Because the winters are long and the warm days of summer are gone before you know it, we have everything you need to make this an
1. Take advantage of all of the free entertainment.
- Family Fun Twin Cities has a huge list of free summer concerts in the Twin Cities and surrounding areas.
- Minneapolis Movies in the Park
- St. Paul Movies in the Park
- Bloomington Arts in the Park
- Plymouth Entertainment in the Parks
- Edina Concerts and Movies
- Maple Grove Sounds of Summer
2. Join a summer reading program
The lazy days of summer are always more enjoyable with a book. Creating a weekly trip to the local library is a great way to prevent the summer slide. Of course having an incentive program to keep kids reading all summer long is definitely an added bonus.
- Hip to Save has a comprehensive list of free summer reading programs where kids are rewarded for being bookworms.
- Stop by the Hennepin County Library pick up a
Read WriteDraw or Best Book Ever form June 9 through August 24. Kids can earn a free book to keep when the hand in the form.
- St Paul Public Library’s Summer Spark Program encourages kids to stay active and continue learning throughout the summer. Kids and teens can earn book, prizes, journals by participating and completing various activities and challenges.
- Scott County Libraries offer a paper option and an online option for their summer reading program. Summer Spotlight Online is
tayloredto different ages and kids can earn prizes by reading and participating in activities.
- For more information about summer reading programs head to the MELSA website.
3. Stay Cool in a Pool (Splash Pad, Beach, or Waterpark)
Nothing says summer more than playing in the water, and we are lucky enough to have many free and low-cost beaches, splash pads and wading pools in Minnesota!
- Best Spots in Minnesota to Dip Your Toes in the Water
- Splash Pads & Wading Pools
- Swimming Pools & Waterparks
When the temperatures start to rise this summer in Minnesota, the backyard is can be the best place to beat the heat. Keep the kids cool and entertained for hours with one of these awesome water toys.
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This water table will keep the little ones entertained for hours this summer!
This sprinkler/wading pool combines two of the most classic summer toys for a ton of fun!
It’s big, it’s expensive, but it is so much fun! I couldn’t get my kids out of this thing they had a chance to play in one at a friend’s house.
4. Enjoy the Great Outdoors
Minnesota has beautiful places for biking, hiking
- Family Friendly Bike Trails
- Family Friendly Hiking (Make sure you take a look at our page on How to Make Hiking a blast with Kids)
- Nature Centers
- Tent Camping & Camper Cabins
Check out our list of gift ideas for young adventurers. We have links to toys that keep kids active and encourage exploration. Perfect for your next Minnesota summer adventure.
5. Take a Road Trip
There are so many places to discover in Minnesota. Pack your bags and hit the road, because we have everything from day trips near the Twin Cities to weekend getaway itineraries for family fun.
- Osceola – 40 miles northeast of the Twin Cities
- Stillwater/Taylor Falls – 30 Miles east of the Twin Cities
- Owatonna – Roughly one hour south of the Twin Cities and full of fun. Check out the Nature Center, Zoo, candy store and more!
- New Ulm – just under 100 miles south-west of the Twin Cities.
- More City Adventures
Before you hit the road, take a look at our list of Screen-free Ways to Keep the Kids Happy on a Road Trip.
6. Float Your Way Through Summer in Minnesota
Summer in Minnesota would not be complete without taking advantage of our 10,000 lakes. So grab your paddle board, canoe, or kayak or sit back and relax on one of the many Minnesota boat tours.
- Amicus Adventure Sailing – enjoy a day sailing adventure or take a family overnight excursion on Lake Superior.
- Learn how to sail at White Bear Sailing School.
Boat Tours & Charters
- Take a historical paddle boat tour on Pelican Lake. The Breezy Belle is an authentic paddle boat. Pack a lunch to eat onboard as you enjoy your 2-hour boat ride.
- Looking for an exciting adventure to experience with your teenagers? Charter a fishing boat on Lake Superior with Optimum Charters.
- The Voyageur Tour Boat on Rainy Lake explores the 1890’s Rainy Lake gold rush, searches for active eagle nests and wildlife, and views a commercial fishing camp from the boat.
- Tour the St Croix River aboard the Stillwater Riverboat. All public cruise prices include a delightful lunch or dinner.
- Taylor Falls Scenic Boat Tour’s Daily Excursion takes you on a tour of unique rock formations that were left behind as the glaciers, the world’s largest glacial kettles or “potholes”, Lion’s Head, Turk’s Head and The Old Man of the Dalles. They also offer dinner cruises and family cruises.
- Explore the beauty of Lake Harriet. Wheel of Fun Rentals offers paddle boats, kayaks, canoes, and paddle boards for rent.
- Minnesota Mermaid offers paddleboard lessons, rentals, and will deliver boards to your location in the Lakeville area.
- Bent River Outfitter rentals and an assortment of different river tours and events in Mankato.
- CG Hooks on White Bear Lake has everything you need for summer fun! Pontoon boats, fishing boats, water sport rentals. Most noteworthy is the delicious barbecue available at the nearby Tally’s Dockside.
- For a simple afternoon activity to entertain the kids, head over to Centennial Lake in Edina where you can rent paddle boats after a round on the putting course.
After all of that summer fun, don’t forget to treat yourself to some ice cream!