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Are you planning a vacation and wondering where to stay in Winona, Minnesota? Should you book suites at a Winona hotel, find a campground, or rent a vacation cottage? The choices can be daunting. Luckily, we’ve done the groundwork and laid it all out for you. You can thank us later!
If you’re unfamiliar with this Midwestern region, Winona is in the southeastern part of Minnesota. The city is only about 24.32 square miles in size, so it’s not terribly hard to find your way around.
Located southeast of Minneapolis, Winona sits along the Mississippi River in Winona County. Winona shares the river border with Wisconsin to the east (there’s a bridge that crosses the river) and Rochester to the west.
The Mississippi is the second-longest in North America (just in case you had forgotten any of that high school geography).
This area is known as Bluff Country due to the glacial valleys and limestone bluffs. You’ll find scenic rivers and streams that provide a background for hiking, biking, kayaking, and nature watching.
Bring your binoculars and look for bald eagles as you’re gazing at the mighty Mississippi. Winona is named after the daughter of Chief Wabasha.
As the story goes, she was betrothed to someone she didn’t love (isn’t that always the case in these tales?). Rather than marry him, she decided to jump from a rock high over Lake Pepin. It’s now known as Maiden’s Rock. And there you have it, the Winona legend.
Nicknamed the Island City because of its location on a sandbar of sorts, Winona is home to St. Mary’s University of Minnesota and Winona State University.
Interestingly enough, the actress Winona Ryder is said to be named after the town (even though she was born in neighboring Olmsted County). Some sources say she was born in Winona (we’re looking at you, Google). Whichever location is correct, it’s a pretty cool distinction.
- What Towns Are Near Winona?
- Getting To and Around Winona
- 15 Places to Stay in Winona
- Budget Hotels
- Mid-Range Hotels
- Vacation Rentals
- Camping and Boating
- Things to do in Winona
- Winona Visitor Center
- Minnesota Marine Art Museum
- Sugar Loaf Bluff
- Winona County Historical Society
- Garvin Heights City Park
- Garvin Heights Vineyards
- Lake Park
- Mississippi River Boat Tours
- Michael LaCanne Memorial Park
- Polish Cultural Institute and Museum
- Pickwick Mill
- Holzinger Lodge Trail
- St. Stanislaus Catholic Church
What Towns Are Near Winona?
If you have some extra time, or you’ve seen everything in Winona, take a drive to nearby La Crescent or over the river to La Crosse in Wisconsin.
See Related: Things to Do in Minneapolis, MN
Getting To and Around Winona
La Crosse Airport (LSE) is the closest airport to Winona. It’s 22 miles away in La Crosse, Wisconsin. Located on French Island, there’s a convenient bridge across the river. Then, it’s just a quick drive up the riverway to a hotel in Winona from La Crosse.
Rochester International Airport (RST) is 43 miles away from Winona hotels.
Travel U.S. Highway 61, or the Great River Road, which runs along the Mississippi. This network of roads runs through 10 states for 565 miles. Winona is a wonderful place to stop and spend a select date or a couple of days.
Car rental agencies in town include Hertz, Enterprise, and U-Haul.
The historic 1888 Winona Station – previously known as the Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul Railway Station – is serviced by Amtrak. This is a fun way to visit Winona hotels.
Bring your own or rent bikes and snowshoes at Adventure Cycle & Ski. You can pick up an area map to make navigation easier.
15 Places to Stay in Winona
Winona offers a variety of budget and mid-range hotels as well as vacation rentals and campgrounds for families, groups, and business travelers.
You won’t find many posh luxury Winona hotels in this tiny town, but you’re sure to feel welcome at whatever cheap hotel or country inn you choose.
Hotels in Winona range in price from $64 per night to $144 and $175 per night depending on your selected date and room type. Most hotels offer complimentary breakfast and internet access.
Most hotel prices in Winona do fluctuate per night and on weekends and holidays.
Check Kayak for the latest and lowest nightly price, availability subject, and verified traveler stayed recommendations. You can access discounts and read guest reviews.
The date picker option is handy to check a variety of timeframes for hotels. Some hotels in Winona offer free cancellation, but it’s best to check to be sure about that.
Free cancellation reserve allows you to cancel the reservation (and get your money back) within a certain timeframe (such as 24 hours, 48 hours, you get the idea).
Always remember to save changes when using the online reservation systems. There’s nothing worse than realizing you’ve booked the wrong date after you have gone through the entire reservation process.
Don’t ask us how we know that.
West of Winona City Center
1. Days Inn by Wyndham Winona
Days Inn by Wyndham Winona is one of the best pet-friendly (for a fee) budget hotels in Winona. Enjoy free Wi-Fi and breakfast as well as in-room coffee makers at Days inn by Wyndham.
