Your Family’s Guide to Winter Fun in Minnesota
Minnesota winter guide for families sponsored by winter skolstice

Thanks to Winter Skolstice for sponsoring our Minnesota Winter Guide for Families!Join us at Viking Lakes for family fun and exciting special events!

Have the best winter ever this year at the 2023-2024 Winter SKOLstice. This season features shopping at the Winter Markets, a Warming Haus filled with hot food, wintry beverages, and good cheer, free ice skating, the dazzling Magic of Lights drive-thru experience, photos with Santa, hockey tournaments, a Polar Plunge, the SKOLstice Beer Festival and so much more!

Ahh, winter in Minnesota. 

Winter in Minnesota offers a unique and magical canvas for family fun. Our state transforms into a winter wonderland, creating opportunities for unforgettable experiences. Families can bond over traditional winter activities like ice skating on picturesque frozen lakes, building snowmen in the pristine snow-covered landscapes, or enjoying exhilarating sled rides down snowy hills.

The Land of 10,000 Lakes truly shines during winter, with numerous outdoor adventures like ice fishing providing a chance for shared excitement. Minnesota’s extensive cross-country ski trails and well-maintained snowmobile routes allow families to explore scenic winter vistas together. Additionally, the state hosts charming winter festivals and events, providing a festive atmosphere for families to celebrate the season.

From the shimmering beauty of frozen waterfalls to the thrill of winter sports, Minnesota’s winter landscape provides a captivating backdrop for creating lasting family memories. Embracing the cold becomes an invitation to connect, play, and revel in the enchantment that only winter in Minnesota can bring.

Minnesota winter guide for families ski hills

Minnesota Winter Guide for Families: Ski Hills

Skiing and snowboarding with kids is a great family activity because it promotes outdoor exercise, teaches valuable skills, and creates lasting memories in our beautiful Minnesota winter setting. It fosters a love for the outdoors and encourages teamwork as families navigate the slopes together. Additionally, it provides an opportunity for shared experiences and bonding.

Here are ski hills around Minnesota to check out this winter:

Giants Ridge in Biwabik, MN: Boasts gentle slopes for beginners, a dedicated tubing park, and an inviting winter wonderland ambiance.

Lutsen Mountains in Lutsen, MN: Offers family-friendly slopes with varying difficulty levels, ski school for kids, and scenic views of Lake Superior.

Welch Village in Welch, MN: Known for its welcoming atmosphere, family ski lessons, and terrain suitable for all ages and skill levels.

Afton Alps in Hastings, MN: Close to the Twin Cities, with various slopes for different abilities and excellent ski programs for children.

Wild Mountain in Taylors Falls, MN: Family-friendly terrain, snow tubing, and a ski school make it an ideal spot for introducing kids to skiing.

Buck Hill in Burnsville, MN: Take advantage of their year-round offerings like skiing, snowboarding, mountain biking, camps, development teams, and live music!

Trollhaugen in Dresser, WI: Adventures for every season await you at Troll! Ski, snowboard, snow tube, and more!

Make sure to check out the 4th Grade Passport Program. Here is an excellent article about Minnesota cold-weather safety rules!

Family Favorite Ski Hills

You voted, and here are your top ski hills to visit with your kiddos and family!

Best Ski Hill

1st Place: Buck Hill | Burnsville, MN

2nd Place: Lutsen Mountain | Lutsen, MN

3rd Place: Spirit Mountain | Duluth, MN

Find all the family favorite award winners here!

Minnesota Winter Activities for Toddlers

It’s tempting to hibernate during a frigid Minnesota winter, but your tots have as much energy to burn now as ever. However, making the most of the season requires a bit of creative thinking — not to mention a lot of winter wear.

Here are 25 ways for little ones to have big fun this winter, including some indoor options. 

