Summer is creeping up upon us and hinting with nicer weather! It is time to start to plan a vacation and money might not be in the budget for a far away one…start to plan a Minnesota Frugal Staycation. Wait…what is a “staycation”? A Staycation is a vacation that is close to your home…in other words…time to explore the state you live in without having to take a airplane or spend hours upon hours in a car driving! No need to rent a hotel room either as these can be one day trips!
To explore even further and to save half price or more, be sure to check out the half price deal page for more Minnesota Frugal Staycation ideas. Each day I get emails on half price deals for summer entertainment and activities.
Though Groupon has a GREAT selection of Getaway deals for a great discount in most any states! Check out more summer fun ideas below…there are hundreds more and they keep changing!
- Half-Day Visit for One or Two or Full-Day Visit for One, Two, or Four at Water Park of America (Up to 44% Off)
- Pontoon Boat Rentals at Your Boat Rentals (50% Off). Three Options Available.
- 18 Holes of Golf for Two or Four Including Cart at The Refuge Golf Club in Oak Grove (Up to 52% Off)
- $15 for One Hour of Trampoline Time and SkySocks for Two at Sky Zone ($28 Value), Valid for Walk-Ins
- Kinni Jungle Safari or Three Rivers Kayaking for Two from Kinni Creek Lodge and Outfitters (51% Off)
- Richfield Outdoor Pool via Living Social.com
Of course since it is summer, it is the perfect time to get outside and explore the outdoors too! I highlighted just “some” of the many parks out there to explore.
Have you tried the new craze Geocaching? Grab your binoculars and GPS units and get ready to fly! The Minnesota State Parks and Trails Geocaching Avian Adventure offers modern-day treasure hunters a variety of challenges and bird-brained fun.
Minnehaha Park is one of Minneapolis’s popular parks. It is home to the famous 53 foot Minnehaha waterfall located in the 193 acre park. It is located at the intersection of Hiawatha Avenue and Minnehaha Parkway. This park offers a little bit of everything including concerts, walking and biking paths, picnic areas, sculptures, playground.
Lebanon Hills Regional Park, Eagan – I was told about this gem from Samantha who loves to go their with her family. From Dakota County Parks page:
“Containing almost 2,000 acres, the park offers miles of trails and many lakes for year-round outdoor sports, recreation and environmental education.
The Lebanon Hills Visitor Center, located in the eastern section of the park, offers park information, interactive nature displays, courses and programs, equipment rental and access to all the beauty the park has to offer.”
The park offers many activities including: Camping, Canoeing, Kayaking, Paddleboarding, Mountain Biking, Fishing , Geocaching, Hiking, Hunting, Nature Education, Picnicking, Play Areas , Swimming, and Recreational Bonfire.
Three Rivers Park District offers a magnitude of activities, but I personally love Elm Creek Park Reserve for their filtered, chlorinated swimming “pond” and their newly renovated kids play area (shown on left). There is a fee to swim at the “pond”, but well worth it in my opinion. The other park shown above on the right is Hyland Park Reserve.
Activities include: Archery, Art Education, Biking (they have trails that seem to go on and on) , Boating, Camping, Disc Golf, Dog Off-leash, Dog Trails, Educational Farming, Fishing, Formal Gardens, Geocaching, Golfing, Hiking, Horseback Riding, Mountain Biking, Nature Education, Paddling, Picnic Areas, Play Areas, Swimming
Fort Snelling State Park - Explore where the Minnesota and Mississippi Rivers meet. There is an entrance fee of $5.
“There are 18 miles of hiking trails, 5 miles of biking trails, snowshoe and canoe rentals, picnicking, fishing, boating, and swimming. Fishing licenses are not required for Minnesota residents fishing on Snelling Lake but are required in other water bodies within the park.”
Historic Fort Snelling- Step back into time and learn about the lives of the people who lived in and around the fort in the early 1800s, as well as the important role Fort Snelling played in Minnesota history. What is neat about Fort Snelling is that there are costumed staff who share the fort’s history through conversation, demonstrations and lots of interactive activities. There is a cost of $11 for adults and $6 for Children 6-17. Not “cheap”, but well worth it from what several people have told me.
“This has always been my go-to mini golf course. The sculptures are breathtaking and creatively used throughout the course. Many holes, all super fun. It’s a nice place to relax, and if you go at night they have bonfires. The goats are adorable to feed, they also have horses, cats, dogs, chickens, and other animals roaming around. It’s a bit far away from where I live, but well worth it. It’s family owned, so the service is super friendly.”
*My daughter went last year and had a great time!
Minnesota Twins Game- What is a summer without going down to see the Twins play a game in their new outdoor Stadium and having your picture taken by the big golden glove? Twins Tickets start at $8 per ticket. Of course there is the cost of parking, but you can always try out the new Minnesota Light Rail.
While the Minnesota Zoo is a great place to go with a family, it can be pricey. Be sure to check out Como Zoo and Conservatory where it is free to see the animals and the many flowers and plants in the Conservatory. They do ask for donations of $2-$3 per person. There are even FREE shuttles to get from one of the many parking lots in the Como area to get you to the zoo.
While cruising around the Como Park Zoo’s website, I found the newly designed Como Pool (pic on left)! They have a lap pool, lazy river, rock climbing wall, water slide, splash pool and even a zip line! Their prices are pretty decent for what is offered! Family Fun and Fitness Fridays! Admission is just $2/person on June 20, July 25, & Aug 15…otherwise admission $4-$6.
Let’s not forget about the northern burbs where you can have both an indoor and outdoor pool fun at the Maple Grove Community Center (pic on right above). $22 (resident) $25 (non Resident) for a family fun for the day is not a bad deal at all. They also have ice skating, a large maze area and a gymnasium. Check the site for those prices.
Bunker Beach is another great spot and it kinda reminds me of Wisconsin Deals, but their prices are $12 – $15 per day.
Okay…the list can go on and on, but here are some more places to visit for FREE:
The Walker Art Center: Free admission on the first Saturday of the month, and Thursday evenings after 5 p.m.
The Bell Museum of Natural History: Free admission on Sundays.
The Minnesota Children’s Museum: Free admission on the third Sunday of the month.
The Minneapolis Institute of Arts: Admission is always free along with gallery tours and music and art events happen frequently.
Museum Adventure Pass is a free pass from public libraries in Minneapolis, St. Paul and the Metro Area. Each pass gives you up to two free admissions to a museum or attraction.
Home Depot Kids workshops FREE on Select Saturdays during the month
Lowes Build n Grow Kids Workshops FREE on select Saturdays of the month
FREE or Cheap Summertime movies are a Must for those HOT days! Keep an eye out on the Family Summer activities Page for cheap movies, summer reading programs and more!