We are always on the lookout for the perfect place to unwind and rejuvenate, to go fishing, and try new activities. While there are many lodges and resorts across the world, there is nothing like heading to picturesque rivers and lakes.
There are several destinations for Minnesota family vacations. The destinations offer an ideal opportunity for travelers to make the most of the picturesque location and serenity.
They also provide families with many things to do and see.
Minnesota is known for some of the most enthralling sights in America.
It has everything from impressive wilderness to glowing cities, there are cities that boast a variety of destinations for family vacations with young children in Minnesota.
Planning outdoor family vacations in southern Minnesota can be hard and we are here to make things easy for you by listing some of the top Minnesota family vacations.
Irrespective of what you are looking for, there will be something for you in these Minnesota vacation ideas.
Table of Contents
Here are the top 10 best family vacations in Minnesota.
Bloomington is all about incredibly fun-filled Minnesota family vacations. Right from a wildlife refuge to a huge shopping mall, Bloomington has it all. It offers ample fun with attractions that are suitable for the whole family.
You can enjoy a whole day of shopping at The Mall of America which also happens to be the largest shopping mall on Earth. There are many kid-friendly attractions here including amusement rides, an aquarium, Flyover America, the Escape game, the Void, mirror maze, and the Crayola Experience.
You can easily spend an entire day at The Mall of America even if you are not a shopaholic.
If you are a nature lover, head to the Minnesota Valley National Refuge and do not miss out on the Water of America.
Bloomington is one destination that will leave you asking for more. Irrespective of the type of traveler personality, there is so much to see and do here. It is an ideal family destination with various activities and attractions.
Whether you are in Bloomington for a couple of days or a long stay, you will have enough things to see and do.
See Related: Best Things to do in Lake City, Minnesota
Do not even think for a minute that Minneapolis, Minnesota is all ice. There are several attractions that can give families non-stop fun for many days.
It is an ideal playground for families who love culture, education, and history.
Right from the Bell Museum of Natural History to the popular Children’s Museum, there are so many attractions that make it an ideal destination for family vacations in Minnesota.
It also has many exciting kiddie spots like the ice rink and the Depot’s indoor waterpark.
You can also walk, run or bike along the Chain of Lakes. Head to the Como Zoo Park and Conservatory, Frederick R. Weisman Art Museum, History Theatre, Mill City Museum, Minnesota Opera, and Minnesota Children’s museum.
When in Minneapolis, you will find several admission-free museums like the Minneapolis Institute of Arts and the Weismann Art Museum.
Minneapolis also has an excellent nightlife scene. There are many live music events organized over the weekends.
This destination also has some of the best cafes and restaurants for you to explore.
Check out this video of all the fun things to do in Minneapolis.
See Related: Best Parks in Minneapolis
Known as the birthplace of Minnesota, Stillwater remains one of the top places in Minnesota for a family vacation. This destination has many exceptional experiences for families and it is an ideal place to visit at any time during the year.
In the warm season, you can enjoy the town for water fun including kayaking, boating and, gondola rides.
If you are traveling with kids, you will love the kid-friendly attractions like BierCycle Adventures, Teddy Bear Park, and the trolley tours.
You can enjoy one of the best family vacations at the cabins in Minnesota. Most importantly, Stillwater is conveniently located and gives easy access to the various family vacations near Minnesota.
One of the must-visit places here is Nelson’s Ice Cream. A family holiday is incomplete without a day out for ice cream and this place is historic in every way. It was established in 1923 and serves large scoops of delicious ice cream.
See Related: Best Road Trip Books for Kids
If you are looking for fun things to do with children in Minnesota, Duluth will not disappoint you. It is a preferred choice for Minnesota family vacations. It has some of the most remarkable and best things to do.
This beautiful destination is a paradise for adventure and nature lovers.
Canal park remains at the top for downtown family fun. It is much more than a traditional park and is home to Lakewalk, which is a promenade with biking and walking trails.
Water sports are accessible in the park including rentals of boats, paddleboards, kayaks, canoes, and Seadoos.
It is beautiful across all seasons and is serene with many natural sights. Duluth is one of the most popular summer family vacations in Minnesota.
It also offers access to Boundary Waters and the North Shore which is a huge protected wilderness with canoe routes and trails.
If you are traveling with kids, they will enjoy Playfront Park. It is the largest playground in the city and has a lot of activities for kids to engage in.
When in Duluth, make it a point to visit the Duluth Children’s Museum in Clyde Park. It is one of the best places to visit with children and it teaches kids through imaginative play.
There are various interactive programs and facilities that parents and kids can enjoy.
Duluth is a classic Midwest road trip for any family to see and explore the great North.
Like what you are hearing with Duluth? Check out these posts and travel guides about Duluth:
- Best Things to do in Duluth
- Best Hotels in Duluth
- Best Breweries in Duluth
- Best Restaurants in Duluth
See Related: Things to do in Victoria, Minnesota
5. Lake County
A perfect choice for those looking for an outdoor and affordable family trip, Lake County. It does not have many city attractions but offers many family-friendly things to do.
It is an ideal destination for nature enthusiasts and is one of the top cheap family vacations in Minnesota.
One of the best places to visit here is Gooseberry Falls State Park. It is an ideal location to relax.
You can get the camping gear and hit Minnesota Highway 61 to reach the park. It surrounds the mouth of the River and includes Lower, Middle, and Upper Gooseberry Falls.
It has many hiking trails for novices and experienced hikers.
Further, there is the beautiful Split Rock Lighthouse on the North Shore of Superior Lake. It was designed in 1910 and is considered one of the most picturesque lighthouses in the United States.
You can take a family hiking trail to the lakeshore.
