blog)

U.S. – Dakota War of 1862

Voyageurs National Park

Wendigo – Flesheater of the Forests


Fort Snelling

Historic Fort Snelling in Minnesota. Photo by Dave Alexander.

Around the state seal is a wreath of the state flower, the lady slipper. Three dates are woven into the wreath: 1858, the year Minnesota became a state; 1819, the year Fort Snelling was established; and 1893, the year the official flag was adopted. Nineteen stars ring the wreath. The largest star represents Minnesota.

©Kathy Alexander/Legends of America, updated February 2024.

Also See:

Destinations Across America

National Parks

United States Geography

U.S. States