13 Best Things to Do in Hinckley, MN

Wondering what are the best things to do in Hinckley, MN? Let’s dive in!

Hinckley is a city located in Pine County, Minnesota, USA. It is situated in the eastern part of the state and is known for its scenic beauty, outdoor recreational opportunities, and historical significance.

Even if Hinckley has a small population of only 1,900 people and not many might have heard of it, this place is definitely checking it out. The city has a lot of history which you might enjoy if you are tired of visiting all the big cities everyone knows about.

Unfortunately, Finckley has a significant place in history due to the devastating Great Hinckley Fire of 1894. This massive wildfire, fueled by dry conditions, swept through the area, destroying much of the town and claiming many lives. The fire had a profound impact on the community, shaping its resilience and recovery.

Hinckley’s history, resilience, and connection to the Great Hinckley Fire make it a place of significance in Minnesota’s history, attracting visitors interested in learning about its past and enjoying its natural surroundings.

Here, you can enjoy nature at its best without the noise of too many tourists. So, let’s have a look together at the top 13 things to do in Hinckley, MN if you visit:

Things to do in Hinckley, MN

1. Discover the Great Hinckley Fire Museum

Great Hinckley Fire Museum
Image source: exploreminnesota.com

The Great Hinckley Fire Museum stands as a historical institution dedicated to preserving the memory and impact of the devastating Great Hinckley Fire of 1894.

Located in Hinckley, Minnesota, the museum serves as a poignant reminder of the tragic events that shaped the town’s history and the lives of its residents.

The museum features a variety of exhibits and artifacts that provide insights into the Great Hinckley Fire. Visitors can explore photographs, documents, personal stories, and items that survived the fire.

The entrance fee for an adult is only $5.00 and you can see artifacts paint a vivid picture of the catastrophic event, its aftermath, and the community’s response to the disaster.

2. Try Your Luck at Grand Casino Hinckley

Casino rulet

Experience the thrill of gaming at Grand Casino Hinckley, a premier entertainment destination. With a wide range of slot machines, table games, and poker, there’s something for every gambler.

If you get hungry, the good news is that the casino offers multiple dining options to suit various tastes and preferences. These include casual dining spots, buffets, cafes, and upscale restaurants. Here you can enjoy a mix of cuisines, from comfort food to fine dining.

Like many casinos, Grand Casino Hinckley offers promotions, loyalty programs, and rewards for frequent visitors. These programs can include discounts, special offers, and other incentives, so make sure you check their website in advance.

3. Explore Banning State Park

Banning State Park

Nature enthusiasts will find solace in the picturesque landscapes of Banning State Park. Covering approximately 6,226 acres, this includes a variety of terrains, from forested areas to the rocky cliffs along the Kettle River.

Take a hike along scenic trails, witness the beauty of the Kettle River, or enjoy thrilling activities like rock climbing and fishing. This serene park is a haven for outdoor adventure.

4. Shop and Stroll at Hinckley Flea Market

Taking place from Thursday through Sunday, beginning April 28, the Hinckley Flea Market is held on 701 Fire Monument Rd. This is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. until October 1st.

Here you can browse through an array of stalls offering antiques, crafts, fresh produce, and much more. Engage in friendly conversations with the locals, and who knows, you might find a hidden treasure to take back home.

5. Tee Off at Grand National Golf Club

Golf park

Golf enthusiasts will relish a round of golf at the Grand National Golf Club. The field features two championship 18-hole golf courses that cater to both recreational players and serious golf enthusiasts.

Located within the natural beauty of Hinckley, the Grand National Golf Club offers golfers a scenic backdrop of lush landscapes, rolling hills, and well-maintained fairways. The surrounding environment provides a peaceful and tranquil atmosphere for an enjoyable golfing experience.

One of the courses is designed by renowned golf course architect D.A. Weibring and it offers a layout that emphasizes strategy, precision, and the natural beauty of the surroundings.

6. Pay Tribute at Hinckley Fire Monument

Hinckley Fire Monument
Image source: tripadvisor.com

This place serves as a solemn tribute to the lives lost and the resilience shown by the community during the devastating fire of 1894. The fire, which spread rapidly due to dry conditions and strong winds, claimed many lives and destroyed much of the town.

