10 Places For A Family-Friendly Minnesota Staycation

There’s so much to do and see in Minnesota with your kids! You don’t have to travel far or break the bank to create a Minnesota staycation that will rejuvenate your family.

With summer approaching, it’s time to plan your family-friendly Minnesota staycation. It’s easy to get baffled by all the activities, events, and information. Don’t stress! Twin Cities Kids ClubOpens in a new tab. is here to help.

Twin Cities Kids Club is your online source for ideas and discounts for Minnesota family-friendly staycation fun. JoinOpens in a new tab. the Twin Cities Kids Club today to help you plan family events year-round. It’s FREE!

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Where To Go When You Aren’t Leaving: Let’s Take a Minnesota Staycation!

Kids sticking their head out of a car's windows whiel taking a family-friendly Minnesota staycation

Are you dreaming of a vacation? If jetting off to a tropical island is on your mind but not in your future, explore some local ideas. 

Weekend getaways are a casual, low-stress way to enjoy time with your family. Take a look at our round-up of kid-friendly trips.

Did someone say ROAD TRIP!?

1. Bemidji

Paul Bunyon statue and Babe the blue Ox in Bemidji MN

photo courtesy of Visit BemidjiOpens in a new tab.

Minnesotans love their local folklore. Many of us recall the first time we gazed, slack-jawed, upon giants. Paul BunyanOpens in a new tab. and Babe the Blue Ox are legends of the Midwest. Their adventures create awe and wonderment in children and adults alike.

Bemidji has parks, trails, lakes, beaches, dining options, water parks, swimming pools, and seasonal activities to keep your family entertained.

2. Brainerd

Small sailboats on the water in Brainerd MN

Photo courtesy of Visit BrainerdOpens in a new tab.

Brained offers a plethora of activities, including biking and walking trails, a safari zoo, iconic raceway, lakes, the Cuyana Mine Pits, water parks, swimming pools, museums, and much more. 

Brainerd is a hot spot for family-inclusive adventures. It is connected to the Whitefish Chain of Lakes, a renowned area for boating, fishing, and other water sports.

Brainerd is also home to Minnesota’s second-largest inland lake, Mille Lacs Lake, 207 miles around, with 80 miles of shoreline.

3. Duluth

Duluth is a super popular destination for epic family staycations and road trips. Canal Park offers big ships, a lift bridge, shopping, and dining options. All with stunning views of Lake Superior. 

Duluth is readily known for activities including:

Your kids will love a day of climbing on giant smooth rocks and peering into the crystalline waters. There are sandy beaches, too, for a picnic, agate hunting, and wading.

If this is your first visit, it’s worth mentioning that Lake Superior isn’t, for most, a swimming lake. The water is simply too cold! But? There are a few brave souls out there and other ways to enjoy this majestic lake.

4. Ely

Did you hear that? What was it? A wolf? Hawk? Eagle? Black bears? Look over there! There’s a moose!

There’s so much nature around Ely that you’re in for a sighting of one kind or another. If your kiddos love the zoo, they’ll go crazy for animals in the great outdoors. 

Ely is known for its wilderness, cabins, resorts, trail system, golf courses, winter dog sledding adventures, and other fantastic attractions.  Check out a few of these fun ideas:

5. New London / Spicer

The New London/Spicer area is packed with fun and affordable Minnesota family staycation options. In the summer, this delightful community located on the shores of Green Lake features weekend flea and farmer’s markets. Their sparkling clean lakes are an excellent place to boat, fish, swim, or enjoy other water sports.

Popular family-friendly lodgings include cabins, hotels, Airbnb/VRBO, and campgrounds.

6. New York Mills

The Caboose room at Whistle Stop BNB in New York Mills is the perfect place for a Minnesota staycation.

Photo courtesy of Whistle Stop Bed & BreakfastOpens in a new tab.

This tiny destination packs a punch! It’s home to The Great American Think-OffOpens in a new tab., which has gained national and international notoriety. 

There are bike and hiking trails, camping, and nearby lakes and beaches. Enjoy loads of small-town charm, including a B&B inside a train car!

7. Nisswa

Nisswa Family Fun Water Park

Photo courtesy of Nisswa Family Fun Water ParkOpens in a new tab.

Nisswa ups the activities ante with zip lining, water parks & swimming pools, shopping, ice cream, biking and hiking trails, state and regional parks, boat cruises and rentals, water sports, and more.

A handful of Minnesota resortsOpens in a new tab. are here for a reason. It’s a beautiful area, surrounded by lakes, with tons to do.

8. Park Rapids

A tug boat on the Mississippi River in park Rapids MN

Photo courtesy of www.parkrapids.comOpens in a new tab.

Minnesota is known around the world for one incredible landmark. No, it’s not Paisley Park. It’s the Mississippi River! 

Your kids will be floored when they discover that it originates HERE in Minnesota and that they can see it! Cooooool.

The mighty Mississippi starts at Itasca State ParkOpens in a new tab., then winds 2,552 miles to the Gulf of Mexico. Check out their webcamOpens in a new tab..

9. Preston

If biking is your family’s passion, Preston is a perfect destination for you. Load up the bikes and take a weekend trip.

The Root River State Trail and the Harmony-Preston Valley State Trails run through the heart of Preston. Both are paved, scenic state biking and hiking trails.

Minnesota is a bicycling leader and has won many awards along the way from American TrailsOpens in a new tab.. Mystery Cave State Park is a must-see as well.

10. Two Harbors

Two Harbors lighthouse in MN

Twenty-seven miles north of Duluth, on scenic Scenic Highway 61Opens in a new tab., you’ll arrive in Two Harbors.

There’s a lot to do in and around Two Harbors, including:

  • Splitrock Lighthouse State Park 
  • Two Harbors Lighthouse
  • Gooseberry Falls
  • Palisades Head (AMAZING VIEW!)
  • Headquarters of the Superior Hiking TrailOpens in a new tab.

Here, you’ll escape the happy bustle of Duluth and experience a more profound quiet that Minnesota has to offer.

Stay In-The-Know

A family of four (a girl and boy) posing for a family photo while elaning on their car during a road trip.

Twin Cities Kids ClubOpens in a new tab. is the perfect online resource for families. Join for FREE and receive discounts to local, family-friendly businesses. They’ve got you covered with up-to-date information, including the Best Summer Camps of 2021Opens in a new tab.

Check out our directoryOpens in a new tab. of businesses that offer discounts with a Twin Cities Kids Club membership card, and plan your next family outing!

Twin Cities Kids Club

Founded in 2015, Twin Cities Kids Club is your online source for money saving discounts that families on a budget can use at exclusive local children’s events. If you live in the Minneapolis-St. Paul and surrounding area and you are looking for the best deals on family fun, Twin Cities Kids Club is the place for you. We have all of the family entertainment deals, news and events you can handle and we are passionate about connecting Twin Cities families with local businesses for fun and entertainment. Join Twin Cities Kids Club now and stay on top of Twin Cities family fun today.

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