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40 Fun-Filled Family Things To Do Near Duluth MN

40 Fun-Filled Family Things To Do Near Duluth MN

Are you in the area of Duluth and wondering what you might spend time on? We have ten fun-filled things that you can do as a family. In this article, we will walk you through some main landmarks and sites and suggest all the fun activities you can do. 

Gooseberry Falls State Park

The park is popular for its waterfalls, the Gooseberry River, and hiking trails. It features a visitor center, campground, and interpretive programs. 

Things to do here:

  1. Explore the Waterfalls: Take a stroll through the park and explore the scenic waterfalls, including the Upper, Middle, and Lower Falls.
  2. Go Hiking: Hit the trails, from easy strolls to challenging hikes.
  3. Enjoy the Scenery: Take in the beauty of Lake Superior and the surrounding woodland.
  4. Visit the Visitor Center: Learn about the park’s history at the visitor center.
  5. Go Fishing: Cast your line into the Lake or one of the park’s many streams.
  6. Take a Boat Ride: Boat rides are available from May to October.
  7. Go Beachcombing: Search for driftwood and other treasures along the rocky shore.
  8. Go Camping: Spend a night or two in the park’s campground.
  9. Have a Picnic: Pack lunch and enjoy a picnic in one of the park’s scenic spots.
  10. Go Bird Watching: Keep an eye out for the park’s wide variety of birds.

Glensheen Mansion

The mansion is a National Historic Landmark and is open for tours year-round. Built in 1905 by Chester Congdon, a prominent lawyer and businessman, the mansion sits on 12.5 acres of lakeshore property and features 38 rooms, including 9 bedrooms and 7 bathrooms. 

It has been restored to its original condition and features many of the original furnishings from the Congdon family. The property’s grounds are open for you to visit and feature gardens, a pond, and a boathouse.

Things to do here:

  1. Tour the Mansion – Take a guided tour of Glensheen Mansion to learn about the history of this beautiful estate and its former inhabitants.
  2. Explore the Gardens – Wander the 12 acres of gardens and grounds, including a rock garden, rose garden, and formal gardens.
  3. Visit the Carriage House and Boathouse – Take a look at the historic Carriage House and Boathouse for a glimpse of what life was like for the Congdons.
  4. Enjoy the Beach – Enjoy Lake Superior’s sandy beach and stunning views.
  5. Take a Boat Tour – Take a tour of the estate on a boat around the harbor.
  6. Attend a Special Event – Attend one of the many special events held throughout the year, such as the Summer Solstice Celebration or the Congdon Christmas.
  7. Visit the Gift Shop – Stop by the gift shop to pick up a souvenir of your visit.

To learn more about the history of the Glensheen Mansion, this interesting documentary may help:

Glensheen & the Congdon Legacy – Full Documentary

Aerial Lift Bridge

The Aerial Lift Bridge is a landmark; it is an aerial transfer bridge that spans the Duluth–Superior harbor and is one of the few such bridges that have remained in the world. The bridge is a popular tourist attraction and is often seen as a city symbol. 

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers operates the bridge, which can be raised up to 135 feet to allow ships to pass through.

Things To Do Here:

  1. Watch the bridge lift while boats pass underneath. Two observation decks near the bridge provide great views of the harbor and the bridge in action.
  2. Catch a glimpse of the lighthouse located just off the coast of Duluth.
  3. Please take a tour of the bridge and learn about its history. 

Great Lakes Aquarium

The Great Lakes Aquarium is the only aquarium in Minnesota dedicated exclusively to fresh water. The facility focuses on the aquatic life of the Great Lakes region, with exhibits featuring sea otters, sturgeon, lake sturgeon, lake trout, walleye, and other fish native to the Great Lakes. 

In addition to its displays, the aquarium offers educational programs, interactive activities, and a variety of special events throughout the year. You can also explore the aquarium’s outdoor nature trail and touch tank when you are there.

Things to do here:

  1. Explore the underwater tunnel.
  2. Meet the marine animals.
  3. Look at exhibits

Lake Superior

Lake Superior is home to various activities, including commercial shipping, recreational boating, fishing, and sightseeing. Lucky for you, Lake Superior is close to some popular attractions in the area, including the Aerial Lift Bridge, Canal Park, and the Glensheen Mansion.

Things to do here:

  1. Kayaking
  2. Fishing
  3. Hiking

Canal Park

Canal Park is a waterfront neighborhood located in Duluth, Minnesota. It is situated between the Duluth Ship Canal and Lake Superior and is home to the city’s Canal Park, a popular tourist destination. 

The neighborhood is home to various attractions and activities, including a boardwalk, the Aerial Lift Bridge, the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center, and the Lake Superior Maritime Museum. 

There are also many restaurants, shops, and other businesses in the area, and some of the most spectacular views of Lake Superior.

Things to do here:

  1. Take a cruise on the Vista Star.
  2. Watch an ice hockey game.
  3. Visit Fitger’s complex. 

Duluth Children’s Museum

The Duluth Children’s Museum is a fun and educational place for kids to explore and learn. With interactive exhibits and activities that explore the science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics (STEAM) fields, children can get hands-on experience with the world around them. 

If you visit, your children can explore the life of a firefighter, experience a simulated tornado and climb a rock wall. The museum also offers a variety of educational programs and events throughout the year.

Things to do here:

  1. Take an educational tour
  2. Take a look at the exhibits
  3. Experience a tornado
  4. Climb a rock wall

Lake Superior Zoo

The Lake Superior Zoo is home to over 600 animals worldwide, including bears, wolves, snow leopards, and more. The place offers educational programs, a seasonal rides area, and a summer camp for children.

Things to do here:

  1. Learn about animals
  2. Learn about animal care at the Keeper’s Corner.

Spirit Mountain

Spirit Mountain has a ski and snowboard resort. Sadly you can only visit this in the winter when it offers activities such as skiing and snowboarding, tubing, snowshoeing, and more. The resort is not shut down during the summer, but the extent of activities offered is less. 

Rock climbing, mountain biking, and disc golfing are available during these times. There is a lodge and restaurant at the base of the mountain and a full-service rental shop that you can use.

Things to do here:

  1. Skiing
  2. Snowboarding
  3. Rock climbing
  4. Mountain biking
  5. Disc golfing

Final Thoughts

We hope your trip to Duluth is pleasant and gives your family an experience that makes you want to come again. Make sure to create an itinerary based on the information in this article so you can manage your time and expenses wisely.