Blake Walsh

15 Best Things to Do in Scott County, MN

  • Published 2023/03/12

Home to many entertainment, scenic, and historic destinations, Scott County, Minnesota, offers a laidback atmosphere.

Its county seat, the City of Shakopee, has drawn many people to live, work, and play in the area.

With a population of 150,928 as of the 2020 census, the county has advocated for progressive development and economic structure.

It was founded in 1853 and was named after General Winfield Scott, a military commander and politician in the early 1800s.

It’s also home to many lakes, where people gather for fishing and other outdoor activities for backpackers and family travelers.

Here are the best things to do in Scott County, Minnesota:

Attend the Famous Minnesota Renaissance Festival

Fire dancers at the Minnesota Renaissance Festival

Gretchen Gunda Enger /

Offering a unique experience to visitors and the community, the Minnesota Renaissance Festival in Shakopee draws crowds with its fictional 16th-century festivities.

Happening for seven weekends from August to September, the festival features an England-like fantasy kingdom theme.

It started in 1971 and has been promoted as “A Celebration of Nature, Art, and Life.”

The festival is graced by more than 700 entertainers, including musicians and stage actors, and artists, as well as local food vendors, artisans, and more.

A juggler at the Minnesota Renaissance Festival

Gretchen Gunda Enger /

Musician Jason Mraz also performed at the festival during the early days of his career.

A grand parade, contests, rides, games, and many other family-friendly activities are available.

You can access the Minnesota Renaissance Festival on Chestnut Boulevard for the Queen’s Gate and 145th Street West for the King’s Gate.

A woman wearing a fairy costume at the Minnesota Renaissance Festival

Gretchen Gunda Enger /

Enjoy an Outdoor Excursion at Sand Creek Adventures

If you’re into a fun but challenging excursion while enjoying the great outdoors, Sand Creek Adventures is for you!

See the Minnesota Sand Creek from over 100 feet above by riding the 1,600+ feet of the combined zip line or try the Leap of Faith Challenge.

You can also try the Low Ropes Connection Course with your family or friends.

Those who want to simply enjoy the relaxing atmosphere can swing through the trees with the Giant Swing.

Sand Creek Adventures is located on 220th Street West in Jordan.

Play Arcade Games at Zap Arcade

Step back to the 1980s at Zap Arcade, where you can relive the 1980s games.

For only a few bucks, you can play all day and enjoy classic games.

If you’re into comics, figures, trades, card games, and other popular entertainment forms during the 1980s and 1990s, Zap Arcade is ideal for you.

Zap Arcade also hosts birthday parties and other special occasions and events.

You can find it on Broadway Street South in Jordan.

Spend a Full Fun Day at Valleyfair

Daytime view of Valleyfair

Steve Skjold /

If you have little ones with you, one of the best destinations in Scott County is Valleyfair, which operates seasonally from May to October.

Encompassing 125 acres, the amusement park features more than 75 rides for all ages to have fun and safe adventures in the county.

It offers thrill rides like hurricane falls, roller coasters, swings, carousels, bumper cars, barefoot beaches, and more!

Rollercoaster at Valleyfair

Steve Skjold /

The kids will have the time of their life at the park’s ride-and-play equipment.

It also features a waterpark called Soak City, which is great for all water lovers.

Everything here is perfect for all ages, so if you’re a traveling family or group of friends, Valleyfair is an ideal spot!

It’s located on Valley Fair Drive in Shakopee.

A ride at Valleyfair

Larry Pieniazek – User:Lar, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Celebrate the Fall Festival at Sever’s Corn Maze & Farm Market

You can celebrate the Fall Festival at Sever’s Corn Maze & Farm Market.

It started in 1997 when the Petersons cut their first corn maze, the first and largest in Minnesota and the second in the U.S.

Today, the festival features many attractions for everyone, including corn pits, petting zoos, playgrounds, live shows, local artisans, and more.

The farm also hosts several events such as seasonal light shows on the grounds of the 100-acre farm.

You can visit Sever’s Corn Maze & Farm Market on West 150th Street in Shakopee.

Enjoy a Meal by the Lake at Charlie’s on Prior

Who doesn’t want to have a taste of local food with scenic views of a lake?

At Charlie’s on Prior, you get to enjoy comfort food while soaking up the views of Prior Lake in the city of the same name.

Try its mouthwatering chicken tinga bowl, lake nachos, walleye treats, fried avocado, Bloody Marys, cold beers, ice cream, and more.

The restaurant also offers seasonal boat slip rental, as well as an award-winning deck dining overlooking the lake.

The sunsets here are also breathtaking!

You can find Charlie’s on Prior on Green Heights Trail Southwest in the City of Prior Lake.

Watch Horse Racing in Canterbury Park

Welcome sign of Canterbury Park

Tony Webster from Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Home to Minnesota’s best horse racing events, Canterbury Park in Shakopee features a mega race track with a paddock, a finish line, and a winner’s circle.

Live thoroughbred and quarter horse racing happens between mid-May and mid-September with a season pass that gives you access to all 55 days of racing.

All these you can enjoy while drinking cold craft beer at the bar and indulging in tasty meals at the restaurant.

Canterbury Park also features a casino and hosts live concerts and events.

If you’re a fan of horses and racing, head to Canterbury Park for a fun adventure!

