Many Minnesota natives and out-of-state guests are looking for personal recommendations of the best things to do in Minnesota this summer. This makes a lot of sense, because when you Google “Things to see in Minnesota” and it gives you 53,500,000 results in .85 seconds, help is needed to narrow the choices. There’s lakes and landmarks, parks and parades, events and eateries, museums and more. So many places to go, things to do, and scenes to view.

But there’s more to see than what’s listed on Google, travel brochures, or even personal recommendations. And it’s not in addition to what is promoted, but within it. All of creation directs our attention and praise to God. The heavens declare his glory! (Psalm 19:1-6) So, as we enjoy and explore the land of 10,000 lakes, let’s see how it points to him!

  1. Pay attention to the birds. The common loon (Gavia immer) is the official state bird of Minnesota. And its eerie, echoing calls may cause us to wonder if we’re all alone. God’s Word and world tell a different story. Birds point us to our with-us God. No need to fear or worry. If God feeds and cares for birds, how much more does he care for us! (Matthew 6:25-27)
  2. Jump in a lake! When we are painfully aware of our sin, guilt, and failure, water is a symbol of the forgiveness that is ours in Jesus. When we confess, he cleanses. He washes us clean! God throws our wrongdoing deeper than the deepest Minnesota lake. He hurls “all our iniquities into the depths of the sea.” (Micah 7:19)
  3. Mow or walk through grass. Whether freshly cut, ankle or knee-deep, grass is a picture of what matters. The stresses and messes of life are temporary, and the message of the culture is in flux, but this you can stand on now and always. God’s Word and promises are sure and true. Isaiah 40:8 says, “The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever.”
  4. Consider the flowers. The pink and white lady’s slipper (Cypripedium reginae) is the official state flower of Minnesota. It’s known as the showy lady’s slipper or queen’s lady slipper. How apt. It shows God’s royal care! “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.” (Matthew 6:28-29)
  5. Look up. My sisters who live out of state tell me there is something unique and special about the puffy, cotton clouds that float above the Minnesota prairie. And though clouds may look different from the place they call home, the truth remains the same. The sky proclaims God’s character and ways! The Psalmist says, “For great is your love, reaching to the heavens; your faithfulness reaches to the skies.” (Psalm 57:10)

And there’s more: When we have eyes to see beyond the sights, sounds, and smells of what is in front of us, we will experience the breadth and width of our Creator’s care and unending love.

As you explore Minnesota, “May you be blessed by the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.” (Psalm 115:15) Where do you see him today?

Writer’s note: All verses are quoted from the New International Version (NIV).