Minnesota has a bad reputation for being cold. The reality is that the Land of 10,000 Lakes is a vibrant wilderness filled with activities for the whole family. The state is home to countless camping sites, brilliant fishing destinations, and adequate skiing.
When searching for your next family vacation, check out Minnesota for its natural beauty, captivating people, and the best family resorts and hotels. You might even discover world-class golf courses or incredible indoor water parks to keep the whole family occupied for hours.
- Family Things To Do in Minnesota
- Best Time of Year to Travel to Minnesota
- Final Thoughts on Best Minnesota Family Resorts & Hotels
Family Things To Do in Minnesota
Minnesota is famous for its lakes. Nearly every resort sits on a lakefront, but not every resort focuses on the body of water it’s near. Besides, not every traveler is looking for a wilderness experience. Minnesota is home to the Mall of America, pro sports teams, and museums for the whole family.
The midwest state is also home to countless shopping opportunities. With so much to do, you’ll want to stay at one of these best Minnesota family resorts and hotels to make the most of your next vacation! Classically trained chefs use local ingredients and flavours to craft new menus families are sure to enjoy for years to come.
Appeldoorn’s Sunset Bay Resort
Nestled on the shore of Millie Lacs Lake, the Appeldoorn’s Sunset Bay Resort overlooks Sunset Bay and Doe Island. Its location looking west is perfect for watching the sun drop below the lake’s horizon. Plus, anglers celebrate the wide range of fish swimming in the state’s second-largest lake.
Appeldoorn isn’t only about fishing, and children of all ages enjoy the watersport rentals, volleyball, and horseshoes. Families can also stay inside and play at the arcade, including billiards and price machines. Parents may also use the onsite fitness room to blow off some steam before handling the kids!
The Appeldoorn’s Sunset Bay Resort restaurant opens for dinner during the week and is open longer on the weekends. It features American-styled food, and breakfast is the real hit, with brunch popular on Sunday. There is a general store at the resort and fully loaded kitchens in the cabins. Don’t skip out on the grills to cook up the day’s catch.
The Appeldoorn’s Sunset Bay Resort hotel is the cheapest, with rooms starting at $139 a night. Cabins are pretty affordable, too, with studio cabins starting at $149. The whole family can stay at a larger house, but they can run $499 or more depending on the day.
Breezy Point Resort
At the end of Route 11 on the west shore of Pelican Lake sits the Breezy Point Resort. The Breezy Point Resort is a golfer’s paradise with three championship-level courses. Guests can take advantage of Breezy Point’s amenities which have wowed guests for more than 100 years, and it’s all a short drive from the capital.
The Breezy Point Resort has everything families need for a fun vacation. Guest favorite activities include e-bike rentals, watersports, fishing, relaxing on the beach, hitting the pool, and snowmobiling in the winter. Older kids will appreciate the spa or an advanced golf lesson to bring their little one’s game up to par.
Start your morning off right at The Coffee House, where the Caribou coffee is as hot as the fireplace. Enjoy lunch at the Dockside Lounge and finish the night at Antlers, Marina II, or Palmer’s grill. Each restaurant offers a unique menu served to diners in a rustic dining room.
The cheapest rooms at Breezy Point Resort are $159 per night. Families looking for more space can rent a private house or cabin. Depending on the size and nights reserved, these typically cost between $359 and $899 a night. Each place has a gas fireplace and modern amenities to entertain the whole family.
Great Wolf Lodge Minneapolis
The Great Wolf Lodge in Minneapolis sits at the interchange between I-494 and Highway 77. It’s a mere block away from the famous Mall of America. Although it’s a chain, the Great Wolf Lodge makes a name in family entertainment.
The main attraction at the Great Wolf Lodge is the indoor water park built for entertaining families. In addition to the fantastic splash center, there’s mini-golf, ropes courses, rock climbing, an arcade, and a mining quest. There’s no shortage of kid-focused activities to keep families coming back.
Dunkin Donuts and Ben and Jerry’s have outlets at the Great Wolf Lodge, but the dining doesn’t stop there. The Water Hole and Buckets Incredible Cravables provide dining options for guests who don’t want to leave the pool. Wrap up the day at the Campfire kitchen, the ultimate Great Wolf Lodge restaurant.
Rooms at the Great Wolf Lodge come in various styles, from standard to themed. Suites start at $159 for the basic standard room, while themed suites start at $199. Rooms include water park access, and adding packages allows children to participate in a broader range of activities. The price and amenities make the Great Wolf Lodge one of the best Minnesota Family Resorts.