Horse-racing at Canterbury Park

gomattolson from Minneapolis, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Get Your Coffee Fix at Dunn Brothers Coffee

Whether you’re having coffee in the morning or in the mid-afternoon, look no further than Dunn Brothers Coffee in Savage.

Founded in St. Paul by brothers Dan and Ed Dunn, the coffeehouse specializes in espresso and cold-brew beverages made from certified sustainable beans.

You’ll love how the coffeehouse roasts its beans in small batches right in the store.

This ensures that every cup of coffee is served fresh.

You can also get made-to-order breakfast sandwiches and fresh-baked pastries to pair with your coffee.

Dunn Brothers Coffee was founded in 1987 and has more than 50 locations throughout Minnesota and the U.S.

Learn about History at Scott County Historical Society

History buffs can enjoy their time learning about the county’s history at Scott County Historical Society.

The museum features more than 50,000 archives and artifacts, including photographs, typewriters, letters, clothing, books, postcards, and more.

It also offers a research library, where you can trace your family’s roots through church, census, and cemetery records.

There are many collections to see at the museum, including paintings, 1800s-inspired gowns and dresses, and crafts, among others.

Visit Scott County Historical Society on Fuller Street South in Shakopee.

Play and Earn at Mystic Lake Casino Hotel

Exterior of Mystic Lake Casino Hotel

Ken Wolter /

Featuring state-of-the-art casino amenities, you can try your luck at Mystic Lake Casino Hotel.

It has slot machines, blackjack tables, a high-stakes bingo hall, and more.

The hotel also offers modern amenities if you prefer staying here with your family or friends; it offers amazing views of its award-winning golf course.

You can also grab a delicious meal at one of its restaurants and a cold drink at the bar.

Mystic Lake Casino Hotel offers both good times and a comfortable stay!

You can find it at Mystic Lake Boulevard Northwest in Prior Lake.

Go Camping at Cleary Lake Regional Park

Want to sleep under the stars by the lake?

You can do that at Cleary Lake Regional Park on Texas Avenue in the City of Prior Lake, which is adorned by Prior Lake, perfect for those who love the water.

The campsites have great spaces in between with working water and electricity for RV camping, where you can do full hookups.

If you’re tree tent camping, the basswood at the campsites is a great spot for your hammock as well as small tents.

The lake also offers fishing, swimming, and paddle areas with kayak and canoe rentals.

Lake Regional Park is a popular spot for traveling families who love camping by the water!

Go Hiking in the Minnesota Valley State Recreation Area on Shakopee Louisville Swamp Trailhead

Those who love the great outdoors will have a great time hiking at the Minnesota Valley State Recreation Area.

In Shakopee, you can head to Louisville Swamp Trailhead on 145th Street West in Jordan, which offers a 2.4-mile loop trail.

It’s perfect for hiking, exercising, and nature viewing, especially since it’s filled with varieties of birds, including bald eagles, as well as small wildlife and beautiful wildflowers.

The Louisville Swamp Trailhead is easy to traverse, which is great for all ages, including little ones.

If you have pets, make sure they’re on a leash so as not to disturb other hikers.

Go Biking at Murphy-Hanrehan Park Reserve

Wildflower at Murphy-Hanrehan Park Reserve

sajoles /

Offering a peaceful atmosphere with sweeping views of lush forests, Murphy-Hanrehan Park Reserve features a singletrack mountain biking trail.

The park has beautiful raw areas, including prairies, glacial ridges, marshlands, meadows, hilly terrains, and lush green foliage.

Many cyclists choose this park because of its mostly undeveloped areas, perfect for those who love raw nature.

You may see some hikers here, but the park’s trail is especially great for biking.

There’s also a boat lunch to access Murphy Lake, which is great for canoeing, kayaking, or paddleboarding.

Look out for lots of birds and enjoy biking in nature!

Murphy-Hanrehan Park Reserve is located on Murphy Lake Boulevard in Savage.

Buy Local Produce at Prior Lake Farmers Market

Established over 20 years ago, Prior Lake Farmers Market has been supporting and promoting local farmers and vendors in the area.

If you’re in Prior Lake, go to Main Avenue Southeast and support the vendors and small business owners by buying some of their products.

Shop for organic and fresh produce such as vegetables, fruits, flowers, and herbs, as well as delicious baked goods, jams & jellies, handmade crafts, jewelry, and more.

At Prior Lake Farmers Market, you’re not only supporting local farmers and vendors but also promoting clean eating and sustainable businesses.

Buy local, support local!

Explore The Landing – Minnesota River Heritage Park

Buildings along The Landing - Minnesota River Heritage Park

McGhiever, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Step back in time at The Landing – Minnesota River Heritage Park and learn how the early 19th-century people lived in farmsteads, villages, and frontiers.

You can see several historic buildings, listen to a discussion by a costumed guide, and watch reenactments that tell stories from the past.

Adorned by the beautiful Minnesota River, the park also hosts programs and events and special occasions like weddings and birthday parties.

The park also features trails for hiking, snowshoeing, and biking, as well as dog areas and picnic areas.

You can find The Landing – Minnesota River Heritage Park off Highway 101 East in Shakopee.

Final Thoughts

Packed with rich history and gleaming tourist destinations, Scott County is worth visiting.

Explore natural attractions and soak up the culture in the county’s historical sites.

Enjoy the best things to do in Scott County, Minnesota, through this guide!

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