Winter this year will be different because of Covid. There, I said it.
Duluth has so many great indoor things to do with the kids during inclement weather, but we’re in the middle of a pandemic and some of us aren’t comfortable using these venues because our comfort levels are different. Luckily, we live in winter wonderland with tons of outdoor experiences at our fingertips.
Real quick before we move on to fun outdoor activities in Duluth, I want to address comfort levels. We are all at different levels in terms of comfort in the activities and places we go to during a pandemic. That’s okay and I urge everyone to embrace that, not judge each other on what we deem is safe for ourselves and our families. For my family specifically, our comfort level means we will not be going to these amazing indoor locations in town, but instead, will still have a lot to do outdoors.
My Family’s Favorite Covid-Friendly Outdoor Locations
Chester Bowl will be open this winter and words can not tell you how excited I am to get my three-year-old out on skis this year. We prepped him last winter, taking him to the ski hill to watch all the kids bolting down the hill. It took everything in my power to hold him back from running right to the lift. Their chalet will not be open to the public except for the bathrooms, and they were able to get a shelter to provide an outdoor concession stand. They are changing up some of their group activities to adhere to Covid safety regulations.
Speaking of skiing, Snowflake Nordic Ski Center is another favorite. I will say that cross country skiing is not the easiest thing to do with a baby/toddler on your back, but it is possible! They rent out skis and offer a program called KidSki on Sundays to help build your kids cross country skills. We also have the two larger ski hills in town, Spirit Mountain and Mont Du Lac Resort.
Both the larger resorts offer tubing, but check the websites for updated times. Spirit will let ages 3-5 tube with an adult and 6+ tube alone. Mont Du Lac asks that tubers under 5 be with an adult. Always call before you drive out there with your kiddos to make sure the hills are open for the day. We also found a couple of small hills in town (including our own backyard!) for free, safe tubing with the family.
Hartley Nature Center usually offers a large variety of winter rental activities and we are hoping they will open them up this winter, but they are still undecided due to Covid. Just in case they open to the public this winter, I will go over a couple of our favorite things in addition to hanging out on their hiking trails.
They rent out cross country skis, kicksleds, and snow shoes. Kicksleds are pretty amazing. They are small sleds with a seat mounted to runners that you can stand on and push with your feet to go fast. Last year our 2-year-old sat in the seat and loved every second, not to mention my husband and I both got in a great workout! My husband was also able to go with our youngest, 8 months, on his back and our 2-year-old in the seat last year. They make smaller kicksleds for kids, however our 2-year-old was a little too small it. But he did try out standing on the runners while we pushed. We used Hartley’s rentals last year so much it just made sense for us to pay for the annual membership.
My Pandemic Pod
We have made our own little pandemic pod with our neighbors; it was this way from the beginning. We plan to keep that going through the winter both outside and inside. We will play at each other’s homes, which is amazing because it means different toys and a friend to play with besides mom and dad. We have perfected this through the summer and are always in communication with each other if someone is sick and or what’s going on in regards of exposure. Finding a pandemic pod you trust is going to be key on the days which are not safe for our kiddos to go outside.
While winter is going to be a little different for our family this year, we are excited to be able to still get outside with the kids and explore these activities that Duluth has to offer and more. What was your families favorite outdoor activity last year?