Minnesota is the perfect spot for a family vacation. With a range of urban, suburban, and rural areas, there are tons of attractions for every type of family and every type of vacation. Many of the area’s best-kept secrets are located within easy driving distance of one another, so visitors can enjoy the beautiful scenery while hitting every attraction. Minnesota is also a very affordable state, making it a great choice for groups and family trips. Discover what you’ve been missing at just a few of these Minnesota must-see hotspots!
Minneapolis - St. Paul
The Twin Cities offer you something nowhere else can: two cities for the price of one! Minneapolis and St. Paul are less than 30 minutes apart, and you can easily drive, take a bus, or hop on the light rail to travel between them. By staying in nearby Bloomington or Eagan you can avoid downtown traffic and parking costs.
In the Twin Cities, there are a wide variety of options to explore. For shopping, there’s the famous Mall of America, as well as the Twin Cities Premium Outlets, and tons of eclectic shops scattered throughout the metro area. In Uptown you’ll find a mix of unique storefronts and big name brands. Art aficionados can visit the Walker Art Center, the Minneapolis Institute of Art, or one of the other many museums in the area. There are also outdoor activities, from cycling the regional trails, to stand-up paddleboarding on the lakes, to hiking in local parks. You can even go to Maple Grove’s Venetian indoor waterpark.
After a full day of exploration, venture into trendy North Minneapolis for a cocktail and a Juicy Lucy, or one of our other regional delicacies.
Stillwater is a charming town on the St. Croix River, near the Minnesota/Wisconsin border. It’s a haven for foodies and oenophiles, but it’s also a fun family destination. There are plenty of picturesque hiking and biking trails which perfectly suit active families. Or why not explore the river by renting a pontoon or kayaks? Alternatively, enjoy the river more sedately by taking a historic riverboat. Options aren’t just for the summer though - in the winter you can go cross-country skiing or snowshoeing, and enjoy the icy scenery.
No trip to Stillwater is complete without a trip to Barbara Ann’s Fudge Shoppe (check for free samples!) or Candyland, an institution since 1932. Tremblay’s Sweet Shop is another old-fashioned favorite. Kids will love taste testing every flavor of salt water taffy and jelly beans. When you’ve had enough sugar, kick back at one of the local hotels or relax by the pool.
If you head north of Minneapolis and travel toward Lake Superior, you’ll run into Duluth, a stunningly beautiful spot with tons of activities. You can explore the mountains or breweries (why not both?) with a bike rental, or take a cruise on the lake. Spirit Mountain Adventure Park provides seasonal and year-round activities to tire out even the most energetic kids. The Duluth Children’s Museum features interactive, rotating exhibits, and there are lots of parks and playgrounds, as well as historical sites like the North Shore Scenic Railroad. With all this variety, everyone in the family will find something to suit their taste.
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