Moose Track Adventures Resort
Sitting on the southwest coast of Farm Lake is the cozy Moose Track Adventures family resort. These cabins are deep in lake country. The proximity to the wilderness makes Moose Track Adventure Resort one of the best Minnesota Family Resorts. Moose Track is an all-inclusive resort, taking the stress off parents with plenty of amenities.
Moose Track Adventure Resort provides guided fishing trips for the whole family. Families not looking to fish can participate in guided canoeing, hiking, and paddle boats. Vacations in the winter are just as much fun with snowmobiling, cross country skiing, ice fishing, dog sledding, and snowshoeing.
Guests are welcome to cook in the cabins, and the nearest restaurants are in Ely. Families on guided tours select meals ahead of time and can expect adventure-centric meals. These are often dehydrated and full of calories to keep you going. It’s about the adventure, not the meals!
Guests can rent cabins at Moose Track Adventure Resort by the night or by the week. Each place has a lake view and a private dock for any water activities the family wants to do! The cheapest cabins start at $220 per night or $1095 per week.
Sandy Pines Family Resort
Sandy Pines Family Resort is another lakefront resort situated on the east coast of Big Portage Lake. The resort is a combination of various sized cabins and campsites. The six lakes that make up the Portage system are home to different fish perfect for the angler in your family.
Kids are center stage at Sandy Pines Family Resort with three days of kids club and activities. On the lake is the Nisswa outdoor waterpark. Other activities include horseback riding, river tubing, mini-golf, and go-karting. Plus, parents can enjoy the Northern Lights Casino while the kids are doing activities.
Restaurants are scarce until you get into Backus, Minnesota. The Sandy Pines Family Resort doesn’t offer onsite restaurants, but the cabins have full kitchens and outdoor cooking options. Still, the Salty Dog Saloon & Eatery and Corner Store & Restaurant have decent grub.
Cabins at Sandy Pines Family Resort are rented nightly, for six nights, or weekly. Rates depend on prime or non-prime weeks and the number of rooms in the cabin. Prime weeks can cost as much as $870 per night or $4750 a week! Non-prime places start at $320 a night or $1850 a week.
Ruttger’s Bay Lake Lodge
Ruttger’s Bay Lake Lodge is just off Highway 6 on the north end of Bay Lake. It has more than 120 years of history as one of the best Minnesota family resorts. The lodge is styled like a log cabin and takes on a truly rustic feel. Plus, it’s only a two-hour drive from the city, making it a perfect escape for families.
Families can engage in a wide range of activities at Ruttger’s Bay Lake Lodge. Family bingo, boat rentals, guided fishing tours, coffee and cocoa trips, bonfires, and paddleboard lessons come included. Ruttger’s Bay Lake Lodge also offers swimming, golf, and spas for a little bit of everything.
Dining at Ruttger’s Bay Lake Lodge takes place at one of several outlets. Auntie M’s offers a tasty cup of joe, while the new Bear Pine Bar offers craft beverages on a deck that overlooks the water. Lunch and dinner are best at either the White Oak Grill or Ruby’s Dining Room.
Ruttger’s Bay Lake Lodge offers accommodations ranging from rooms at the resort to private cabins along the waterfront. The most affordable rates start at $143 a night, while the average rental runs $230. Breakfast is complimentary with every room, as are wifi and flatscreen TVs. Ruttger’s Bay is one of the best Minnesota Family Resorts with so many options.
Afton Alps Ski Resort
Minnesota is famous for its lakes, but the Afton Alps Ski Resort offers a European-style feel in the midwest. Afton Alps is a premier ski resort with 21 lifts and 37 runs of winter fun. It’s just outside the Twin Cities south of I-94 along Ski Croix Scenic Byway.
It isn’t all about the snow, as Afton offers hiking and biking in the summer. Mountain families can appreciate the groomed runs and hardcore riders test their abilities at one of the three terrain parks. Plus, countless retail outlets litter the resort for high-end shopping.
Dining at the resort is a must, and Afton Alps has many slopeside venues. Paul’s Pub and the Landing Zone are open on weekends only, but the Alps and Meadow Chalets are open all week. Plus, on-mountain dining is popular with skiers and snowboarders to fuel up before the next run.
