Visionary thinking a century ago made Minneapolis what it is today: the No. 1 American city for parks, according to the Trust for Public Land. Early civic leaders bought land around several of the 20-plus lakes in the urban area, creating beautiful Chain of Lakes Regional Park, where locals and visitors can canoe, sail, swim, walk and bike. Elsewhere, hiking is popular in Minnehaha Park, where bluffs overlook the Mississippi River. And speaking of the Mighty Mississippi, you can take a guided canoe or kayak tour of the river in downtown Minneapolis. Just south of the airport, Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge offers a relaxing place to enjoy the natural world.