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50 Things to Do in Minnesota in the Summer

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Ultimate List of Fun + Unique Things to Do in Minnesota

Planning your MN summer vacation itinerary? Kids already saying, “I’m bored!” two days into summer break?

Scroll down this list of 50 things to do in Minnesota in the summer to come up with some awesome summer activities!

Whether you live here year-round or you’re just visiting, there’s sure to be something that will catch your eye.


pinterest graphic 50 things to do in minnesota in the summer


1. Visit a waterfall in Minnesota this summer

There are quite a few neat waterfalls you can visit in Minnesota in the summer:

  • St. Anthony Falls
  • Minnehaha Falls
  • Hidden Falls
  • Gooseberry Falls
  • Vermillion Falls

Check out these fifteen amazing waterfalls in Minnesota.


2. Tour a brewery or winery

In 1985, there were less than five breweries in MN. Did you know that today there are over 100?

3. Take a road trip on Scenic Highway 61

Scenic Highway 61 starts in Duluth, MN and runs along the North Shore of Lake Superior. Enjoy the scenery and stop along the way for the shopping, dining, hiking, agate hunting, sweet confections, and more. Check out pit stop ideas for your scenic road trip.


4. Go to the MN State Fair

If you’re looking for fun things to do in Minnesota in the summer, take a trip to the State Fair. Enjoy good food, shopping, animals, and entertainment starting at the end of August. Visit the official website for more details.


5. Visit a zoo in Minnesota in the summer

Minnesota has a handful of zoos you can visit in the summer:

  • Minnesota Zoo
  • Lake Superior Zoo
  • Como Park Zoo

Check out this MN Zoo Directory for a longer list.


Related: Fun Things to Do in Austin, MN With Kids


6. Go to a science museum in Minnesota in the summer

There is so much to explore at the Minnesota Science Museum in St. Paul, MN: dinosaurs and fossils, the human body, science experiments… Learn more by visiting their official site.


7. Learn about MN’s history

Learn about local history in one of Minnesota’s many historical centers. Follow this link for a list of places to visit.


8. Cool off in an art museum this summer

Art lovers are sure to enjoy looking at the artwork in any of Minnesota’s art centers. Here is a list of art museums in MN.


9. Visit the Children’s Museum

The Minnesota Children’s Museum (locations in St. Paul and Rochester) has three floors of fun for kids (and their parents!). They also provide some awesome summer experiences to empower kids to develop creative and critical thinking skills.

Want to learn more about what it has to offer? Read this review of the Children’s Museum in St. Paul by The Caffeinated Introvert.


photo taken at jay c. hormel nature center in austin mn


10. Go to a Minnesota state park

In the MN state park system, there are 67 state parks, nine state recreation areas, nine state waysides, and 23 state trails. Here is a list of state parks to visit in Minnesota in the summer.


Stuck at home this summer? Here is a list of outdoor family activities to enjoy at home.


11. Visit a national park in Minnesota in the summer

In addition to 67 state parks, there are six beautiful national parks you can enjoy this summer in Minnesota:

  • Grand Portage
  • Mississippi
  • North Country
  • Pipestone
  • St. Croix
  • Voyageurs

Follow this  link to learn more about these national parks.


12. Catch a baseball game at Target Field

Visit the historic warehouse district of downtown Minneapolis, where Target Field is located, and watch a Twins baseball game this summer. Learn more.


13. Tour the Minnesota State Capitol in the summer

Take a guided tour of MN’s State Capitol. Visit the official website for hours, admission, and more.


14. Ride the MN bike trails

Looking for healthy, outdoorsy things to do in Minnesota? MN certainly has lots of trails for biking or hiking! Here are the top ten, according to Rails-to-Trails Conservancy.


15. Enjoy an evening at the dinner theater

Food and entertainment? A dinner theater is an awesome way to spend a summer evening in Minnesota. Here are a few to try.


Related: Things to Do in Two Harbors, MN


16. Kayak down a river this summer

First time kayaking? Here are five excellent places for beginners to kayak in MN.


17. Spend the day at an amusement park

Valley Fair is probably one of the most popular amusement parks in MN, but it’s not the only one. Check out these amusement parks and water parks for a day of family fun!


photo of the carousel | storybook land aberdeen sd


18. Go boating in MN in the summer

There are 10,000 lakes in Minnesota. Take your pick!


