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Family Summer Vacations in
Minnesota's Playground 

Family summer vacations are memorable when you visit Minnesota . Our summer playground includes sandy beaches, water sports, hiking and biking trails and so much more.

Family Summer Vacations

“Minnesota! It smelled like raspberries and sunlight and tender grass. It was summer and everything was more beautiful than any picture she had carried with her....There had never been a place in the world as beautiful as Minnesota.” ~ Ann Patchett, State of Wonder

Minnesota may have a reputation for its cold and snowy winters, but it has plenty to offer in summer as well! 

There are many different places to stay and play, no matter what kind of vacation your family enjoys.

Minnesota 101: Everything You Wanted to Know About Minnesota and Were Going to Ask Anyway

Family Summer Vacations in Northern Minnesota

Minnesota State Parks along the North Shore offer stunning views of the great lake and a wide selection of family-friendly recreation.

If your family is not the "outdoorsy" type, there are plenty of hotels, bed and breakfasts, and lodges to choose from along the North Shore

Consider a family vacation in picturesque Grand Marais ---an artsy little town with character, and plenty of family-friendly lodging and activities.  Take a day trip along the Gunflint Trail.

Travel With Tots - Ideas for vacationing with the smallest family members.

If you'd rather stay further south, Duluth is a larger city with much to offer, only about 3 hours north of the Twin Cities on I-35.  Duluth is a family vacation destination itself!  The most popular place to stay in Duluth is in Canal Park, which is directly on Lake Superior and has many hotels, restaurants, and shops to keep your family entertained. 

Watch ships arrive and depart under the famous Duluth Aerial Lift Bridge.  You and your family can take a boat tour of the harbor, walk out onto the long pier to see the lighthouse, and take a stroll along the beach or the Lake Walk. 

From Duluth, the North Shore is just a short drive away.  Be sure to stop at world-famous Betty's Pies on your way up the Scenic Highway, for a slice of their unforgettable pie!

Minnesota Vacation Rentals can be a wonderful choice for a family vacation, family reunion or group getaway. Many of them are located on lakes in our top vacation destinations.

Family Summer Vacations in Central Minnesota

Central Minnesota is densely populated by lakes, lakes, and more lakes.  It's no wonder Minnesota is called "The Land of 10,000 Lakes"! North Central Minnesota features our most famous state park, Itasca. You will find wonderful resorts and cabins in nearby areas around Bemidji, Cass Lake, Walker, and Park Rapids. 

One of the most popular family vacation destinations in central Minnesota is the town of Brainerd.  There are many cabins, lodges, and resorts to choose from on any one of the picturesque lakes.  Brainerd is also home to Paul Bunyan Land, an amusement park that is sure to be great fun for the kids, which features a 26-foot-tall talking Paul Bunyan and many rides and attractions. 

A lesser-known, but equally beautiful summer vacation spot, is the nearby town of Nisswa.  Nisswa is located near Brainerd for the larger attractions and restaurants, but offers a small-town experience for a relaxing vacation.  Many of the family resorts and lodges are located on or near the Paul Bunyan Trail, a beautiful, paved trail that is especially wonderful for biking, and runs for 100 miles!  

Family Summer Vacations

Family Summer Vacations in Southern Minnesota

There are many beautiful parks and cities in southern Minnesota, but one of our favorite family vacation spots is the small town of Stillwater.  The town is located on the banks of the St. Croix River, and features a lift bridge, which crosses the border into Wisconsin.  Stillwater features many historic bed and breakfast inns and hotels; one of the most beautiful is the Water Street Inn.  The downtown area also has many shops and restaurants to keep visitors of all ages happy!

The area near the river is often used for festivals and events, such as art fairs, craft fairs, and other festivals.  Kids will also love the trolley tours of the city.

Family Summer Vacations

Family Summer Vacations in the Twin Cities

Saint Paul, the state capitol city and energetic Minneapolis have much to for family summer vacations. The top museums, best recreational facilities, and amazing hotels are all located here. Take a riverboat cruise on the Mississippi River, visit museums including the Science Museum and learn the history of the area at Fort Snelling State Park.

Minnesota Maps > available for every region of the state and for specific activities like fishing, hiking, biking and finding the best roadside attractions.




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Minnesota Vacation Rentals by VRBO - Choose a vacation rental in a specific area or get ideas about some of the best Minnesota vacation destinations before you decide. Take a look at some of these fantastic properties and locations for your group of any size.

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Top Things to Do in Minnesota Every area of Minnesota has unique attractions and activities. This is the best interactive list of the fun to be found everywhere in the state.


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If your family prefers the fun and excitement of the city life, a family vacation to the Twin Cities may be the best choice for you.  Minneapolis and St. Paul offer tons of attractions and places to stay! 

The Twin Cities offer many restaurants, but one of the most fun family dining experiences is at Hell's Kitchen.  While it doesn't sound like a family-friendly place, they offer a fun, "big city" atmosphere with a kid-friendly menu as well. 

Minneapolis offers Target Field where you can watch the Minnesota Twinsplay baseball.  Minneapolis also features many theaters where your family can enjoy the Arts.  The new Guthrie Theater is a gorgeous building along the river, and offers fun family entertainment, depending on the ages of your children.  St. Paul  offers fun entertainment with the Science Museum and the Children's Museum.  These can be fun for the whole family!

Nearby Bloomington offers one of the best family vacation destinations as well:  the Mall of America!  The Mall of America offers shopping, shopping, and more shopping, as well as hundreds of restaurants.  It also contains the Sea Life Aquarium, the American Girl store, and Nickelodeon Universe, a huge indoor amusement park. 

With all of these options in one building, everyone in your family is sure to find something to do!  You can stay at the Water Park of America, which offers water slides for the kids, and luxurious accommodations for Mom and Dad.  Take a quick trip over to the IKEA store, for a unique shopping experience everyone will enjoy.

No matter where you decide to take your family summer vacations in Minnesota, you are sure to find something for everyone 

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