City Spring Breaks From Minneapolis and St. Paul

Field Museum in Chicago
Joe Ravi

Need ideas for a spring break trip from Minneapolis and St. Paul? Here are some suggestions for spring break getaways from Minneapolis and St. Paul. Whether we have a late winter, or an early spring, whether your family like water parks or museums if they prefer city museums or hiking, there's something close by for everyone.

City Breaks From Minneapolis and St. Paul

Chicago is a seven-hour drive or a one hour flight from Minneapolis and has everything you'd want in a city break - family friendly and world-class hotels, shopping, restaurants, museums and galleries, sightseeing, events and more. For children, the magnificent Field Museum, famous for dinosaurs, and the wonderful Museum of Science and Industry will easily take a day each. (Tip: if you are member of the Science Museum of Minnesota, you will get free admission to both the Field Museum and the MSI).

Duluth grew up around a major port on Lake Superior, and the city's industrial charm doesn't appeal to everyone. It's not a beautiful place by any means, but the notable lift bridge and the comings and goings of giant container ships are surprisingly interesting. Kids are easy to entertain with an aquarium, large railroad museum, Duluth zoo and children's museum in town. The views from the top of the hill over the lake are great, and there's plenty of opportunity for outdoor recreation in the summer and winter with nearby parks and forests for hiking, skiing, rock climbing, mountain biking for older kids. Lake Superior is cold, but if your kids are determined, you can find coves and beaches to get your feet wet.

Wisconsin Family Weekend Trips From Minneapolis and St. Paul

Outlet malls and water parks - The Wisconsin Dells about four hours away, offers both of those things in quantity, plus the Circus World attraction, candy outlet stores and plenty of family-friendly hotels and restaurants all in or near by the city of Baraboo. Devil's Lake State Park is also near town, and the bizarre Forevertron, a collection of gigantic sculptures made from salvaged scrap metal is also close by.

Early Spring Trips From Minneapolis and St. Paul

Itasca State Park is where the headwaters of the Mississippi River are. Just a few hours north, the mighty Mississippi begins as a stream you can tiptoe across with a few steps. Find a nearby cabin or motel, or stay in the nearby historic town of Detroit Lakes.

Ely, in northern Minnesota, is on the border of the beautiful Boundary Waters Canoe Wilderness. Reserve one of the many remote cabins set in the gorgeous scenery on the shore of a lake, and feel like you have truly got away from it all. While it might not be canoeing season yet, you can still take the family out to hike through the woods without seeing another soul, but be within easy reach of the city of Ely with several restaurants and stores. Ely is also home to two conservation organizations, the International Wolf Center and the North American Bear Center, both open to visitors, and both of whom have regular children's activities and programs.

The North Shore and Highway 61. Highway 61 starts in Duluth, but the true North Shore experience starts about an hour north of Duluth when the road starts getting more and more scenic. Visit historic Split Rock Lighthouse, and gorgeous Gooseberry Falls, the tallest of several waterfalls in the area. Admire Palisade Head, some of the tallest cliffs on the lake, and shop for Lake Superior Agates and local crafts at stores along Highway 61. The North Shore is one of the best areas in Minnesota for fall colors. Several small towns have lodging from camping, cabins, motels to fine hotels, and plenty of restaurants with casual, kid-friendly dining.

Late Winter Spring Break Trips From Minneapolis and St. Paul

Lutsen Mountains, about four hours north of Minneapolis, has the biggest ski and snowboard area in Minnesota. And near by Lutsen, there's cross country skiing, snow shoeing, snowmobiling, dog sledding, and all kinds of winter recreation. Hotel specials will give you lift tickets for Lutsen Mountains for a great value getaway.

Bayfield, WI is on the shore of Lake Superior and is a great getaway in the summer and winter. In the winter, if it has been cold enough, and the lake has frozen deeply enough, walk out to see incredibly dramatic ice caves which form on the cliffs of the lake. Bayfield also offers opportunities for snowshoeing, cross country skiing and dogsledding too. Look out for a hotel or cabin with a hot tub to warm up after a day out in the snow and ice.

Exploring Southern Minnesota

Cities in the St. Croix River Valley make a great short getaway, without too much driving. The St. Croix River valley forms the border of Minnesota and Wisconsin. The cities of Red Wing, Wabasha, and Winona in the south all the cities have old-fashioned downtowns, charming hotels and motels, plenty of pretty scenery, and locally-owned, family friendly restaurants for a peaceful getaway without too much driving to get there.

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