19. Go fishing this summer in Minnesota

See above.


20. Visit a MN music festival

You’re sure to find a music festival to suit your taste this summer! Here is your guide to music fests around Minnesota.


21. Go to an art festival

Art festivals, craft shows, flea markets… Follow this link to find a long list of such events coming up this summer.


22. Cool off with ice cream this summer

Whether it comes from the grocery store or an ice cream parlor, ice cream is a refreshing summer treat.


23. Sleep in a tent this summer

…or a cozy camper. Don’t get me wrong, I loved tenting it in Minnesota in the summer as a kid, but I want all the creature comforts now. Since there are SO many resorts in MN, especially where I live, here is a list of places to get you started. Tent, camper, cabin…you choose.


Love bonfires, but hate the smoke? Read my review of the Solo Stove bonfire fire pit to learn more.


24. Go on a walking tour

Self-guided walking tours are great because you can take them at your own pace.


25. Spend a day at the Mall of America

The Mall of America isn’t just a place to escape the humidity and do some shopping (although you can certainly do that too!). In addition, there’s a ton of food and entertainment:

  • Nickelodeon Universe
  • The Lego Store
  • The Escape Game
  • Sea Life Minnesota Aquarium
  • Crayola Experience

Learn more by visiting their official website.


26. Shop at a MN farmer’s market

Fresh, locally-grown produce…yum. Look up your local farmer’s markets here.


27. Pick your own berries in Minnesota in the summer

I have memories of strawberry picking as a kid — and, of course, eating fresh strawberries on our way home. Visit a you-pick farm in MN where you too can pick your own berries.


28. Go for a hot air balloon ride this summer

It’s not often that you see a colorful hot air balloon floating in the sky. In fact, I didn’t even realize (until now) that there are places in MN where you can take a hot air balloon ride.


29. Go on a biercycle adventure

What’s a biercycle, you ask? It’s basically a bicycle that seats 13 (plus a driver and server)–and you can take 12 of your favorite people with you on your very own biercycle adventure in Stillwater, MN.


30. Try geocaching in MN this summer

Geocaching is essentially “the world’s largest treasure hunt”. You can sign up here.


31. Go horseback riding

There are more than 1,000 miles of riding trails in Minnesota!


32. Take a zip line tour

Adventurous at heart? Then zip lining is the perfect outdoor adventure for you! Check out the Brainerd Zip Line Tour website for more info.


33. Go on a segway tour

Riding on a segway with St. Croix Valley Segway is a unique way to tour Stillwater.


34. Try your hand at disc golf

Disc golf is much like traditional golf, only it is played with flying discs, or frisbees. You can find a disc golf course via the Professional Disc Golf Association’s website.


35. Ride on a trolley

Take a tour of the cities on the Twin Cities Trolley.


36. Go on a dinner cruise

Check out Stillwater River Boats for a fun way to spend an evening on the water in Stillwater, MN.


37. Visit the Arboretum

Visit Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, the Top Botanical Garden by USA Today Readers Choice (#1 in 2019 and 2017) this summer, where you can stroll miles of trails and enjoy its beautiful display gardens award-winning tree collections.


38. Go bowling with the family this summer

Bowling is fun for all ages, and the lanes can even be modified for families with young children. Here is a list of MN bowling alleys.


39. Challenge your family in an escape room

You’re locked in an escape room with 60 minutes to find your way out. You’ll need to work together with your group to find clues and solve puzzles in order to escape. Can you do it?!


40. Watch for eagles in MN this summer

At the National Eagle Center, located on the Mississippi River in Wabasha, Minnesota, you can see live bald and golden eagles in the wild, and you can even meet them up close.


41. Visit a MN lighthouse

You might have heard of some of these lighthouses already, but have you visited them?


  • Split Rock Lighthouse
  • Two Harbors Light
  • Two Harbors Breakwater Light
  • Duluth North Pier Light
  • Duluth South Breakwater Inner Light
  • Duluth South Breakwater Outer Light
  • Grand Marais Light
  • Minnesota Point Light


photo of a lighthouse on trip to two harbors mn


Related: Best Places to Visit on the North Shore, MN


42. Go hiking in Minnesota in the summer

Whether you’re only up for a short jaunt or a longer hike, Minnesota has plenty of hiking trails to choose from.


