Sometimes the smallest towns have the biggest charm. Waseca, MN is located off of HWY 13 and HWY 14, about an hour away from Minneapolis, MN. Waseca means “rich” in Dakota language, referring to it’s rich soil for farmland. It shouldn’t be surprising that Waseca is a farming community, which is reflected in plenty of our favorite things to do here. This is a place I used to go with my parents when I was little- I have a lot of good memories in Waseca! If you are looking for an affordable day trip, that’s quiet with no crowds, this is the list for you!

In this blog you will find..

  • Favorite places to eat (including a pizza farm)
  • Unique places to get drinks
  • Immersive agricultural experiences
  • Outdoor adventures
  • and much more!

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Where to Stay

If you are looking for a place to stay, I suggest the cute, modern apartments above The Bar on Main. The first is a 1 bedroom, cozy studio apartment with all the amenities you need (not to mention a convenient location). The average cost is $74 per night. Add it to your wishlist here!

If you need more space, there is a beautiful, 2 bedroom (3 beds total) above the Bar on Main with beautiful, historic brick walls. There is also every amenity you need, including a washer. The average cost is $ 144 per night. Add it to your wishlist here!

  1. Start Your Day with Lush Cakes Coffee & Breakfast

LUSH Cakes drive through is quite possible my favorite coffee shop in Southern Minnesota. Lush Cakes is not only a cake shop, but a place to treat yourself to gourmet pastries, delicious salads and breakfast sandwiches. I enjoy their specialty drinks such as Vanilla Bean Macron Breve, Snicker doodle Chai, Butterfly Latte (blue coffee), Matcha Frappe and more!

Are You a Coffee Lover? Check Our Our Favorite MN Coffee Spots!

2. Explore Farmamerica

Farmamerica is a family-owned farm and home store with a focus on agriculture. They have been in business for over 40 years and are located in Waseca, MN. Farmamerica is a place where you can enjoy the outdoors and explore all the things that make Minnesota great. You can see how their products are made, buy fresh produce, and interact with animals. There is a time line train that goes to the prairie interpretive center, 1850s settlement farm, country church, school house, 1930s dairy farm and more. Farmamerica is a hot spot for field trips, tours, farm camps and more! I enjoy taking my family here in October to their corn maze and Pumpkin Party for the kids.

Guided tours start at $10 an hour and self-guided tours start at $8 an hour. Admission for special events varies. You can find more information here!

3. Hike the Trails at Maplewood Park

On the east side of Clear Lake, you will find Maplewood Park. You can drive up the hill and find the final remnants of the big woods that used to cover southern Minnesota. These trails wind through the woods, discover wildflowers and relax on a quiet trail. I want to especially highlight this beautiful place for a stroll during fall time. When you enter Maplewood Park, there is also an area where you have public water access to Clear Lake in the parking lot.

4. Go Camping at Kiesler’s Campground

Located off HWY 14 across from Clear Lake in Waseca is Kiesler Campground. This was one of our camping areas from my childhood and I am happy to say there is a lot that is so much the same here. There is a pool, mini golf course, games, playground, volleyball court and so much more! Rates for the campground vary, depending on how many people, type and how many days.

Click here to reserve a spot at Kiesler’s Campground.

5. Have Dinner Overlooking Clear Lake at The Boat House

You don’t have to just participate in fishing or water sports to enjoy Clear Lake. You can have a peaceful lunch or dinner at the Boat House rate on the lake! There is also Clear Lake Trail, which is a paved trail that wraps around Clear Lake to Maplewood Park nearby The Boat House. If you are at Kiesler Campground, you can easily walk over to the Boat House as well! They serve a variety of American cuisine and pasta.

6. Go Back In Time at Barney’s Drive Through

If you are a fan of the 1950s and drive up restaurants, Barney’s along HWY 14 by Clear Lake is a must stop. I get some A&W vibes when I visit, but I definitely prefer Barney’s. They have a variety of foods on their menu, daily deals and ice cream! My kids and I like to go to the drive up at Barney’s, then go to Memories Park, right next to Barney’s. It’s a quiet place with a playground and dog park. Barney has a scenic location near Clear Lake & is as convenient as you can get. They are only open seasonally, April to end of September.

7. Take a Duck Tour on Clear Lake

Another unique way to get an immersive experience of Waseca is through Barney’s Duck Tour. Duck boat rides are during the summer, going from 7:30 to 8:30 pm. Another side note- after duck boat tours, Barney’s also puts on a movie night.

8. Have An Immersive Experience at Pleasant Grove Pizza Farm

Pleasant Grove Pizza Farm represents my idea of a typical Midwestern summer Sunday- in the backyard, in the country, with some good food and music! Specifically, some GOOD home made pizza, truly a farm to table experience! At Pizza Grove Farm, you will find a menu of varieties of home made pizza and dessert pizza with appetizers, all made from ingredients from there farm. You can also dine by their goats and llamas, with a stage, backyard games and a beautiful views. I do suggest reading their website to make sure you are going during the right dates and times. You will also need to bring your own chairs, picnic blankets, plates & cutlery and drinks (bug spray is a good idea too).

