Want to get out of the city for a weekend with the kids, but don’t have time to plan it? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered!
NORTH SHORE TRIP (3 days, 2 nights – winter)
Day 1: Jump onto I-35N and head up the north shore to Duluth. If you get hungry on the road then make a pit stop at Tobies for a caramel roll. Once in Duluth, your first spot will be the Hartley Nature Center. Here you’ll rent snowshoes and hit the trails in this natural playground. Next move on to the Duluth Depot train museum (rated the best railroad museum in the country). After all this fun you’ll have worked up an appetite. Take a stroll through Fitger’s. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Fitger’s now holds a variety of restaurants and unique shops. Get back in the car and drive another 30min north to Two Harbors for the night. We have a variety of fun lodging options in Two Harbors, but after this fun filled day you may want to just crash in someplace quick and easy.
Day 3: Wake up early and stretch your legs hiking around Tettegouche State Park. For the grand finale, make your way back to Tofte and take a magical sled dog ride at Stoney Creek Sled Dogs. Pit stop in the always beautiful Split Rock Lighthouse before making your way back home.
Estimated Road Time: 8hr 11min (494 miles)
TOMAH WISCONSIN TRIP (1 night, 2 days)
Day 1: From the Twin Cities the fastest route to Tomah is via I94, but for a more scenic route take Hwy 61 south to I90. Make a pit stop into the Old Country Wisconsin Cheese. (Call in advance to check for factory tours). Buckle up with your curds, and drive through the rolling hills of the Amish Country. The Tomah visitor guide book, available wherever you find tourism brochures, offers a good route to follow. Spend some time at Down A Country Road which encompasses 6 unique Amish gift shops. The village shops are colorful and there are cats roaming the property. Let your kids stretch their legs at Winnebago Wonderland Playground, a huge wooden playground located in a beautiful park on the banks of Lake Tomah. Spend the night at Cranberry Country Lodge. They have a Kids Deluxe Suite with bunk beds, plus an indoor waterpark.
Day 2: Take a stroll around the Cranberry Discovery Center and learn all about the Wisconsin state fruit. On the way home, stop in River Falls to run around the Tri-Angels Playground. This unique playground was built in honor of three young girls from River Falls.
Estimated Road Time: 7hr 26min (397 miles)
SOUTHERN MN TRIP (1 night, 2 days) Wabasha, Winona, and Red Wing MN
Day 1: Follow the Missippi down to Wabasha and stop at the National Eagle Center for some up close views of our national bird. From there, go a short distance south and be ready to be wowed by one of the best toy stores in the country, Lark Toys. Grab a bite to eat in the cafe, and definitely don’t miss their amazing fudge for dessert. If it’s warm out you can also get in a round of outdoor MiniGolf. Continue down to Winona and spend the rest of the day and night out on a farm at Briggs Farm & Farm Stay.
Day 2: Start your day off right with Bloedow Bakery donuts, then stroll through the perennial gardens and fountain at Windom Park . Then get ready to walk off that donut at Garvin Heights Park where you can pack some snacks and a lunch and have a picnic with an amazing view. Let the kids take a snooze in the car as you make your way back to the cities. If the kids need to stretch their legs on the way home, detour into Red Wing for Colvill Park and Discovery Garden, or stop into the Redwing Shoe Company Museum (free) to see the world’s largest boot.
Estimated Road Time: 4hr 36min (238 miles)
Day 2: Participate in the Turtle Races in Nisswa, and then explore the downtown area. Go swimming at Whipple Lake Beach
Day 3: Spend some time at the Northland Arboretum, and then have dinner at Zorba’s on Gull Lake
Day 4: Stop in Little Falls on way home to see the animals at the Pine Grove Zoo.
Estimated Road Time: 4hrs 56min (293 miles)
DULUTH TRIP (2 nights, 3 days)
Day 1: Take the North Shore Scenic Route and stop at Jay Cooke State Park to stretch your legs a bit. Then keep making your way all the way to Duluth. Once there, check out the trains at the Duluth Depot, followed by the Leif Erickson Rose Garden. Leisurely drive the Skyline Drive & Seven Bridges Road, and then end the day’s adventure by jumping on a 4-person bike and exploring Canal Park.
Day 3: On your way home, detour in Cloquet for lunch at Gordy’s Hi Hat restaurant and play on the train.
Estimated Road Time: 7hrs 09min (457 miles)
SOUTH DAKOTA TRIP (4 nights, 5 days)
Day 1: Drive through Blue Earth MN to see the Jolly Green Statue. Pit stop through Sioux Falls for the charming downtown, Falls Park, and in Fawick Park. From Sioux Falls, head to Mitchell to call it a night. Don’t forget to stop in and see the Corn Palace while there. Keep moving on to Wall, SD and stop at the world famous attraction – Wall Drug. From Wall you are only 55 miles to Rapid City, the entry point to the Black Hills. Spend the night at the Frontier Cabins (8.5 hours; 567 mi)
Day 2: Explore Badlands National Park. Make your way to Rapid City and pick your choice from the plethora of fun attraction such as: Dinosaur Park, The Outdoor Campus – West, The Presidential Walk downtown, Museum of Geology, Storybook Island, Chapel in the Hills..
Day 3-4: Enjoy the Black Hills. Again, there are so many options to choose from such as: Custer State Park, Needles Highway, Mount Rushmore, Deadwood, SD, Spearfish Canyon Scenic Byway and Roughlock Falls, Iron Mountain Road
Day 5: Truck it all the way back home
Estimated Road Time: 18hrs 36min (1,252 miles)
WISCONSIN TRIP (3 nights, 4 days)
Day 1: Drive to Hayward. Stay at Hayward KOA – camper cabins available if you don’t want to tent camp
Day 2: Explore downtown Hayward Mainstreet, take an evening drive through lake country (go North from Hayward)
Day 3: Head to Storybook Llama Bed and Breakfast. Go on a llama trek, meet all the farm animals, stay in a gorgeous house with the friendliest owners.
Day 4: Head home. Stop in Chippewa Falls at Irvine Park and Zoo
Estimated Road Time: 7hrs 45min (420 miles)
Not seeing the city you want to visit? Ask us how we can personalize a weekend vacation getaway for you.
sKIDaddlers was started by 2 local Minnesota moms with a love for traveling and a knack for research. Learn more about us and what you can find on our site here.