43. Take a guided bike tour

Take a Duluth Experience Tour covering 28 miles from Canal Park Brewing to Two Harbors with Castle Danger Brewery.


44. Look for agates on the North Shore

Agate hunting is surprisingly addicting. Not sure where to start? has compiled a list of agate and rock hunting beaches along Minnesota’s North Shore.


45. Learn a new skill this summer

Need ideas? Take a class in:

  • art
  • cooking
  • motorcycles
  • event planning
  • play writing
  • clowning….

46. See a drive-in movie on a summer’s night

There aren’t many drive-in theaters left, but there are still a few that you can visit in Minnesota in the summer.


47. Cool off at a splash pad on a hot summer’s day

If you’re in southern MN, you’re in luck — there are lots of splash pad options.


48. Visit a nature center in Minnesota in the summer

I’m sure there are all kinds of nature centers around Minnesota, but Tamarack Nature Center in White Bear Township, MN sounds awesome.


49. Try your hand at a MN golf course

Check out these Minnesota golf courses to see if there’s one near you.


50. Take the family mini golfing

Mini golfing is golf for the whole family! Is this one of your family’s favorite things to do in Minnesota (or wherever you are!)? We haven’t taken our girls yet, but I’m sure they’ll have a blast when they are a little older.


Now that you have fifty unique ideas for things to do in Minnesota in the summer, what’s your next adventure going to be?


Recommended Reading:

How Soon Can I Travel With a Newborn?

Printable Baby Road Trip Checklist: 10 Items to Remember

5 Tips for Surviving a Hotel Stay With Kids


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  1. ? Number 12 I thought for a quick moment that you were referring to the Target shopping center! I have yet to visit Minnesota yet, so I greatly appreciate this list!

  2. I LOVE articles that are laden with LISTS and it makes it so easy to follow and navigate! This makes me long to come visit Minnesota!! This would be my tour guide for sure! Thanks for the awesome article!

  3. Such a huge list of so many things to do in summer. My guess is I would need a few summers to have all that fun!

  4. How fun! I have never been to Minnesota, but if I ever visit I now know what to reference! Great information!

  5. I’m going to be heading to Minnesota later this summer. Thanks for the awesome to-do list for when I’m there. Great post!

  6. Wow. There are so many cool things to do in Minnesota! Thank you for sharing these ideas. Will definitely consider going there soon

  7. I pinned this because I want to go to Minnesota one day. I had coworkers that are from there and they talked about it all the time! These are great suggestions on what to do there!

  8. Thanks for the amazing list! I love the idea of a drive in movie. I did not know that those still existed. That would be so fun to do!

  9. I love Minnesota. I think that it is filled with very friendly people and so much to do! On my next trip I will have to take advantage of some of these suggestions. Especially the waterfalls.

  10. I love MN in the summers! There is really no reason to leave MN in the summers. This is why we live here. And to give us reasons to leave during the long winters. I love your list! Pinning it as well 😉

  11. What a great list. I’ve never been to Minnesota, but I’ll be sure to save this should we go. Love that you have adult and kid activities.

  12. Great list I’ve never been but would love to see it! Craig lived in Egan MN for a while, says it’s beautiful but darn cold! They sailed their family sailboat down the Mississippi.

    1. That’s really cool! It can definitely get cold, although right now, you would never know it. It’s getting soooo warm and humid!

  13. I learned that there are many water-featured activities in Minnesota that don’t involve ice fishing! Loved the 50 ideas!

  14. Pinned this to my Travel Adventures!! I’ve never been to Minnesota, but my childhood bestie lived there for a few years and loved it. Thanks for sharing such a great list!

  15. Great list! We really can have fun in our own backyards. I’m inspired to make a list of things to do in my city…and in my state.

  16. Wow, what a list! At first I thought you had spelled bicycling wrong when you wrote “biercycle”, but no, it’s an awesome thing that I need to go do in Minnesota! So fun!

  17. You had me at waterfalls, but I love the idea of lighthouses and breweries, too! Great compilation!! Here’s hoping we get to Minnesota some day!

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