The Prairie’s Edge Wildlife Drive, part of the Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge in Zimmerman, Minn., is a pristine slice of nature less than an hour northwest of downtown Minneapolis that deserves a spot on any nature lover’s list of summer destinations. The seven-mile vehicle tour is a microcosm of the 30,000 acres of wetlands, prairies and oak savanna found in the refuge, home to more than 230 species of birds, as well as such mammals as river otters, beaver, whitetail deer, black bears and coyotes. You’ll see beautiful wildflowers along the drive, and can spot bald eagles, trumpeter swans and sandhill cranes. “My favorite way to experience the refuge is to drive in with my windows open, find a spot to pull over, and just watch and listen,” said Jill Beim, a longtime volunteer at the refuge. “As the sun sets, the deer come out to graze, the sandhill cranes fly over, the coyotes howl and the soras whinny. In that moment, all is right with the world.”

JEFF MORAVEC