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Best Family Activities In Minnesota To Do Before The Summer Ends

With summer approaching its end, get out and enjoy these five family-friendly activities before the season is over.
Ride The Steamboat Minnehaha
Wayzata Dock
402 East Lake St.
Wayzata, MN 55391
(952) 474-2115

Dates: Saturdays, Sundays and holidays now through Sept. 7, 2015
Price: $15 Adult, $5 Children 4 to 12 and Free Children 3 and under

Imagine the excitement of riding on a real old-time steamboat—especially the Steamboat Minnehaha, which provided commuter service on Lake Minnetonka from 1906 through 1926. This majestic purveyor of passengers lay on the bottom of the lake until 1980 and was recommissioned in 1996. Learn more at the Minnesota Transportation Museum at 37 Water Street in Excelsior, where you may purchase books, prints, and memorabilia.

Trolley, Minnesota State Fair
(credit: CBS)

Ride The Trolley
The Minnesota Streetcar Museum
P.O. Box 16509
Minneapolis Minnesota 55416-0509
(952) 922-1096

Dates: Now through Sept. 6, 2015
Price: $2

For the Excelsior Trolley, hop on the trolley at Old Excelsior Boulevard near Minnetonka Boulevard or at the Water Street stop between 3rd and George Street. There is a wonderful Farmers' Market on Tuesdays from 2 to 6 p.m. on Water Street in downtown Excelsior. Dine at the delightful 318 Cafe located inside the restored Excelsior Mill or lunch by the lake at Maynard's.

Or take a 15 minute round trip on the Como-Harriet Streetcar Line by boarding at the Linden Hills Station, Queen Avenue South at West 42nd Street or at the Lake Calhoun platform on Richfield Road. Then go to 43rd Street for a sustainably minded lunch at The Harriet Brasserie or brunch with a craft beer at the sophisticated Tilia bistro.

Bike The Paul Bunyan State Trail
Crow Wing State Park (South End)
3124 State Park Road
Brainerd, MN 56401
(218) 825-3075

Lake Bemidji State Park (North End)
3401 State Park Road N.E.
Bemidji, MN 56601
(218) 308-2300

Ninety miles of a continuously paved trail begins just south of Brainerd and stretches to Lake Bemidji State Park. The entire Paul Bunyan State Trail is Minnesota's longest bike trail at 120 miles, but also connects to 17 different routes of more than 850 miles of bike trails. And there's no need to haul your bikes, thanks to the shuttle service and bike rentals available in the area.

Related: Best Family-Friendly Bike Trails In Minnesota

(credit: Jupiter Images)

Ride Horseback
Pine River Riding Stable
County Road 2 W.
Pine River, MN 56474
(218) 587-5807

This 280-acre family owned stable provides well-trained horses or ponies for trail rides, sunset rides and hay rides. The facility offers riding lessons, day camp and a petting zoo with kittens, puppies, bunnies, pigs, goats, donkeys, emus, ducks and geese. The kids will absolutely love getting up and close and personal with these cute animals.

Take A Gangster Tour
Renee's Royal Valet
12813 Industrial Park Blvd.
Plymouth, MN 55441
(763) 551-1919 West Metro
(651) 777-3519 East Metro

Price: Starting at $275 plus gratuity Add Wabasha Caves Walking Tour ($6 per person)

See where gangsters of the Great Depression hid out and planned their escapades. John Dillinger, "Ma" Barker and her sons and Barker-Karpis Gang came to St. Paul to avoid arrest when they got in trouble elsewhere. Learn more about the Barker-Karpis Gang kidnapping of a Schmidt Brewing heir and how thugs collaborated with St Paul city police to collect $100,000 ransom for a Hamm's Brewery President. You can extend the two-hour tour by adding a stop at Wabasha Caves or Landmark Center.

RelatedBest Places For Horseback Riding In Minnesota

Robin Johnson was born in Annandale, Minn. and graduated from Richfield High School and then the University of Minnesota where he studied Political Science, Business and Industrial Relations. A writer for, he also consults with a variety of organizations and individuals helping them develop and grow. His work can be found at


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