The monument honors the memory of those who perished and acknowledges the town’s recovery and rebuilding efforts.

Here you can take some time and just reflect on the town’s history and the resilience of its community as you pay your respects to those affected by this tragic event.

7. Attend Hinckley Events and Festivals

Experience the vibrant community spirit by attending Hinckley’s events and festivals. From Fourth of July celebrations to music festivals and craft shows, there’s always something happening in town. Immerse yourself in the local culture and create lasting memories.

Make sure you check the events calendar in advance to make the best of your trip!

8. Indulge in delicious baked goods and meals at Tobies Bakery

Tobies Bakery is a well-known and beloved bakery located in Hinckley, Minnesota. Established in 1947 by Lloyd “Tobie” and Russell “Rudy” Wigdal, Tobies has gained a reputation for its delicious baked goods, iconic cinnamon rolls, and welcoming atmosphere.

The bakery started as a small operation with a commitment to providing quality baked goods to the local community and travelers along Interstate 35.

One of the standout offerings at Tobies Bakery is its famous cinnamon rolls. These oversized and mouthwatering treats have become a signature item that draws locals and visitors alike.

Known for their soft, doughy texture and a generous coating of sweet cinnamon and icing, Tobies cinnamon rolls are a must-try for anyone stopping by.

9. Head to nearby St. Croix State Park

St. Croix State Park is located approximately 40 miles southeast of Hinckley, Minnesota. The driving distance between Hinckley and St. Croix State Park is roughly 40 to 45 miles, depending on the specific route you take.

Spanning over 34,000 acres, the park offers a diverse range of outdoor activities, stunning landscapes, and opportunities for relaxation and recreation including families with kids.

10. Join the Kettle River Paddle Festival

Try paddle boarding at the Snake River

Paddle festivals celebrate water-based activities such as kayaking, canoeing, and paddleboarding. They offer participants a chance to enjoy outdoor adventures, connect with fellow enthusiasts, and explore local waterways.

Events like these often include guided paddling tours, races, instructional sessions, entertainment, and more.

The festival takes place in May, but make sure you check their website in advance for more updated information.

11. Go hiking at Willard Munger State Trail

People hiking

This trail is a multi-use recreational trail that stretches across approximately 70 miles in northern Minnesota.

The trail is named after Minnesota legislator and conservationist Willard Munger. It passes through a variety of environments, including forests, wetlands, rivers, and scenic vistas, providing hikers with diverse and captivating scenery.

Hiking on the Willard Munger State Trail offers different experiences depending on the section of the trail you choose. Some parts of the trail meander through wooded areas, providing shade and a sense of seclusion. Other sections may follow alongside rivers or lakes, offering picturesque water views and opportunities for wildlife spotting.

Before embarking on a hiking adventure at the Willard Munger State Trail, I recommend checking with local authorities or the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) for the most up-to-date trail conditions, access points

12. Go have lunch at Whistle Stop Café

The Whistle Stop Café is a dining establishment known for its comfort food and cozy atmosphere in Hinckley, Minnesota.

The café might offer a variety of sandwiches and burgers, ranging from classic options to unique creations. You could find choices like:

  • Grilled chicken sandwich
  • BLT (Bacon, Lettuce, and Tomato)
  • Turkey and avocado wrap
  • Cheeseburger with various toppings

Whistle Stop Café is known for its homestyle cooking, and you might find daily specials that showcase comfort food classics:

  • Meatloaf with mashed potatoes and gravy
  • Chicken pot pie
  • Beef stew
  • Country-fried steak

The café’s friendly staff and homestyle cuisine make it a great spot to enjoy a satisfying and comforting lunch.

13. Spend a night out at the Firehouse Liquor and Lounge

Firehouse Liquor and Lounge

The Firehouse Liquor and Lounge is a local gathering spot where visitors can enjoy a mix of socializing, drinks, and entertainment. It’s often characterized by a casual and friendly atmosphere, making it a popular choice for residents and visitors looking to unwind and have a good time.

The lounge setting at Firehouse Liquor and Lounge is designed to create a relaxed and comfortable ambiance. It’s a place where people can come to enjoy drinks, engage in conversations, and potentially make new friends.

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