Making the Most of MEA Break: Family Travel Plans Near Minneapolis

The MEA (Minnesota Educator Academy) break is just around the corner, and as a busy mom, you’re probably wondering how to make the most of this family-focused time off. Fortunately, there are plenty of exciting options for a memorable getaway within 90 miles of Minneapolis. Let’s explore travel ideas and local attractions that are perfect for families seeking a fun-filled MEA break.

Travel Ideas

Explore the North Shore:

  • Take a scenic drive along Lake Superior’s North Shore, less than a 3-hour drive from Minneapolis.
  • Stop at Gooseberry Falls State Park to witness breathtaking waterfalls framed by vibrant fall foliage.
  • Visit Split Rock Lighthouse State Park for stunning vistas and a glimpse into Minnesota’s maritime history.

Discover the Mississippi River:

  • Plan a day trip to the picturesque town of Red Wing, located about 60 miles from Minneapolis.
  • Enjoy a leisurely Mississippi River cruise with Pearl of the Lake or paddle the calm waters in a rented kayak.

Embrace Nature in Taylors Falls:

  • Head to Interstate State Park, just an hour’s drive from Minneapolis, to see the unique glacial potholes and rugged cliffs. My family enjoyed this hike many times during the fall.
  • Take a scenic boat tour on the St. Croix River for a relaxing family outing.

Minnesota Zoo and Como Park Zoo & Conservatory:

  • Spend a day at the Minnesota Zoo in Apple Valley, offering interactive exhibits and animal encounters.
  • Explore Como Park Zoo & Conservatory in St. Paul, home to a variety of animals and beautiful gardens.

Historic Sites in Stillwater:

  • Visit the charming town of Stillwater, MN, known for its historic downtown and scenic riverfront.
  • Explore the Stillwater Lift Bridge, take a paddlewheel boat cruise, or sample some local cuisine.

Local Activities:

Apple Orchards and Pumpkin Patches:

  • Enjoy the fall season by visiting local orchards like Apple Jack Orchards in Delano, Deardorff Orchards & Vineyard in Waconia, Collegeville in St. Joseph, or Minnetonka Orchards in Minnetrista.
  • Pick apples, go on hayrides, and find the perfect pumpkin for carving.

MEA break is the perfect opportunity for a family-focused getaway, and there are numerous options within a 90-mile radius of Minneapolis. Whether you’re exploring the natural wonders of Minnesota, engaging with wildlife at local zoos, or enjoying family-friendly activities, these ideas will help you make the most of this cherished time off with your loved ones. 

Do not forget to use the app YELP to find some good fun food stops, ice cream, or a coffee shop!  This is always a great addition to your adventure with the kiddos.

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