Darwin Travel Guide

Explore the best of Southern Minnesota with our comprehensive travel guide to Darwin, including top attractions, hiking and biking routes, things to do, food and drink scene, where to stay, and much more.

Introduction to Darwin

Darwin is a charming town located in Southern Minnesota, known for its stunning natural beauty, historic landmarks, and unique cultural offerings. It is an ideal destination for travelers looking for a peaceful escape in the Midwest, and it offers a plethora of things to see and experience. From hiking and biking trails to museums and historical sites, there’s something for everyone in Darwin.

List of Places to Visit in Darwin

Here is a curated list of places to visit in Darwin:

Culturally Important Attractions: Museums and Historical Places

  • Darwin Twine Ball Museum
  • Meeker County Historical Society Museum
  • Dassel History Center and Ergot Museum
  • Forest City Stockade

Natural Attractions of Darwin: Outdoor Adventures and Scenic Views

  • Darwin Hills
  • Lake Susan
  • Little Swan Lake
  • Crow River

Hiking/Biking Routes of Darwin

For adventure seekers, Darwin offers plenty of opportunities to explore the outdoors. Here are some popular hiking and biking routes in the area:

  • Luce Line Trail
  • Crow River Trail
  • Central Lakes Trail
  • Glacial Lakes State Trail

Best Things to Do in Darwin: Activities and Tours

Darwin offers a variety of activities and tours for visitors of all ages. Here are some of the best things to do in Darwin:

  • Visit the Twine Ball Museum
  • Take a stroll around Lake Susan
  • Go fishing at Little Swan Lake
  • Explore the Dassel History Center and Ergot Museum

Week-Long Itinerary for Darwin

If you’re planning to spend a week in Darwin, here’s a suggested itinerary:

Day Activity
Day 1 Visit the Twine Ball Museum and take a stroll around Lake Susan
Day 2 Explore the Meeker County Historical Society Museum and go fishing at Little Swan Lake
Day 3 Take a bike ride along the Luce Line Trail and enjoy the scenic views
Day 4 Visit the Dassel History Center and Ergot Museum and explore the historic landmarks in the area
Day 5 Go hiking in the Darwin Hills and enjoy the breathtaking views
Day 6 Take a road trip to nearby destinations such as Minneapolis or St. Paul
Day 7 Relax and unwind at one of the local spas or bookstores

Food and Drink Scene of Darwin

Darwin offers a range of dining options to satisfy any traveler’s palate.

Must-Try Dishes

  • Wild rice soup
  • Hot dish
  • Jell-O salad
  • Juicy Lucy

Local Beverages

  • Grain Belt Beer
  • Minnesota wines
  • Local craft beers
  • Minnesota apple cider

Where to Stay in Darwin: Hotels, Hostels, and Guesthouses

There are several lodging options available in Darwin for travelers of all budgets.

  • Red Carpet Inn
  • Americas Best Value Inn
  • Paynesville Inn and Suites
  • Cokato Lake Camping and RV Resort

What to Buy in Darwin: Souvenirs and Local Products to Bring Home

Darwin offers a range of unique products to bring home as souvenirs, such as:

  • Twine Ball keychains and magnets
  • Wild rice
  • Local honey
  • Handmade crafts from the Meeker County Historical Society Museum gift shop

Local Culture and Customs of Darwin

Darwin is known for its friendly residents, Midwest hospitality and strong sense of community. Visitors are encouraged to respect the local way of life.

Best Time to Visit Darwin

The best time to visit Darwin is during the summer months, from June to August, when the weather is warm and sunny.

Do’s and Don’ts of Darwin

Here are some do’s and don’ts to keep in mind when visiting Darwin:


  • Bring comfortable shoes for outdoor activities
  • Try the local cuisine and beverages
  • Explore the historic landmarks
  • Be respectful of local customs


  • Litter
  • Be loud in public areas
  • Cause harm to local wildlife
  • Violate local laws and regulations

Safety and Health

Safety in Darwin

Darwin is a safe destination for travelers, but it’s always important to exercise caution and common sense when exploring the area.

Health in Darwin

Visitors should be aware of tick-borne illnesses and take necessary precautions while spending time outdoors, such as wearing long-sleeved clothing and using insect repellent.

Getting to Darwin: Transportation Options and Logistics

Airports Near Darwin

The nearest airports to Darwin are:

  • Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport
  • St. Cloud Regional Airport
  • Rochester International Airport

Bus Stations Near Darwin

Bus service is available at:

  • Greyhound Station - Saint Cloud, MN
  • Jefferson Lines - Saint Cloud, MN

Other Options

  • Rent a car
  • Take a train

How to Get Around in Darwin

A car is recommended for getting around Darwin and the surrounding areas. Bike and car rentals are also available.

Where to Go Next from Darwin: Nearby Destinations and Excursions

There are many nearby destinations worth visiting from Darwin, including:

  • Minneapolis
  • St. Paul
  • Mankato
  • Rochester
  • Lake Minnetonka


Darwin is a hidden gem in Southern Minnesota, offering visitors a unique blend of natural beauty, historic landmarks, and Midwest hospitality. With plenty of outdoor activities, cultural attractions, and dining options, Darwin is a must-visit destination for travelers looking for an off-the-beaten-path experience in the Midwest.