Like other ski resorts, Afton Alps has several lodging options. Accommodations range from the Afton House Inn to the Lora Hotel. Rates start at $102 a night, but the closer you get to the slopes, the more expensive the rentals get. Larger families can also expect to shell out more for larger spaces.
Lost Lake Lodge
Wedged between Upper Gull Lake and Lost Lake is the Lost Lake Lodge. The Lost Lake Lodge hides away north of Highway 77 among the most beautiful trees in Minnesota. There’s not a bad room on the property with water on both sides.
Families escape in the wilderness thanks to excellent hiking trails. There is also plenty of fishing at any one of the various lakes nearby. Boats are available for rent, and kayaks, paddleboats, and canoes are complimentary when renting a room.
The Lost Lake Lodge restaurant handles the dining for guests. Their menu is a collection of chef-inspired dishes and fresh ingredients. Unfortunately, the restaurant is only open during the evenings and weekends. It’s closed all day Monday and Tuesday, leaving guests searching for off-site options.
Renting a room at the Lost Lake Lodge is straightforward. One bedroom starts at $200 per night, and prices increase from there depending on the number of rooms. Each unit has excellent access to the dock or the beach and is one of the best Minnesota family resorts.
Grandview Lodge Spa & Golf Resort
Southeast of the Lost Lake Lodge and on the north shore of Gull Lake sits the Grandview Lodge Spa & Golf Resort. While the Grandview Lodge is home to two championship-level golf courses, the resort has four seasons of activities for the whole family.
Kids can enjoy the Kid Club, which entertains children up to 12 until 9 PM for parents to enjoy the golf or spa. There is horseback riding, frisbee golf, ziplining, boat rentals, and volleyball when spending time together. Traveling in the winter is just as much fun as cross country skiing, snowmobiling, skiing, snowboarding, and horse-drawn sleigh rides.
The Grandview Lodge Spa & Golf Resort guests have excellent dining options, including a daily breakfast buffet in the Heritage Room, steaks at Char, burgers, sandwiches at Northwoods pub, and patio dining at On the Rocks. There’s plenty of excellent food to satisfy anyone at one of the ten restaurants onsite.
While the Grandview Lodge Spa & Golf Resort prices rooms reasonably, there is a two-night minimum stay. Rates for a king-sized bed start at $185 per night, but booking as a package offers the best deals. Some even include rounds of golf for only $271, while others provide breakfast with the room.
Arrowwood Resort is off County Road 22 near Lake Darling. The wooden aesthetic plays into the wilderness vibes of one of the best Minnesota family resorts. It’s only a two-hour drive from the Twin Cities, making it a perfect weekend getaway for the whole family.
The Arrowwood resort provides families with endless entertainment thanks to the indoor waterpark. When the weather is cold, there are holiday-inspired activities for the kids. Group activities like campfires and themed competitions will unwind even the most stressed families.
Four restaurants serve guests a range of dining options ranging from snacks to the fine dining rafter’s lounge. Enjoy a laid-back meal at the Lake Cafe, or take lunch on the deck at Deck Bar and Grill that overlooks the lake. Alexandria is a short drive away and has some wonderful local cuisine.
The Arrowwood Resort has accommodations that include guest rooms, townhouses, and cottages. Guest rooms start at $179 and include tickets to the waterpark for the whole family, but summer rates are $239, so be prepared to spend more during peak travel times!
Best Time of Year to Travel to Minnesota
Minnesota gets cold in the winter. So much so that many of the lakes freeze over, creating the perfect environment for pond hockey. While the chilly temperatures are suitable for families looking for winter vacation activities like skiing or snowmobiling, the cold isn’t for everyone.
Those looking for summer can look forward to warmer temperatures and defrosted lakes. While these temperatures are ideal for camping, hiking, and boating, it also means more interaction with wildlife, including bugs. There are cons to traveling to Minnesota in any season. Still, there are more benefits to visiting Minnesota as a family than not.
Final Thoughts on Best Minnesota Family Resorts & Hotels
Finding a suitable vacation in Minnesota doesn’t have to be challenging. Neither does it have to be only camping and cold temperatures. Minnesota has a wide range of family resorts that offer a range of amenities that satisfy the luxury seekers and the adventure junkies. There’s plenty of shopping, fishing, and boating for the whole family.
The Land of 10,000 Lakes has activities for all families. The resorts that make the adventure happen are some of the best in the country and worth visiting, regardless of where you’re coming from. Some of the best Minnesota family resorts provide water parks. Others offer prime access to beautiful lakes made for boating.