Duluth is an excellent place for a family getaway. There is a lot to do right in the city and a lot of nature to explore in the surrounding areas. In this post I will go over the ten awesome activities to do with kids right in Duluth, in a separate post (coming soon) I will go over, Exploring Minnesota’s North Shore with Kids.
Canal Park & Lakewalk
Location: Canal Park Dr, Duluth, MN 55802
Canal Park is a must see on any Duluth Trip. There are great local shops, restaurants, many hotel choices, and of course the amazing view of Lake Superior. There is a nicely paved path for walking or biking right along the lake. There are also so many places just to find a spot to sit to look at the beautiful rocks, to watch the boats & ships, or to people watch. Canal Park is an ideal area to stay for families when staying in Duluth, as it is very centrally located to many of the area attractions.
Duluth Children’s Museum
Location: 115 S 29th Ave W, Duluth, MN 55806
The mission of the Duluth Children’s Museum is to engage children in hands on learning through creative play and interactive exhibits. They have both permanent and seasonal exhibits and it looks like so much fun. It was unfortunately closed on my families recent visit but it is at the top of our list for next time!
Ariel Lift Bridge
Location: 601 S Lake Ave, Duluth, MN 55802
Built in 1905, the Aerial Lift Bridge connects the city to Park Point, which I’ll touch on later 😉 The Aerial Lift Bridge is the oldest of all the structural landmarks in the city. At the Lift Bridge you can watch the bridge lift and lower as ships enter and exit the Duluth Harbor. It is really an amazing thing to see! My husband and I enjoy this activity just as much as our kids. You can see the schedule online (click here for schedule) of what ships are coming and going. This way you can make sure to see a really big, impressive one! =)
Park Point Beach & Recreation Area
Location: 45th Street & Minnesota Avenue, Duluth, MN 55802
Located just across the Lift Bridge from Duluth you will find Park Point Recreation Area. Park Point Recreation Area is part of a seven mile long sand dune between Lake Superior and Duluth Harbor. On Park Point you will find a public beach, a beach house with concessions, a short paved trail, picnic pavilions, playgrounds, recreational fields, baseball fields, and sand volleyball courts. My favorite memories on Park Point include finding a private spot and enjoying listening to the waves, digging my toes in to the sand, and maybe wading a bit into the cold water. There is a lot of space, and a lot of sand on Park Point! It is an excellent place to relax while the kids dig in the sand!
Location: 329 S Lake Ave, Duluth, MN 55802
Adventure Zone is located in Canal Park and it is the perfect spot for some active family fun. Within Adventure Zone you will find Vertical Endeavors, Duluth where your whole family can go rock climbing indoors. The Adventure Zone also has laser tag, mini golf, an arcade, batting cages, bouncy houses and more! You could spend more than one day of play here!
North Shore Scenic Railroad and The Lake Superior Railroad Museum
Location: 506 West Michigan Street, Duluth, MN 55812
The North Shore Scenic Railroad is a railroad that operates between Duluth, Minnesota and Two Harbors, Minnesota. The railroad is owned by the Lake Superior Railroad Museum and offers several types of passenger excursion trains between May and December each year. Take a ride on this railroad to learn so much about the history of Duluth! Today, the North Shore Scenic Railroad carries over 100,000 passengers annually and they offer a variety of options for excursions. The pizza and music trains sound super fun to me! Click here to learn about all the fun options! Before or after your ride will definitely want to check out the Lake Superior Railroad Museum. Which is located in the beautiful Historic Union Depot that was built in 1892. Here you will explore the impressive collection of historic railroad equipment that built Minnesota and beyond. There is so much to learn and see!
Great Lakes Aquarium
Location: 353 Harbor Dr, Duluth, MN 55802
Great Lakes Aquarium opened in 2000 and has been growing ever since. The Aquariums main features are animals and habitats found within the Great Lakes Basin. It also has animals from other freshwater ecosystems such as the Amazon River. It was a fun surprise that they also have a number of also global galleries that feature saltwater animals and habitat. The Aquarium has some great interactive opportunities. It is home to North America’s largest sturgeon touch pool as well as several other touch pools. Another, perk was the amazing view of the Lift Bridge from the aquarium!
Location: 3300 London Rd, Duluth, MN 55804
The Glensheen Mansion, which is the Historic Congdon Estate is a 20,000 square foot mansion in Duluth, Minnesota. It is operated by the University of Minnesota Duluth as a historic house museum. This beautiful 12-acre estate features gardens, bridges, and the gorgeous 39-room mansion on the shores of Lake Superior. It is the most visited historic home in Minnesota. Many people are drawn to the mansion because of the murders that took place there. They do not mention the murders during the public tours, keeping the focus on the family, the history, and in order to keep the tours family friendly. You can ask questions at the end of your tour though, if you have them. Depending on the age of your children this could be a really fun visit!
William A. Irvin Museum
Location: 350 Harbor Dr, Duluth, MN 55802
The William A. Irvine carried iron ore and coal for 40 years through treacherous storms on the Great Lakes. Today the William A. Irvin remains in pristine condition and has been transformed into a museum where you can learn the incredible history of the ship, as well as much more about the Great Lakes and the US Steel Great Lakes Fleet. The William A. Irvine is unique because while it was a working ship, it also has a grace about it. Many company guests enjoyed the private luxury cabins and dining areas on the ship. This is a really fun way to be brought back into history and to imagine life as it was then.
Lake Superior Zoo
Location: 7210 Fremont St, Duluth, MN 55807
Open year round the Lake Superior Zoo prides itself on providing up close animal experiences that inspire connections with wildlife and action towards conservation in our region and around the world. I have not had a chance to visit this zoo yet, but I have only heard good things. It’s definitely on our list!
Where to Stay:
The Stuga at Balsam Ridge Retreat – Without a doubt this is where my family would stay again if we plan another Duluth trip. The Stuga is a tiny house in the woods located right in Duluth. They also have some other amazing unique options here. Click here to read my full blog post about our stay.
Edgewater Hotel & Waterpark – This is Duluth’s best waterpark hotel. If you have kids that are into waterslides and all the fun water activities definitely consider staying at the Edgewater. It is also conveniently located right off the Lakewalk so you can easily walk or bike down to Canal Park.
The Suites Hotel at Waterfront Plaza – The Suites Hotel at Waterfront Plaza is a historic hotel located right in Canal Park. This hotel has a great location and a great pool. We stayed here recently and were very happy with everything. There are a lot of great hotels to choose from in Canal Park. We choose this hotel because of the suites. We were easily able to book a room where we had a full kitchen and our kids had a separate bedroom from us.
As you can see Duluth is FULL of fun things to do as a family. I honestly can’t wait to get back up there. In my next post I will highlight the North Shore with kids. If you visit Duluth I highly recommend you save at least one day for a trip up the shore. I hope this post has helped you plan your family a trip to Duluth!
Much Love & Happy Travels,