See Related: Best Places to Visit in Minnesota
6. St. Paul
An ideal destination for those who are looking for many family-friendly places in Minnesota, St. Paul is a blend of educational attractions and urban wonders. One can spend time sightseeing at different attractions.
You will also discover some of the best breakfast places here.
It is a popular destination for Minnesota family vacations. Some of the top attractions include the Minnesota History Center and the Science Museum of Minnesota.
There are many luxurious hotels for families visiting the destination.
You can take a walk on Summit Avenue and see the beautiful colors on the road which is known for classic Victorian architecture. St. Paul looks beautiful throughout the year and it welcomes tourists from across the globe.
The park system in Saint Paul is ranked number 3 in the country and the parks are ideal for hiking, biking, leaf-peeping, and paddling. Saint Paul is one of the most livable cities in the United States and it is a year-round destination.
You will never get bored of this beautiful place whether you are visiting for the weekend or are there for a long holiday.
If you are a brewery fan, check out these top St. Paul breweries. There’s no shortage of great options.
See Related: Best Things to do in St. Paul, Minnesota
Considered a laid-back destination for family vacations, Preston is beautiful.
If you are in for an easygoing holiday with outdoor activities to engage in, head to Preston for the best Minnesota family vacations.
When here, visit the Lanesboro Historical Museum, Root River, and the Historic Forestville. Do not miss out on the Amish community when in Preston. You will get a chance to learn about their life.
One of the best Minnesota family vacations, Preston is a destination for all types of travelers. Head to the picturesque Minnesota trails, the Root River State Trail, the Harmony-Preston Valley State Trail. You can go on a biking adventure here.
There are more than 50 miles of trails for biking, hiking, and jogging which will make it one of the best winter vacations in Minnesota.
Take a walking tour around the beautiful place and see the beauty of the historic buildings.
You can enjoy hiking, camping, and horseback riding at the Mystery Cave State Park. Alternatively, you can simply choose to relax and chill at the destination. The options are endless.
Like what you are hearing? Book one of these top hotels in Lanesboro.
See Related: Best Things to do in Lanesboro, Minnesota
There is so much more to Brainerd than what people think of. The destination will entrap you in several ways and it has become one of the top vacations in Minnesota.
Right from outdoor trips to splashy indoor fun, there is so much to do.
The destination is a mix of culture and natural beauty. It is ideal for the family and allows you to engage in activities including fishing, golfing, zipline adventures, and biking. It offers something for everyone.
This is not it, there are craft breweries, art museums as well as indoor water parks. You can plan family fishing trips in Minnesota here.
A must-visit place in Brainerd is the Safari North Wildlife Park where you can enjoy safe and fun experiences in a learning environment.
It is an opportunity to spot birds, mammals, reptiles, and learn more about primates. Popular animals include bald eagle, striped hyena, grizzly bears, giraffe, white Bengal tigers, kangaroo, and spotted leopard.
If you want to do something offbeat, head to the largest racetrack in Upper Midwest, Brainerd International Raceway. It is a racing complex with various road courses and a drag strip.
You will notice a range of motorsports schedules including car shows, autocross competitions, drifting, road racing, endurance racing, superbike racing, as well as drag racing.
It also has a lake for snowmobile racing suitable for open water. It is a must-visit for motorsports enthusiasts.
Like what you are hearing? Check out these best things to do in Brainerd.
See Related: Best Things to do in Mankato
9. Grand Marais
Located on Lake Superior, Grand Marais is an ideal place for nature lovers. It offers a lot of fun and plenty of picturesque scenery.
There is so much to do and see here. The Grand Portage State Forest, Nature Center, Chik-Wauk Museum, Sivertson Gallery, and the Pincushion Mountain Trail System are located here.
The Superior National Forest Trail is known for its unique forest ecosystem and interesting cultural history.
Then there is the Cascade River State Park Waterfalls where you can enjoy the beauty of waterfalls and rivers as they course through the rocky gorge.
Check out the many things to do at Cascade River State Park from our YouTube channel.
Like what you are hearing? Check out these best things to do in Grand Marais, Minnesota.
See Related: Things to do in Two Harbors, Minnesota
Winona is a destination that is nestled on the Mississippi River and offers many options for a fun-filled day. You will find the Garvin Heights, River Bluffs State Part, and the Basilica of St. Stanislaus Kostka in Winona.
Head to the Marine Art Museum to learn about the relationship between humans and water through visual arts experiences. The art museum has an extensive collection of paints and contemporary exhibits on display.
You can also spend a relaxing day at Lake Park which is a beautiful city park surrounding Lake Winona. It is a five-mile-long trail that runs on the south side of the city and circles both areas of the lake. You will enjoy extraordinary views of the park and its neighborhoods.
You can canoe, kayak, stand on the paddleboard as well as fish on Lake Winona. Winona is undoubtedly a complete family holiday destination that will take you closer to nature and is very peaceful. It is also one of the most popular weekend getaway destinations for families. Check out these top things in Winona, Minnesota.
Plan a family trip to northern Minnesota and make the most of these stunning destinations. Whether you are a nature lover, an adventure enthusiast, or a shopaholic, these 10 destinations will help you plan an ideal family vacation.
Minnesota is a year-round destination and you will always find interesting things to see and do when here.
The picturesque destination of Minnesota offers a complete blend of adventure, nature, water activities, historical sites and has an impressive food and music scene.
Related Minnesota Guides
- Best Things to do in Nisswa
- Best Lakes in Minnesota
- Top Things to do in Lake Minnetonka
- Top Things to do in Wabasha, Minnesota
- Best Things to do in Rochester, Minnesota
- Best Travel Credit Cards
- Travel Hacking 101
- GetYourGuide vs Viator: What is Better?
- 15 Best Winter Travel Clothing for Cold Climates
- Best & Fun Things to do in Wisconsin