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13 Best Things to Do in Hinckley, Minnesota

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Whether visiting or a local, you’ll find many fun and exciting things to do in Hinckley, Minnesota. From outdoor adventures to learning the town’s history, I’ve highlighted the best things to do in Hinckley, Minnesota, below.

Tucked away in east-central Minnesota, the charming town of Hinckley packs quite a punch when it comes to fun and unique attractions. Only an hour north of the Twin Cities, this small community offers a delightful mix of history, outdoor recreation, and good old-fashioned hospitality.

Things to Do in Hinckley, Minnesota

1. Make a stop at Tobie’s Restaurant & Bakery

Exterior view of Tobies Restaurant in Hinckley, MN, featuring red patio table and inviting atmosphere.
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

You can’t miss Tobies Restaurant & Bakery in Hinckley, Minnesota, a true traveler’s tradition since 1948. This iconic spot is a staple for Minnesotans on road trips, serving as the perfect halfway stop between the Twin Cities and Duluth.

Tobies is famous for its fresh baked pies, breads, and rolls, as well as hearty homemade soups. It’s not just a restaurant, though.

Assortment of freshly baked goods at Tobies Restaurant, Hinckley
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

Tobies is easily one of the most popular bakeries in Minnesota. Open 24 hours, you can pop in anytime for a delicious meal or grab some baked goods. Whether you’re a local or just passing through, a visit to Tobies is a must. Trust me, your taste buds will thank you for making this tasty pit stop!

2. The Grand Casino – Place for All-Around Fun

Address: 777 Lady Luck Dr, Hinckley, MN 55037, United States

If you’re looking for fun and excitement in Hinckley, don’t miss out on the Grand Casino. It is among the famous landmarks to see. This massive casino complex features gaming live entertainment, hotel rooms, fine dining, golf, and more.

Everything you need for a night out or a vacation getaway is at the Grand Casino! Gaming at the Grand Casino includes slots, blackjack, poker, bingo, and pull tabs. The casino also features regularly scheduled tournaments where you can win major jackpots.

The Grand Casino is more than just a casino; you’ll find plenty of superb dining options, from buffets to steakhouses, on location. Some of my favorites include 411 Craft Bar and The Winds Steakhouse.

If you need accommodations, you’ll find everything from RV camping to private chalets for rent at the Grand Casino. This makes it easy for tourists on any budget to enjoy a day or week at the casino.

Other amenities on-site include the Grand Harmony Spa, Grand National Golf Club, and Grand Casin Hinckley Amphitheater.

The theater features 5,000 seats, and performers from around the world host events here. Whether you want to catch a rock concert or meditate during a massage, the Grand Casino has you covered. 

The casino also features many family-friendly activities, including an arcade, bowling, and shopping. 

See Related: Top-Rated Hotels in Duluth, Minnesota

3. Snowmobiling – Best Winter Adventure in Hinckley

Snowmobiling

Winter in Minnesota is cold and snowy. Luckily, snowmobiles and all-terrain vehicles were invented. If you are looking for some winter excitement, you’ll find plenty of trails and parks around town that offer snowmobile and ATV access all winter. You should check out the parks and trails near Hinckley for the best snowmobiling in town.

Riders from around the country visit Hinckley to enjoy the pristine snow-covered trails in the region. Don’t worry if you don’t own a snowmobile. There are plenty of snowmobile rental options in Hinckley and Pine County. 

St Croix State Forest features 45 miles of trails that connect to Gandy Dancer Trail. This trail gives you an added 31 miles of trails to enjoy.

Once you’ve finished the Gandy Dancer Trail, you’ll be in Nemadji State Forest. Here, you can find 100 more miles of trails to enjoy. Other popular snowmobiling locations include Chengwatana State Forest and General Andrews State Forest. 

See Related: Best Skiing Resorts in Minnesota

4. Canoeing and Kayaking – Best Water Adventures

A Group of Tourist Canoeing

If you prefer summertime adventures, there are plenty of rivers where you can spend the day canoeing and kayaking.  The Kettle and St. Croix Rivers are close to town and offer water for all skill levels.

From calm to dangerous rapids, you’ll find an experience that matches your ability. If you’re looking for extreme rapids, check out Hell’s Gate and Blueberry Slide in Banning State Park.

These rapids will put your skills and expertise to the test. Of course, there are plenty of calm waters where you can have a leisurely sail or enjoy fishing from your canoe. I suggest checking out the fishing at Grindstone Lake for trout, while Sturgeon Lake has great bass fishing. 

5. Willard Munger State Trail – Go for a Bike Ride

Bicycle and a sign in Willard Munger State Trail
Nature_Freak / Wikimedia Commons, CC BY 2.0

Address: Willard Munger State Trail (Alex Laveau Memorial Trail), Hinckley, MN, USA

The Willard Munger State Trails is one of the largest paved cycling routes in the United States. At over 70 miles, you can travel from Hinckley to Duluth on this trail. You’ll experience fantastic views, quaint towns, and beautiful scenery while riding the Willard Munger State Trail. 

You can stop at local state parks during the ride, including Banning State Park, Moose Lake State Park, and Jay Cooke State Park. Keep heading northeast, and you’ll enjoy scenic views of the St. Louis River, Duluth, and Superior. 

The trail is open for biking, hiking, in-line skating, and horse riding all season long. The trails are also open to snowmobiles and cross-country skiing during winter. 