There’s a workout room and a business center to stay up to date on your emails and cardio while at the Days Inn by Wyndham.
Wyndham Winona prices per night start at $64. Verified guest reviews give the Inn by Wyndham Winona hotel a solid 7.5.
Southeast of Winona City Center
2. Super 8 by Wyndham
Located at the base of Sugar Loaf Bluff, Super 8 by Wyndham is one of the budget hotels that offer free light breakfast and free Wi-Fi. The Super 8 Wyndham Winona has a business center, fitness equipment, and guest rooms decked out in contemporary décor.
For saving money, this location has the best value around. The going rate is $64 per night for a room with one queen bed.
Wyndham Winona rooms with two queen beds are around $84. A standard room with one king bed is $74 at this hotel.
Verified traveler guest reviews give it a 7.4 for great value and an easy check-in process.
3. Express Suites Riverport
The Express Suites Riverport in Winona is a budget hotel with a twist. Guest rooms at Suites Riverport Inn feature elegant décor and four-poster beds (something rarely seen in the budget hotel category!).
Some even have special features like a vintage car bed and a checkerboard floor. Rooms have a flat-screen TV, a coffee maker, and a desk.
The Express Suites riverport Inn has an on-site restaurant, a bar, conference space, and a business center.
Other Riverport Inn Suites hotel amenities include an indoor swimming pool, a workout room, free wifi, and complimentary breakfast. Outdoors at Express Suites Riverport Inn, there’s a patio and picnic area.
The Super 8 and Plaza Hotel Suites are near Riverport Inn Suites.
Express Suites Riverport Inn rates are $96 for a standard room with two queen beds or a room with one king bed.
4. Carriage House Bed & Breakfast
For a vintage-inspired getaway in a central location, check out the Carriage House Bed & Breakfast.
Located within walking distance to the Mississippi River, the exterior features gingerbread trim, a front porch, and a walkway accented with hydrangeas.
Interior touches include antiques, arched entrances, an elegant dining area, and brick and wood touches. Guest rooms at Carriage House have pedestal sinks and freestanding wood fireplaces that give off a cozy ambiance. Some rooms have a hot tub.
5. Garvin Crest Guesthouse
Available for long-term rentals, Garvin Crest Guesthouse sits in a wooded area with great sunset views. There’s a full kitchen for your cooking pleasure.
The Hen House is also available. This former hen house is a 400-square-foot cabin with a gas stove, galvanized steel walls, and all the amenities of the Garvin Crest Guesthouse. Don’t worry. There are no chickens left behind.
Southeast of City Center
6. Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott Winona
Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott Winona, located at the intersection of Highway 61 and Highway 43, is a pet-friendly Winona hotel with views of Sugar Loaf Bluff and Winona Lake.
Enjoy free breakfast and Wi-Fi while on vacation at the Fairfield Inn Suites. The Inn Suites by Marriott Winona has a fitness center, an outdoor patio, an indoor swimming pool, and a hot tub.
Guest rooms at Fairfield Inn Suites by Marriott Winona have a flat-screen TV with cable or satellite, a coffee maker, and a microwave.
Rates start at $144 for a king. Rooms with two queen beds and a sofa bed are $184 a night.
Guests give this hotel a 9.1 for comfortable beds, cleanliness, and a great breakfast.
7. Holiday Inn Express & Suites Winona
Holiday Inn Express & Suites Winona, an IHG Hotel, is near the Sugar Loaf Trailhead. The Winona an IHG Hotel is a convenient anchorage point for hikers and cyclists.
Guest rooms at the Holiday Inn Express Suites Winona IHG Hotel have a microwave, a refrigerator, and a coffee maker.
Suites Winona guests have use of a business center, fitness center, an indoor pool, a hot tub, and a kids’ pool with a cute frog-shaped water slide (kid-sized, sorry) at the Holiday Inn Express Suites.
Other amenities at this IHG hotel include free wifi, a gift shop, a video game area, and a lobby with seating and a fireplace. One of my favorite things to do at a hotel is sit in the lobby and read, catch up on email, or just relax.
Guest reviews by verified travelers who stayed give this Winona an IHG Hotel an 8.6 for friendly staff, great service, and fun amenities. I mean, you just gotta love a frog water slide.
Prices per night at the Holiday Inn Express Suites start at $130 for guest rooms with two queen beds. An executive room with a king bed is $135 per night at Inn Express Suites Winona.
8. The Plaza Hotel and Suites
The Plaza Hotel and Suites has a super fun indoor pool with kid-friendly slides and water features. The Plaza Hotel Suites has a bar vice, free breakfast, a fitness center, and banquet rooms.
Elegant guest rooms at the Plaza Hotel have seating areas, a coffee maker, and free Wi-Fi. A few rooms have hot tubs and fireplaces.
