Family Vacations to Duluth, Minnesota

DeWitt-Seitz Marketplace, Duluth, Minnesota
DeWitt-Seitz Marketplace, Duluth (courtesy, Visit Duluth/Seaquest Photography)

Family Highlights: Duluth, Minnesota

  • Learn more about native Great Lakes wildlife and get an up-close look at local species at the The Great Lakes Aquarium.
  • Climb aboard a steam-powered locomotive, peek inside a caboose and see an amazing amount of railway history at the Lake Superior Railroad Museum.
  • Take a stroll or horse-drawn carriage ride through Canal Park, where you can watch freighters go by on Lake Superior and see the Aerial Lift Bridge go up and down.

If "cold and isolated" comes to mind when you think of Duluth, Minnesota, the area deserves another look. As the fourth-largest city in Minnesota and an important Great Lakes port, this bustling metropolis offers arts and culture, family destinations, natural attractions, and shopping and eating areas that range in character from funky to charming.

Celebrate the area's aquatic and maritime history at The Great Lakes Aquarium, the United States' only all-freshwater aquarium, and the Great Lakes Floating Maritime Museum, which consists of a retired Coast Guard Cutter (a ship that breaks up ice so that other craft can pass through the water) and a freighter that once hauled iron ore throughout the Great Lakes and into the ocean. Duluth also boasts popular family attractions including Duluth Children's Museum and the Lake Superior Railroad Museum, along with arts and cultural institutions like the Duluth Art Institute and the Duluth Superior Symphony Orchestra.

No Minnesotan getaway would be complete without taking in some natural northern beauty. Duluth doesn't disappoint—just a few miles out of the city, you'll find rugged trails and pristine waterways, perfect for hiking and snowshoeing, canoeing and kayaking. For an in-town experience with Duluth's major natural attraction, Lake Superior, visit downtown's Canal Park—a perfect vantage point to watch ships pass. The park boasts charming shops and a variety of restaurants; you can stroll or bike along the boardwalk or pier (look into renting a four-wheeled pedal buggy to take up and down the paved lakefront trail, a sure way to get your family working, and laughing, together). As for the weather? It definitely has its chilly days, but Duluth isn't as harsh as many cities this far north because Lake Superior has an insulating effect on the harbor.

Published: 3 Feb 2009 | Last Updated: 30 Mar 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


Sign up to Away's Travel Insider

Preview newsletter »