3 Short getaways within 3 hours of MSP

Destinations, Travel Tips

For many of us, as winter stretches into its last month, the itch to travel starts to set in. But, let’s face it, just the thought of a long airplane ride is enough to leave us cold.  Thankfully, there are a multitude of fun yet overlooked destinations less than 3 hours flight time from MSP that can satiate the travel bug.

Consider these three picks when contemplating your next getaway! 

View of white salty sand beach in Utah's Great Salt Lake.
View of white salty sand beach in Utah’s Great Salt Lake.

DESTINATION: Salt Lake City, Utah

Traditionally a winter destination, Salt Lake City is often overlooked for spring and summertime fun. Nestled between the Wasatch Range Mountains and the largest salt water lake in the Western Hemisphere, it’s jam-packed with scenic views, outdoor activities and natural beauty.


  • Red Butte Garden: Stop by this serene, 18-acre garden to wander among fields of daffodils, rows of lilac bushes and a collection of pink- and white-blossomed crab apple trees. You can also hike and picnic while overlooking the Salt Lake Valley.
  • Spring skiing: Not ready to retire your skis for the season? SLC ski resorts are open until mid-April, including Brighton, Park City and Sundance.
  • Natural History Museum of Utah: Check out the engaging gem and minerals exhibits, paleontology discoveries, stories told by the five Native Utah nations and more than 5,000 artifacts on display.
"Facade of a restaurant at Place Jacques-Cartier in Montreal, Quebec."
A quaint restaurant in Place Jacques-Cartier in Montreal, Quebec.

DESTINATION: Montreal, Québec, Canada

TRAVEL HOURS FROM MSP: 2 hours and 45 minutes
Montreal and its 375 years of old-world charm are just a passport away. Often described as one of the most European-centric cities outside of Europe, you’ll  experience springtime like the French do – with the accents but without the jetlag. Amuse-toi bien!


  •  Mount Royal: A bit of a hike, but worth it for the best views of the city. If you’re not feeling up for a climb, picnic at one of the many parks or take a bike ride.
  • Botanical Gardens: Cherry blossom trees aren’t just for Washington D.C.! The Botanical Gardens are a must if you want to witness Montreal in all its natural beauty. From birdwatching to greenhouses (10, including a tropical rainforest), this truly is an oasis in the heart of the city.
  • Old Montreal: Walk down St. Paul Street (or rent a BIXI bike) to take in all of the history Old Montreal has to offer, all while popping in and out of its many shops and galleries. Snap some pictures in the Place d’Armes square and of the beautiful Montreal City Hall – you can’t miss it.
The Jim Beam Stillhouse on the Bourbon Trail; photo by Anthony
Kentucky’s Jim Beam Stillhouse on the Bourbon Trail; photo by Anthony.

DESTINATION: Louisville, Kentucky

TRAVEL HOURS FROM MSP: 1 hour and 45 minutes
Get your sunny, southern fix in Louisville this spring. With average temperatures in the upper 70s in May, this is definitely the warmest of the three destinations. There’s a ton to do, see, eat -and drink – in Louisville so don’t miss out on booking this quick trip.

  • Kentucky Derby: Dubbed “the greatest two minutes in sports,” the Kentucky Derby brought more than 165,000 fans last year to the famed Churchill Downs. Book your trip for the first weekend in May if you don’t want to miss the history and tradition (and don’t forget your extravagant derby hats).
  • Distillery tours: If horseracing isn’t your thing, maybe whiskey is. Visit the recently opened Jim Beam Urban Distillery in the heart of the city, venture an hour south to Bardstown for Maker’s Mark or check out the Evan Williams Bourbon Experience to celebrate Kentucky’s first distiller.
  • Water Tower Park: Take a leisurely stroll around the historic Water Tower on the banks of the Ohio River. Then visit the Water Works museum to experience the history of Louisville’s water come to life.

Want a few more quick trip destination ideas? Check these out:

  • Toronto – 2 hours
  • Winnipeg – 1.5 hours
  • Nashville, Tennessee – 2 hours
  • Denver, Colorado – 2 hours
  • New Orleans, Louisiana – 2 hours and 45 minutes
  • Great Falls, Montana – 2 hours and 45 minutes


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