Plaza Hotel Suites is near the Sugar Loaf hiking area, making the suites Winona an excellent choice for the hiking and nature enthusiasts in your group.
Prices per night at the Plaza Hotel Suites are approximately $110 for standard rooms with one sofa bed. A king room at Suites Winona is $144.
West of City Center
9. AmericInn by Wyndham Winona
With easy access to college campuses, AmericInn by Wyndham Winona is just off Highway 61. It’s near the Days Inn, Lake Winona, and the riverfront.
Rooms are done up in cool and contemporary décor and have a coffee maker, free wifi, complimentary breakfast, a flat-screen TV, a seating area, and a desk. Some of the rooms have hot tubs and mini-refrigerators.
This mid-range Winona hotel has accessible rooms with grab handles and seats in the shower stalls.
Enjoy an indoor pool, bar, hot tub, fitness center, business center, and laundry facilities Americinn by Wyndham Winona. Prices range from $101 for two queen beds to $174 for a deluxe room with two queen beds. Free cancellation reserve is offered at the AmericInn by Wyndham Winona.
Guest reviews give AmericInn by Wyndham Winona an 8.2 for friendly staff and convenient location.
East of City Center
10. Alexander Mansion Historic B&B
Alexander Mansion Historic B&B is within walking distance of the riverfront and other area attractions.
Step into a Victorian setting with an elegant staircase, hardwood floors, decorative wallpaper, and a vintage-look kitchen. Prepare breakfast or dinner each night at this verified traveler lodging option.
Guest rooms have a vanity with a mirror, decorative window coverings, opulent Victorian décor, and a flat-screen TV. One of the top-rated hotels in Winona, Alexander Mansion offers free Wi-Fi, free breakfast (it is a B&B, after all), a business center, and a library as well as conference and meeting space.
Outdoors, you can relax among gardens and a terrace with benches and flowering plants and shrubs at Alexander Mansion. Guest reviews give it a solid 9.7 for friendly hosts, a wonderful breakfast, and a comfortable per-night stay.
If you’re more into casual and less commercial accommodations, you’ll be happy to know that Winona has plenty of vacation rentals and available properties to choose from.
West of the City
11. Village House Inn
Located near downtown, Village House Inn is a unique 1870 red brick farmhouse. Don’t let the circa scare you. It’s fully restored with all the modern amenities, such as free internet and cable TV with a DVD player.
The interior is contemporary yet cozy with antiques and a casually elegant ambiance. There are four guest rooms. Each has a private bathroom.
Enjoy the patio, pergola, and grill. Rent for a weekend or the whole week of your Winona adventure.
East of the City
12. Cottage by Lake Winona
Cottage by Lake Winona has three bedrooms and sleeps up to six guests. There is free Wi-Fi and cable TV for guests to enjoy.
This rental cottage is located on Lake Winona about 10 blocks from downtown and the riverfront. Bike trails, Garvin Heights Lookout, Sugar Loaf Mountain Trails, and the Great River Road Scenic Byway are nearby.
See Related: Best Hotels in Minneapolis, Minnesota
Camping and Boating
Maybe you prefer the rugged adventure of camping and boating over a hotel in Winona? If so, we’ve got some suggestions for you in that category as well.
13. Prairie Island Campground
Prairie Island Campground is northeast of the city on the Mississippi River. It has tent campsites and is open from April to October. There are also a few tiny house cabins that are available to rent if you’re not up to completely roughing it.
Campground activities include yoga sessions, kids’ games, and outdoor activities. Go kayaking through the backwater channels, play disc golf, or sunbathe at this Winona campground.
14. Pla-Mor Campground
Pla-Mor Campground is six miles south of Winona on the Mississippi River. There are more than 80 sites for RVs and tents. Sewer, water, and electricity are available. There are also three log cabins available for rental.
The campground has showers, restrooms, a convenience store, a pool, a picnic shelter, and a playground. Play horseshoes, basketball, or bingo after a day of exploring the river and surrounding areas.
Prices per night are around $27 for tents with no hook-ups. Prices for a six-person cabin with a half bath is $68 per night.
15. Winona Marina
Traveling by, or with, a boat?
No worries! Boaters traveling the Great Loop, out on a journey to the Great Lakes, or just exploring for a few days, can pull into Winona Marina.
Slips are 16 to 45 feet. Slip rental includes power, water, restroom facilities, and use of an outdoor fireplace and patio. There’s a gas dock, launch ramp, and service facilities.
Things to do in Winona
Winona Visitor Center
Just getting into town and wondering what to do in Winona? Stop by the Winona Visitor Center and pick up a map and brochures or ask questions. There’s a gift shop with the usual selection of t-shirts and Minnesota souvenirs.