6. Grand National Golf Club – Play a Round of Golf

Aerial view of Grand National Golf Club golf course
Grand National Golf Club / Facebook

Address: 300 Lady Luck Dr, Hinckley, MN 55037, United States

The Grand National Golf Club is one of my favorite courses in Minnesota. It offers something for players with any skill level. You can enjoy a relaxing day enjoying the beautiful scenery of this course while testing your skills on the 18 holes.

Located at The Grand Casino Hinckley, this course features plenty of wide-open fairways to test your driving skills. Holes 4 through 8 give you smaller, undulating fairways and plenty of trees and obstacles to avoid. It’s a great course for beginners and experts alike.

Other nearby golf course options include the Sandstone Area Golf Course, Pine City Country Club, and Spring Brook Golf Course. 

7. Sandstone Ice Festival – Learn How to Ice Climb

Sandstone Ice Festival in Hinckley, Minnesota
Sandstone Ice Festival / Facebook

Address: 505 Main St, Sandstone, MN 55072, United States

For over 17 years, Hinckley has been hosting the annual Sandstone Ice Festival. This event brings some of the world’s best ice climbers to town for a 3-day festival and learning opportunity.

Held in Robinson Park, you can spend the day climbing a wide range of ice and rock features up to 90 feet in height. During the festival, you’ll have the chance to join ice climbing clinics and classes.

The event also brings major manufacturers to town, and many offer demo gear for you to test out. Even if you’re brand new to ice climbing, you can learn the basics from some of the best climbers in the industry. 

While plenty of rooms are available in town during the festival, many visitors opt to tough it out on the ice. Plenty of adventurers in Robinson Park are building quinzhee or using winter tents to camp during the festivities. 

8. Brennan Field – Catch a Local Baseball Game

Baseball Game

Address: Hinckley, MN 55037, USA

America’s pastime is well represented in Hinckley. Brennan Field was established in 1948. Since then, the field has been home to thousands of baseball games. 

Currently, you can catch the local Class C team, the Hinckley Knights, and one of the local high school teams, like the Hinckley-Finlayson Jaguars, playing throughout the spring and summer at Brennan Field. 

9. Osprey Wilds – Learn About Local Nature

Osprey Bird in the Wild

Address: 54165 Audubon Drive, Sandstone, MN 55072, USA

Osprey Wilds is a local non-profit environmental learning center and retreat. Since 1971, the team at Osprey Wilds has offered educational programs, school field trips, family camps, and a wide range of environmental programs for kids and adults. 

You can pick a new hobby or learn about your favorite outdoor hobbies, from cross-country skiing to outdoor survival training. Courses and programs are available in natural history, science, team-building, adventure, wildlife, outdoor skills, and more.

The site also features event rental space, including weddings, company retreats, and more. There is a meeting space, food service, lodging, WiFi, and everything you need to host an exciting and rustic outdoor event. 

10. Hinckley Corn & Clover Carnival – Enjoy a Local Carnival

Vibrant Carnival

Celebrate over 100 years of Hinckley’s heritage at the yearly Hinckley Corn & Clover Carnival. This event is scheduled for July and features live music, dance performances, carnival rides & games, food, and talent shows. 

There’s also a parade and fireworks show to close the yearly festivities. If you miss the feeling of a hometown carnival, The Hinckley Corn & Clover Carnival is a great option to experience small-town American culture and heritage. 

Museums and Art Centers – Learn About Hinckley’s History

Want to learn more about life in Hinckley and the surrounding communities? The town offers a variety of museums and exhibits for your learning appetite. 

See Related: Best Museums in Minnesota

11. Hinckley Fire Museum – Learn About This Devastating Natural Disaster

Hinckley Fire Museum Building
McGhiever, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Address: 106 Old Hwy 61 S, Hinckley, MN 55037, United States

In 1894, over ¼ million acres of land burned in less than four hours during the Hinckley Fire. Many local communities were burned to the ground during this disaster, and over 400 fatalities were reported.

The Hinckley Fire Museum tells the story of this dreaded day. The museum has many artifacts and educational exhibits that will transport you back to the 1890s. You’ll learn about the heroic firefighters of the day, their equipment, and how the city was rebuilt after the event. 

After your day at the Hinckley Fire Museum, don’t forget to visit the restored Hinckley Fire monument. It’s just a few miles away on State Highway 48. The Hinckley Fire Museum is open from May to mid-October. 

12. Pine County History Museum – Learn the Local History of the County

Pine County History Museum Building
Myotus, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Address: 6333 H C Andersen Alle, Askov, MN 55704, United States

A favorite with the locals, the Pine County History Museum is dedicated to preserving the history of Pine County, MN. Inside the museum, you’ll find exhibits that feature local artists, town history, farming, logging, Native American history, railroads, and more.

Along with the exhibits, the property boasts a local library, event space, and a wide range of local events. Are you interested in trains and the railroad? You can also find the Pine Country Railroad Club and its scale model train on location at the Pine County History Museum.

13. Snake River Fur Post – Transport Back to the 1800s

Snake River Fur Post
Jonathunder, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Address: 12551 Voyageur Ln, Pine City, MN 55063, United States

The fur trade was extremely important to developing early settlements in Minnesota. Here, you can learn the history of the fur trade and its impact on the Native Americans and early settlers to the area. 

The recreated Ojibwe camp and fur post will take you back to the early 1800s. You can learn how the fur economy functioned and how the Ojibwe lived daily. Guided tours are available, and there is an interactive visitor center where you can learn even more about the area’s history. Plenty of heritage trails along the Snake River exist if you like adventure.

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