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Great Weekend Getaways

Sometimes you just want to get away. So pack up your family, better half, friends and even pets for some weekend fun, R & R or whatever you require to break-up the same ole this season. Here are a few of our top ideas on where you can let loose.

Bluefin Bay

Open year-round
Accommodation: prices vary

Now is a good time to head up north -- far north -- for a weekend full of rest and relaxation, romance or recreation on Minnesota's North Shore. Bluefin Bay on Lake Superior has a ton to offer! Whether you visit in the fall or winter, there's so much to do, including scenic fall foliage, hiking, biking, and canoeing and more. Looking for a winter wonderland? This is your place too – they're in the heart of it with skiing, snowboarding, snowmobiling and snowshoeing. Who could ask for more out of a weekend up north? Wait, you can bring your pets too! Bluefin Bay has pet-friendly accommodations.

Madeline Island

We're not talking Jamaica, but this quaint area of Bayfield, Wisconsin, and Madeline Island (which is just a quick ferry ride or in the dead of winter take the ice road!), sits two miles northeast and is the perfect getaway. Put your walking legs on as that's the encouraged mode of transportation. Be sure to plan ahead, while Madeline Island remains quaint and a "known" secret, travel accommodations and many restaurants require reservations.

Bemidji's Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox

Visitor Center Hours: 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. (Monday – Friday after Labor Day)

In the mood for a north woods retreat, head out for a weekend to explore the "First City on the Mississippi." Bemidji is a great getaway with state parks, over 400 fishing lakes within 25 miles, winter festivals including, Polar Daze and the Scandinavian tradition, Festival of Lights. Fantastic cross country skiing and countless groomed snowmobiling trails will keep you busy during the day.  A variety of places will keep you warm at night, from rustic to modern, hotels and resorts stay open year-round. Start exploring the city at the Tourist Information Center – you can't miss it, just look for famed Paul Bunyon and his legendary companion, Babe the Blue Ox. For more info on what you can do with the family in Bemidji check out our Family Fun Weekend Guide.

WaterPark Of America

Hours: 11 a.m.–10 p.m., days open vary monthly, check website
Admission: Prices Vary

Looking to add a splash to your school-year weekends? Visit the indoor Water Park of America for a wet and wild weekend with the family and where the weather is always a balmy 85 degrees. Play on slides, tubes, family raft ride, water basketball, a wave pool, hot tubs, and even a humongous bucket that dumps 500 gallons of water every 2 min! What to do after you dry off? Check out the arcade with the kids, or for some adult time, the Split Rock Bar & Grille may be a great way to spend an evening and rest up for the week ahead. Free Wi-Fi is also available.

Saint Paul Hotel

Prices vary by room

The Saint Paul Hotel, built in 1910 is classic romance at its best. Located in downtown Saint Paul, it sits along the Mississippi and provides access to culture, fine dining and more. Check out Jazz in the Lobby Bar or dine in the Saint Paul Grill – be sure to ask for a view of Rice Park, which is especially magical when snow is falling. If venturing from the hotel, a short stroll down St. Peter Street to award-winning restaurants, taking performances at one of the many entertainment venues is recommended. The famed Mall of America is only minutes away if shopping is in order. Complimentary local transportation is provided by the hotel.

Meghan Marx was born and raised in the Midwest, where outdoor activity is her second nature. Meghan is a graphics artist, college professor and web designer. Follow Meg at @designingmarx.

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