Make sure to check out the Pleasant Grove Pizza Farm to successfully prepare for your visit.

9. Take the Family to Mis Tres Flores and La Michoacana

I have eaten at my fair share of Mexican food places, but Mis Tres Flores is my favorite. Their food is very authentic, with a lot of options on the menu for everyone. I enjoy that they have a great selection for vegetarian and pescatarian choices. Mis Tres Flores also has a display case with a variety of baked goods and a little store featuring Mexican candy. After we eat, we always get a Mangonada, Ferrero Rocher ice cream or choose from their dozens of home made sorbet popsicles.

10. Relax With Some Drinks at Indian Island Winery or the Bar on Main

For being such a small town, Waseca sure has lovely options for those who want to relax with a drink or try new flavors. Indian Island Winery is a small, family operated business featuring wine made from grapes grown in their own winery and other local growers. The winery features a lot of artifacts found in the area of where the winery now stands, which used to be a site Native Americans used as a summer hunting camp. They have live music every Friday and Saturday night and Sunday afternoons in the summer. They feature dozens of white wines, red wines and dessert wines. If you’re torn between what to buy or try, I suggest you partake in their wine flights (5 wines) for $10. My personal favorite is Maiden Blush. (It should be noted Indian Island Winery is located in Janesville, about 13 minutes from Waseca).

The Bar on Main (located downtown) has truly brought a modern edge to the small town of Waseca. As you walk in, you are greeted with the “You are right where you need to be” neon sign. Drinks offered range from beer on tap to constant new options of fancy new cocktails or even just chocolate milk for the kids. A lot of their sourcing for food comes from other local businesses. If you choose to pay The Bar on Main, make sure to take note of their new hours.

Check out The Bar on Main new hours here.

If you visit Indian Island Winery, make sure to double check the hours here.

11. Enjoy Water Activities on Clear Lake

Clear Lake is 648 acres and has 4.4 miles of shoreline. It’s known to be a good fishing spot with Black Bull Head, Blue Gill, Green Sunfish, Large Mouth Bass, Northern Pike, Walleye and Yellow Bullhead. Maplewood Park is a perfect access point for boaters, kayakers, canoes and other water sport participants to access Clear Lake. Sportsman Park is also another good point of entry.

Looking for Other Neat MN Towns on the Water? Check These Out!

12. Have some Fall Fun at Autumn Acres Farm

Autumn Acres Farm offers a beautiful sunflower field in the summer, then opens up in September for pumpkin patch season. Admission is free and activities offered are corn pit, pick your own pumpkin, pumpkin ring toss, tic tac toe, bean bag toss, multiple Instagram worthy spots, tractor pulled wagon rides, concessions and fun event days.

To plan your family adventure, make sure to check out the Autumn Acres website here.

13. Skydive with North Star

Are you an avid thrill seeker? Do you have sky diving on your bucket list or want to learn how to sky dive all on your own? Waseca offers Skydive North Star where you can experience your “first jump” paired up with a trained professional. A $50 nonrefundable down payment is required and there are options to book with a group. If you truly want to experience an unforgettable moment having an astounding aerial view of Waseca, this is the activity for you!

Click here to book your experience!

14. Beat the Summer Heat at the Waseca Water Park

Photo credit to https://www.exploreminnesota.com/profile/waseca-water-park/3420

Waseca may be a small town, but they have an amazing water park equipped with slides, toddler play area, water spray area, sheet flow curtain, and a pool. There are also chairs for lounging pool side and a bath house as well. Daily admissions rates are $6 per person and after 5 pm, $3.50 per person. The water park closes for the season in September and reopens late May.

For more information, click here.

15. Make Memories at Half Pint Brewing Co.

Go out for lunch at Half Pint Brewing Co. and choose from 8 beers on tap as well as sodas and root beer. There is also meat sticks and jerky in the tap room, as well as pizza options provided by Pleasant Grove Pizza Farm.

Click here for Half Pint Brewing hours.

Bonus: Sakatah Lake State Park

Photo credit to https://www.facebook.com/HalfPintBrewingCompany

If you love the outdoors and visiting state parks, consider taking the 15 minute cruise to Sakatah Lake State Park. Members of the Dakota Native American tribe named this area Sakatah, which translates into “children singing on the hill”. It’s believed that a Native American village existed between the upper and lower Sakatah Lakes. Sakatah Lake is a natural widening of Cannon River & provides great fishing opportunity and calm waters to canoe or kayak. There are 5 miles of hiking trails and 3 miles of paved bike paths. The Sakatah Singing Hills Trail also goes through Sakatah Lake State Park and stretches 39 miles from Faribault to Mankato.

Interested in Other Places to Hike in MN? Check this Out!

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