Time for a family getaway? You don’t have to travel far to plan a fun-filled experience. You’ll find many amazing Minnesota locations that make great day trips from Maple Grove. Let Crème de la Crème of Maple Grove show you some of the top nearby locations to check out.
“Minnesota Colors” used with permission via Unsplash by paulweaver
Breathtaking nature comes together with historic charm in Taylors Falls, a small Minnesota village nestled among the St. Croix River’s hills. Located just about an hour’s drive from Maple Grove, this little town boasts an array of fun activities throughout the year. Drive over to enjoy outdoor activities while surrounded by pristine mountains, any time of the year.
You’ll find Taylors Falls set against dramatic cliff faces and outcrops, better known as the “Dalles” to locals. Rock formations that are millions of years old surround the St. Croix River as it rushes through. The result? A charming setting with everything from rock climbing to easy hikes, ferry rides to ice cream shops.
Though the town’s population comes in under 1,000 people, though summer tourism can boost the numbers closer to 5,000. The summer months draw people to Interstate Park, where you’ll find plenty of lakes, rivers, forests, and mountains to explore during a day out in nature. Enjoy the gorgeous view of serene Lake O’ the Dalles, or try the St. Croix River Dalles hike.
If you visit Taylors Falls in colder weather, you can also find great opportunities for skiing. Tourists flock to the slopes around this town. All in all, Taylors Fall has something for everyone, so make the short trip when you want to get away for a day.
Just over an hour’s drive from Maple Grove sits Owatonna, the perfect place to take a trip back in time that lets you catch a glimpse into how past generations lived in Minnesota’s small towns. The Village of Yesteryear is a top attraction for families. Open between May and September, this attraction allows you to explore 15 buildings such as a general store and city hall.
You can also drive a few minutes to Medford and check out the Reptile and Amphibian Discovery Zoo as part of your day in this area. From tree frogs to snakes to skinks and more, this zoo is sure to have kids into these critters intrigued. Open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., the zoo costs $9.95 for adults, $8.45 for kids between the ages of 3 and 12 as well as seniors, and $4.95 for military and veterans.
Looking for another charming city to explore? You can’t go wrong by taking a day trip to Red Wing. The drive takes just about an hour and a half from Maple Grove, making it another great spot to have on your list. Red Wing is also perfect for families looking for a variety of activities to pack into one day since there’s so much to do! Whether you’re into hiking or you want to check out some local museums, this city has you covered.
Do you know Red Wing Shoes, one of the most iconic shoe companies in the country? The brand hails from this city. You’ll even find a whole museum in the retail store located here. The Red Wing Museum is open the same hours as the store itself, and it’s free to enter. Check out an art gallery with vintage footwear ads and hands-on exhibits, and make sure you don’t miss the world’s largest boot.
Time to relax and take in some beautiful views? Head over to He Mni Can-Barn Bluff. The sacred site features amazing views of the Mississippi River, so you’ll want to make a stop here before heading back home.
Take a stroll and indulge in culture, without traveling far. Minnesota’s New Ulm is named after the German city Ulm, and it draws inspiration from German culture. You’ll only need to drive about an hour and a half for this trip around the world, though!
The quiet city makes the perfect place for a walk through the historic district. You’ll find plenty of people enjoying German beer outdoors, and kids are sure to delight in the sound of Glockenspiel chimes that ring from the Bavarian-style clock towers.
New Ulm is also home to the Minnesota Music Hall of Fame. The museum honors musicians who have impacted the state’s music scene throughout the years, featuring memorabilia and photographs. You can enter for $5 from 10 a.m .to 2 p.m., Thursdays through Saturdays. Keep in mind that seasonal and holiday hours may vary.
You’ll have to drive a bit further if you want to make a day trip to Bemidji, but you’ll reap the rewards if you do. This artsy town is located a little over three hours from Maple Grove. With something for every member of the family, Bemidji makes a great place to visit for the day.
From iconic sites like the statues of Babe the Blue Ox and Paul Bunyan to museums and more, Bemidji will keep you entertained throughout the day. If your family is into art, you won’t want to miss the Bemidji Sculpture Walk. The public outdoor sculpture gallery features new work every year.
Kiddos are also sure to love the Headwaters Science Center. This family-oriented attraction features a live animal collection as well as natural history exhibits, offering an array of hands-on activities sure to delight the whole family. This museum encourages guests to take part in activities like holding a snake or bunny, watching a kinetic sculpture, and overall gaining a better understanding of various scientific concepts.
The museum is open from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Mondays, Fridays, and Saturdays as well as from 1 to 5 p.m. on Sundays. Admission costs $9 for adults 12 years old and older, $8 for seniors and military, and $6 for kids between the ages of 2 and 11.
That wraps up Crème de la Crème of Maple Grove’s guide to day trips in our area. With so many cool places to explore without traveling far, Minnesota makes having fun as a family incredibly easy. Do you have a nearby city you love to visit that we missed? Drop us a line so we can add your favorite day trip destination!