Introducing guest blogger Jen from Travel with a Plan
“You’ll Be Glad You Came!”, Duluth, MN With Kids
How do I possibly begin to tell the world of family globetrotters about a vacation destination that you may be completely unfamiliar with? In this gigantic earth filled with millions of amazing places to experience, why should one consider a visit to Duluth, MN, with kids?
Dubbed one of the “Best Outdoor Cities in America” and “The Craft Beer Capital of Minnesota,” visiting Duluth, MN is one of our family’s absolute favorite weekend getaways.
Let’s take a look at the awe-inspiring opportunities that await you and your family in the beautiful port city of Duluth.
This post is part of our Explore My City series – come and visit cities around the world through the eyes of local parents
Where is Duluth
Duluth is located in the northern part of the U.S. State of Minnesota, a state aptly nicknamed the “Land of 10,000 Lakes”. The city of Duluth holds prime real estate on the rugged shoreline of Lake Superior.
As one of the 4 Great Lakes of North America, Lake Superior is the largest freshwater lake in the world, known for its excellent Fly Fishing opportunities. Families, couples, and outdoor enthusiasts flock to this part of the country for its nautical atmosphere, unmatched beauty, and laid-back locals.
Duluth is a popular road trip destination and weekend getaway for those living in the Midwestern U.S. Other visitors choose to fly into Duluth International Airport, or into the larger Minneapolis, St. Paul International Airport, which is located 2 hours south of Duluth.
When to Visit
In Duluth, tourism peaks in the summer when temperatures are the warmest and school is not in session.
An alternative to the busy summer months is the months of September and October, when beautiful fall foliage adorns the towering hillsides. Frigid temperatures and heavy snowfall can be expected during the months of November through April.
Where to Stay in Duluth
Located in the harbor of Lake Superior, Canal Park is the cornerstone of any family getaway to the city of Duluth. Canal Park is the conversion of an old warehouse district into a variety of restaurants, shops, art galleries, indoor and outdoor cafes, and lakeside hotels.
With every popular sight and attraction within walking distance throughout Canal Park, this is the most recommended area to stay at in Duluth.
Your final selection will be based on availability, as these lakeside hotels book up quickly during summer. Our favorites include:
- Canal Park Lodge
- Hampton Inn Duluth
- Canal Park,Comfort Suites Canal Park
- The Suites Hotel at Waterfront Plaza
Best Family Activities in Duluth
We always start off our morning touring Duluth with a trip to Enger Tower, located within Enger Park. Enger Tower stands at an elevation of 531′ above Lake Superior, providing panoramic views of the gigantic lake and of Duluth’s west end.
After strolling around the beautifully landscaped gardens of the park, be sure to climb the many staircases of historic Enger Tower. Each level provides fantastic photo ops from every vantage point.
Duluth Depot Afterwards, head down the hill to visit the Duluth Depot. Duluth Depot is a historic train station built in 1892 that served seven different railway lines.
Now on the list of U.S. National Register of Historic Places, the Depot is home to the Lake Superior Railroad Museum and Lake Shore Scenic Railroad.
Lake Shore Scenic Railroad offers narrated train rides along the scenic North Shore of Lake Superior. Be sure to check out the weekly schedule to see if your visit aligns with the ever-popular Music & Pizza Train ride or Thomas the Train event.
After touring the Duluth Depot, head across the Interstate to spend the rest of the day in Canal Park. While strolling through the paved sidewalks of Canal Park, the highlight is watching giant cargo ships from around the world entering the harbor.
These unique vessels carrying grain, sand, and coal frequent this narrow passageway as they transport goods throughout the U.S. waterways.
Kids never get tired of watching the port’s famous Aerial Lift Bridge raise up and down to let passing ships through as its iconic whistle notifies passersbys. Be sure not to miss an incoming or departing ship by reviewing the daily ship schedule!
Some of Canal Park’s other must-do attractions include a 4.2-mile long lake walk, a lighthouse pier, the Lake Superior Maritime Visitor Center, multiple splash fountains, and the William A. Irvin floating ship museum.
Spend another large part of the day touring Canal Park by way of its scenic Lakewalk. One of the most popular trails in the state includes both a paved bike trail and a boarded walking path. The Lakewalk is both stroller and pet-friendly too! Read its suggested mile-by-mile guide here while being sure to stop for plenty of rock skipping along the way!
Tired of walking? Located along the Canal Park Lakewalk is WheelFun Rentals. Whether it’s a 3-6 person surrey, deuce coup, quad sport, kids bike, or cruiser, everyone in the family can find the right vehicle for a 1-hour jaunt along the lakefront.
Cruise and stop at your leisure while experiencing Duluth’s Canal Park in this fun and unique way!
Fitger’s Brewhouse Brewery and Grille
Located 1 mile down the paved Lakewalk, be sure to stop and enjoy dinner and a drink at Fitger’s Brewhouse Brewery and Grille. Fitger’s is one of Duluth’s most esteemed breweries and has award-winning lagers and ales handmade from locally harvested ingredients and Lake Superior waters.
The pub food is designed to complement the beer and is made from fresh, local ingredients as well. My favorites are their hand-crafted wheat ales and the Brewhouse Fish Tacos!
Great Lake Aquarium
A popular Duluth attraction, The Great Lakes Aquarium is unique in that it features freshwater animals and habitats. There are more than 200 different species of amphibians, birds, fish, mammals, and reptiles.
Explore the specific living in the Great Lakes through a variety of interactive exhibits. If you ever make a trip to the U.S. state of Minnesota, be sure to add in a 2-day visit to Duluth, the place that we call home. You’ll be glad you came!
About the blogger
Jen is an American travel writer. A planner by nature, Jen has spent the last 12 years planning fun and hassle-free family vacations for her family of 5. She considers travel to be an essential part of their family’s health and well-being.
Her blog Travel With A Plan is a compilation of the planning and execution that has gone into making family vacations efficient, enjoyable, and memorable. She is dedicated and passionate about sharing travel ideas, products, and experiences that are practical and that work for families.
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With thanks to Jen for her contribution to our guest series.
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