You’re engaged — congratulations! Now it’s time for your engagement photos. But where to go? Today I’m sharing five of my favorite unique spots across the Twin Cities for engagement sessions. These are a bit off-the-beaten-trail, but perfect for a couple looking to be a little adventurous, a little different, and all within an hour’s drive from the Twin Cities.
Interstate Park – Taylors Falls, MN
About an hour northeast of Minneapolis, Interstate Park is a location that feels entirely like the North Shore, without the 5-hour drive or the hike. Within the half-mile of trails, there are an abundance of rocky outcroppings and river views that rival many locations along Minnesota’s North Shore. Because this area is abundant with evergreens (and very few deciduous trees), it’s one of those rare locations that looks good in every season.
Bonus Location: If you have an extra 25 minutes (12 minute drive, three minute walk, ten minutes of photography), it’s worth it to complete your session at Cascade Falls in Osceola, WI. This 25-foot waterfall dips into a wading-depth pool. If you’re brave enough, you can slip off your shoes and take a few photos in the water.
Montissippi Regional Park – Monticello, MN
This park in Monticello, MN, boasts 170 acres of beautiful oak savannah, mature pines, and tall prairie grasses. A feature I love most are the 100+ foot pine plantings – the rows of trees create dreamy photos with strong lines and stunning backdrops.
Hennepin Island – Minneapolis, MN
This eight-acre park in the heart of Minneapolis barely feels like you’re in a city. A set of stairs in the Saint Anthony Main area leads you down to the island, transporting you from the city into a wooded area. This is one of my favorite locations to shoot — the natural trails and wooden bridges offers state park vibes on the river front, but you’re still downtown. The best part is you can still get those quintessential Minneapolis shots — the Stone Arch Bridge is a four minute walk south of the island trail entrance.
Theodore Wirth Park – Minneapolis, MN
In the western reaches of Minneapolis proper, there’s a small golf course and park called Theodore Wirth Regional Park. Behind the chalet, there’s a small grove of trees atop a hill with the most unique growing patterns and cut. Also in the area is a small bridge, a set of wooden stairs, and the historic Swiss-style chalet itself.
Long Lake Park – New Brighton, MN
Tall grasses, wildflower fields, woods, beaches, and fishing docks — Long Lake Park in New Brighton screams Minnesota summer lifestyle session; but you don’t need to visit every part of the state, or have access to a cabin, to get it. A grassy field complete with native wildflowers grows at park’s center – from June through September, there’s always something blooming. I like July best, mostly for the Black Eyed Susans and Orange Milkweed. Just west of the the field, a paved trail runs through a patch of woods that glows during golden hour. A ten-minute walk (or a three-minute drive) to the sandy beach is well worth it, and on the opposite side of the park lies the boat launch, complete with a fishing dock that looks like it belongs at the cabin.
Planning a Minneapolis engagement session or your wedding? Let’s chat photography!
Rachel Lahlum is an award-winning Minneapolis wedding photographer with experience in hundreds of weddings and engagement sessions. She takes a guided approach towards working with couples, from helping with planning and scheduling, to guiding with poses and prompts during the session. Her photography is crisp, clean and bright, with true-to-life colors and a mix of traditional poses and candid moments.