Family Day Trip Ideas Near Duluth


Some of my best memories as a kid were day trips in the mini-van with my parents and four brothers. This was even before portable games and DVD players were really common (Read Sara’s Screen-Free Road Trip ideas!). You don’t have to plan an extravagant trip to spend quality time as a family. Driving an hour or two away from Duluth can easily inspire you and refresh you.


We are so fortunate to have AMAZING activities, attractions and free family events right here in Duluth, and some people wonder why we would ever want to leave Lady Superior – but sometimes breaking up the usual cycles of day to day life here in the Northland is needed. Agree?


I asked the Duluth Mom contributors to share a little bit about what their favorite day trip or MN staycation has been with their family, and here are a few answers! I hope they inspire you to start planning a get-away with your family.



Day Trip Ideas: Beatriz’s family

“One of our favorite day trips is heading to the Twin Cities! I try having everything packed and ready to go the night before so that as soon as kids are up we get dressed and out the door. We stop at our local coffee shop in Cloquet, grab drinks and scones for everyone. That small treat makes the ride enjoyable for all! We make our way down to Como Zoo first and spend a couple hours there. Walking, snacking, sitting, running around. Lots to do for the kids. We have our packed lunch there and finally head out to make our way to Mall of America. Nickelodeon Universe has a couple options for our kids. Their favorite is the Paw Patrol play space, more climbing, running and snacking! We then head home, the ride is typically quiet with sleeping and tired kids.”

three girls enjoying Paw Patrol at Nickelodeon Universe in Mall of America


Day Trip Ideas: Melainy’s family

“We like going to Grand Rapids to the little Judy Garland/Children’s Discovery Museum and then stopping at Zorbaz on the Lake for pizza – in the summer they have sand volleyball and a beach! You can make it a long weekend and stay at Sugar Lake Lodge in the summer if you are needing a staycation.”

All resort guests are welcome to use the canoes, paddleboards, kayaks, and rowboats at no charge, as well as bicycles, tennis courts, outdoor heated pool, and white-sand beach.

“Also, we like to do Toddler Tuesdays at Mall of America, the ticket prices and ride options for kids under 8 are great and parents get to ride with them for free!”



Day Trip Ideas: Andrea’s family

Andrea and her family recently took a day trip to the cities also, but they went to the Minnesota Children’s Museum.  Here is her experience:

“One Saturday we did a day trip to the MN Children’s Museum and it was the perfect day – we didn’t have to pack a lot, didn’t have to pay for a hotel or worry about finding someone to let out the dogs while we were gone.

We left Duluth around 11am (I would suggest not leaving much past 10am so you don’t feel rushed at the museum.) and ate our picnic lunch in the car.  We purchased our tickets online before we arrived, it saved us $3 per ticket. When we arrived in St. Paul we parked in the suggested parking ramp after reading their website, when we brought our parking stub inside the front desk validated it for more savings.

There were SO many fun exhibits! The only one we didn’t visit was the Sprout area because it is for children 3 and under. You can see some of the fun we had on our day trip by watching this Reel on the Duluth Mom Instagram profile!

The museum closed at 4pm, we grabbed some Asian food for supper that we cant get in Duluth, then we hit up the Korean grocery store (my husband is Korean and loves to cook), and we were home by 9pm.”


We would love to know – where is your favorite day trip destination near Duluth or favorite MN Staycation? Let us know in the comments!

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Andrea Jang
A lake girl at heart, Andrea is thrilled to be a Duluthian! She lives in the Hillside with her husband, daughter (plus two angel babies that are with them in spirit), and two rescue pups. As a bi-racial and multicultural family, they have hopes and dreams of visiting her husband’s family in South Korea someday soon. Tiny joys that make her heart happy include: doodling, searching for sea glass, coffee with friends, fiber art, plants, a good vintage thrift find, music and great food & drinks. She also finds purpose in serving on the Diversity, Inclusion, Equity and Justice (DEIJ) committee at her daughter’s school, and also on City Mom Collective’s Inclusivity, Diversity, Equity and Accessibility (IDEA) committee. You will find her building community, connections and friendships in the northland as the owner of Duluth Mom. She invites you to visit her on Instagram or on LinkedIn.