Caron Park

5 Family-Friendly Day Trips from Minneapolis

Just because you have kids, your family-friendly day trips from Minneapolis not limited to travels to playgrounds, parks, and children’s museums.

While I’m a huge fan of them, you can still do what you always loved to do. Studies show that kids learn better through active play and in nature.

That’s why I spend a lot of time outdoors, exploring new spaces. Today, I’m sharing some of my kid’s favorite adventures they’ve been on. Here are the top 5 Family-Friendly Day Trips from Minneapolis you need to take this summer.

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Tips for Family Friendly Trips

If you or your kids are new to day-tripping or even being in the car for extended periods, I recommend staying closer to home.

We have a rule in our family, if the ride to the destination is under an hour, they don’t get a tablet. Instead, they learn to enjoy sights on the road, talk, play games and listen to the radio.

For those longer adventures, we let them use a Kindle Fire for games and videos. If you are unfamiliar with the Kindle tablets, they are like an iPad.

The biggest difference is the added parental controls and the option to expand the storage space with a Micro SD Card. I load the SD card with the kids’ favorite movies and everyone has fun.

5 Family-Friendly Day Trips from Minneapolis

Northfield Minnesota (45 mins away)

Love Mural in Northfield

Northfield is a smaller town just south of the Twin Cities. They were most known for the James Younger Gangs failed bank robbery. Today, the small town has so much charm, it’s hard to leave. The kids will love exploring the Cowling Arboretum, getting some ice cream from The Blast Northfield, hiking to Caron Parks waterfall, and spending Wednesday Night at the Red Barn Farm for fresh Pizza. See the full post here.

Taylors Falls Minnesota (1hr away)

St. Croix Scenic Boat Tours

Taylors Falls was my first official day trip and got me started. I keep heading back for more fun activities. It’s also one of the kid’s favorites. There they can go to Wild Mountain Waterpark. You can take a St Croix Scenic Boat Cruise, looking for fun things in the rocks. Or rent a canoe and take your own adventure down the St. Croix River.

On the Wisconsin side, you can visit the hidden Osceola Waterfall or take a Scenic Train Ride. There is also the Fawn Doe Rosa Wildlife Park and the Franconia Sculpture Garden. See the full post here.

St Cloud Minnesota (1 hr 20 mins away)

quarry park in st cloud

St Cloud is a fun destination for the kids. Quarry Park is a great beach location. Hike or bike the trails to the different features. Bring your bike and go along the Wabago Trail. It’s flat and perfect for kids.

Near Hemmermark go through Minnesota’s Longest covered bridge and get a bite to eat at GODO. Get the kids a treat at Skaka Shack Hawaiian Ice outside of the Cross Roads Center. They have a fun store made out of a shipping container. There is also the Summerland Park for Go-Card action and mini-golf. See the full post here.

St Croix State Park (1 hr 30 mins away)

St Croix State Park

As far as State Parks go, the favorite for the family is St. Croix State Park. If you can’t snag a campsite at this park, take a Day Trip. This day trip from Minneapolis is an hour and a half. Once there, climb to the top of the fire tower and get a bird’s eye view.

Rent a canoe at the lodge and float down the Ct Croix River. Along the way, you’ll find sandbars you can stop at and explore. Bring your fishing reel and drop your line in anywhere. There is also an inland lake with a beach hidden inside the park. See the full post here.

Lanesboro Minnesota (2hrs away)


The Lanesboro area is another of our favorites. I’ve been going here since I was a kid because of the fun adventures. Bring the bikes because the Root River Bike Trail is perfect for the family.

The trail stops into a few cute towns, including Whalen for Aroma Pie Shoppe. If you aren’t into biking, you can also tube down the Root River. There are campgrounds, like Eagle Cliff Campground that sit right on the river. You can also visit Niagara Cave. It’s a bat-free cave, with a 65 ft waterfall inside and a wedding chapel. See the full post.

What are you waiting for?

Minnesota is filled with so many fun adventures. All the cities I’ve been to have something fun for kids to do as well, you just have to open your eyes. Go with a kid’s mindset or take pleasure in the little things there. Remember that you aren’t limited to kids-only activities. They can have just as much fun on a hike as you do watch them at a playground.

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