Oh Duluth, such a special place for so many Minnesotans. People that know Duluth seem to have their favorite places, I know that my family certainly does. The city and surrounding areas have so much to offer that I try to make sure we check out something new every time we go, but still hit up all of our favorite spots.

Each season has different activities and sights to see. For ideas for a winter trip, see The North Shore: A Winter Adventure with the Kids. Here are some of our favorites spots for the rest of the seasons!

Pit Stops on the Way Up to Duluth

(because the journey is just as important as the destination!)

  • Culkin Rest Area – Located at mile marker 226 just south of Matoha, this is a great stop for one of your many potty stops when travelling with kids. This rest stop has a really nice, new playground to help burn off some of that sitting in the car too long energy!
  • Tobies Restaurant – Tobies, home of those world famous caramel rolls, is a must stop for many travellers passing through Hinkley.
  • If you don’t stop in Hinkley, the city of Sandstone is just a bit further north and has a couple spots that may be of interest if you need to stretch your legs: Minnesota Goose Garden, Audubon Center of the North Woods, and Robinson Park are all located in Sandstone.
  • Moose Lake State Park – This is a great stop to make on your way to Duluth if you are planning on searching for agates! The Moose Lake Agate and Geological Interpretive Center is located at the park and is a great place to learn about agates and other geological features of the area.
  • Jay Cooke State Park –  Jay Cooke State Park is a little bit of a detour, but a detour worth taking. The recently re-built swing bridge is a must see and the hiking at Jay Cooke is very fun!
  • Gordy’s Hi-Hat – If you want to stop for lunch before you get into Duluth Gordy’s Hi-Hat in Cloquet is a personal favorite of mine! Gordy’s opened up in 1960 and has been an institution ever since.  Stop in for a burger and a shake or an ice cream cone, Gordy’s also has a playground outside for the kiddos!
  • Thompson Hill Rest Area – The start (or end depending on which direction you are going!) of the gorgeous Duluth Skyline Parkway. This rest stop has one of the best views of any rest stop I have ever seen! In addition to views, the vending machines and bathroom facilities the rest stop also has an impressive amount of brochures to pick up.

Where to Stay in Duluth

Hopefully you have gotten this figured out before rolling into town! During peak tourist season, especially when there are big events going on, rooms can be hard to find.  If you waited to long to book a room or if you are looking to save some money you can check hotels in surrounding cities such as Cloquet or Superior, there are also a number of campgrounds in the area.

Click here for our collection of places to stay in and around Duluth.

Things to do in Duluth

Click here to see the full list of family friendly adventures in Duluth.

  • Enger Tower – high up on the hill above Duluth is Enger Tower. Enger Tower was built in 1939. On a clear day the view from Enger Tower can’t be beat!
  • Playfront Park – a play ground is a newer, unique play structure right on the shores of Lake Superior.
  • Great Lakes Aquarium –  Explore your connection with Lake Superior and the waters of the world.
  • The Duluth Depot – Amazingly unique spot where kids can play right on the old train cars.
  • Glensheen Mansion – Tour through an old mansion on the shores of Lake Superior with a scandalous past.
  • Kitchi Gammi Park – An absolute must! A rocky beach where you can dip your toes in the water and find an agate treasure.
  • Leif Erickson Park and Rose Garden – Stroll through the flower gardens on the shores of Lake Superior
  • Park Point (Minnesota Point) – Cross over the famous Aerial Lift Bridge to get to the largest fresh water sand bar.

Continuing North Past Duluth

There are a lot more amazing towns and adventures to be found as you continue along the North Shore!