Minnesota Marine Art Museum
Art and water lovers will want to head to the Minnesota Marine Art Museum as soon as they arrive.
With a focus on water and maritime-themed art, Minnesota Marine Art Museum features exhibits on textiles, paintings, and photographs with both an educational and inspirational purpose.
Check out German expressionism, American and European art, and marine and folk-art paintings by Leo and Marilyn Smith. There are 10 exhibits that include local and regional artists as well as names you might have heard of such as Picasso, Renoir, and Van Gogh (I know! In small-town Minnesota no less!).
The AmericInn by Wyndham Winona is approximately five minutes away.
Sugar Loaf Bluff
Sugar Loaf Bluff is the main hiking and climbing attraction in Winona. Park on Lake Boulevard and hike up the 85-foot-high hill for panoramic views.
Booking a room at nearby Riverport Inn Suites would be a convenient way for guests to spend more time hiking that hill.
Winona County Historical Society
The Winona County Historical Society features exhibits on the city’s past, local native communities, early humans, art, and businesses.
It is in the historic downtown area in the old National Guard Armory, built in 1915. Visit the art gallery to view works by local artists. The center holds programs, events, and classes.
See Related: Best Indoor Activities in Minnesota
Garvin Heights City Park
Climb the namesake bluffs at Garvin Heights City Park. A 1.5-mile trail leads through a forest of oak trees within the city limits. There is a stairway to get to the top.
At the overlook, you can see Mount Trempealeau and Lake Pepin. This is also a challenging mountain biking trail. Parking is available on West Lake Boulevard.
Garvin Crest Guesthouse is near this Winona park.
Garvin Heights Vineyards
Garvin Heights Vineyards sits on five acres. Check out the 1,400-square-foot-winery and enjoy flights and wine tastings on the outdoor patio.
It’s a great location to sit back and enjoy time with friends. Even if you’ve been there in the previous month, there are always new varieties and special editions of red, white, and rosé wines.
See Related: Best Wineries in Minnesota
Located on Lake Winona, Lake Park has a beach, a bandshell, a picnic area, a rose garden with a gazebo, and a playground. All with terrific views of the city.
Visitors can go fishing, ice skating in winter, play soccer and softball, or go walking, in-line skating, and biking on five miles of trails.
At Lake Lodge, you can rent bikes, kayaks, paddleboards, snowshoes, and ice skates. You’ll find it on the east side of the lake at Main Street.
Choose the Carriage House Inn for easy access to the park and the lake. Express Suites Riverport Inn and the Super 8 Wyndham Winona are two more of Winona’s hotels that are convenient to this area.
Mississippi River Boat Tours
It would be a travesty to be this close to the famous river and not do anything on it. The Winona Tour Boat provides narrated tours of the Mississippi. Learn about the history of the river and the area around it. Look out for eagles, fish, snakes, beavers, turtles, and more.
Wildlife and waterway experts narrate to make the trip both entertaining and informative. United States Coast Guard (USCG) licensed captains are at the helm. Tours last about 1.5 hours.
Michael LaCanne Memorial Park
Established in 2000, Michael LaCanne Memorial Park has a swimming beach, a fishing pier, a playground, a boat ramp, restrooms, soccer fields, and a 2.04-mile paved walking and bike path. It is among the delightful parks to enjoy in Minnesota.
Polish Cultural Institute and Museum
The Polish Cultural Institute and Museum, located at 102 Liberty Street, tells the story of Winona’s Polish heritage. It is in a lumber yard office built in 1890.
The museum was founded in 1976 and holds photos, artifacts, and family histories. Check out pottery, ceramics, and other objects with a Polish background.
See Related: Best Museums in Minnesota
Historic Pickwick Mill sits on the banks of Big Trout Creek. Built in the 1850s, it’s the oldest flour mill in the state. A National Historic Landmark, it now serves as a museum. The kids will get a kick out of the working water wheel (maybe, you never know with kids).
Holzinger Lodge Trail
Holzinger Lodge Trail is a nine-mile loop for hiking, mountain biking, and skiing. Enjoy the hardwood forest, springtime wildflowers, and fall’s colorful leaves.
St. Stanislaus Catholic Church
Check out the stunning stained glass and ornate details of St. Stanislaus Catholic Church. The historic Basilica of Saint Stanislaus Kostka is on the National Register of Historic Places and makes it a peaceful place to visit in Winona.
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Sandy is a freelance writer based in Richmond, Virginia. Her specialties range from hotels, dining, beaches, and yacht charters to theme parks, urban settings, mountain getaways, and other fun spots. She loves Nashville, Las Vegas, and Williamsburg, Virginia – but you’re most likely to find her on the beach. In addition to ViaTravelers, her work appears at AFAR, PierShare, Cozymeal, and more.