Minnesota Waterpark Staycations

A waterpark staycation offers a perfect blend of excitement and relaxation for families. The thrilling water slides, lazy rivers, and splash zones provide endless entertainment for all ages. Families can bond over shared laughter and adventures in a safe environment close to home. The variety of water activities caters to different preferences, ensuring everyone finds something enjoyable.

Parents can unwind while their children splash around, creating lasting memories. It’s a convenient escape without the hassle of travel, allowing quality time together. With the sun, water, and joyous atmosphere, a Waterpark staycation becomes a memorable, rejuvenating experience for families seeking fun-filled togetherness.

We found five spots around the Twin Cities to book now. Check them out–>

guide to indoor playgrounds around the twin cities

Minnesota Indoor Playgrounds

Indoor playgrounds offer a haven for Minnesota families during winter, providing a safe and warm environment for children to play, socialize, and burn off energy. These spaces become invaluable in the chilly winter months, allowing families to escape the harsh weather while fostering kids’ physical development. The climate-controlled settings also make them ideal for year-round enjoyment, promoting active lifestyles and reducing the impact of seasonal limitations on outdoor activities.

Additionally, indoor playgrounds often host diverse activities and events, catering to various age groups and ensuring families can create cherished memories together, regardless of outside weather. Find our list of all the indoor playgrounds in Minnesota here–>

Family Favorite Indoor Playgrounds

You voted, and here are your top spots for indoor playgrounds to visit with your kiddos!

Best Indoor Playgrounds

1st Place: Edinbourough Park| Edina, MN

2nd Place: Maple Maze | Maple Grove, MN

3rd Place: The K.U.B.E. – Plymouth Community Center | Plymouth, MN

Best Indoor Play Space for Younger Kids

1st Place: Eagles Nest | New Brighton, MN

2nd Place: MiniSota Play Cafe | Maple Grove, MN

3rd Place: Be with Me Playseum | Minnetonka, MN

Find all the family favorite award winners here!

minnesota nature center directory

Minnesota Winter Guide for Families Nature Centers

Nature centers throughout Minnesota offer an enchanting winter escape for kids. Amidst snow-covered landscapes, these centers provide interactive educational experiences, fostering a deeper connection with nature. Guided winter hikes unveil the beauty of frozen trails, while indoor exhibits showcase the state’s diverse ecosystems. Kids can learn about winter wildlife, from resilient animals to unique adaptations.

Hands-on activities, like snowshoeing or bird watching, enhance their understanding of the natural world. The serene winter atmosphere encourages a sense of wonder and discovery, making nature centers an ideal destination for family bonding, learning, and creating lasting memories amidst Minnesota’s winter wonderland.

Find a nature center near you–> 

Family Favorite Nature Centers

You voted, and here are your favorite nature centers to visit with your kiddos!

Best Nature Center

1st Place: Tamarack Nature Center | White Bear Lake, MN

2nd Place: Springbrook Nature Center | Fridley, MN

3rd Place: Wood Lake Nature Center | Richfield, MN

Find all the family favorite award winners here!

Thank you for checking out our Minnesota winter guide for families!

Minnesota family calendar of events

Family Calendar and Winter in Minnesota Events Guide

Celebrate the winter wonder in Minnesota and find all the fun on our family-friendly calendar!

January brings the thrill of snow sculpting contests and amazingly ice mazes and ice castles. Warm up in February with indoor activities like cozy story hours at libraries or family movie nights. Take advantage of the February ice fishing tournaments on frozen lakes, adding a touch of adventure to the chilly season. With a mix of outdoor adventures and indoor coziness, our calendar ensures you will have a memorable winter for all!

Minnesota winter guide for families snow tubing hills directory

Minnesota Snow Tubing Hills Guide for Families 

Bundle up the kids and grab your snow gear!  It’s the perfect time to go tubing!  

Minnesota is home to some of the best tubing hills in the Midwest. 

Check out these tubing hills in the Twin Cities, greater Minnesota, and just over the border in Western Wisconsin. 

Minnesota winter guide for families indoor water parks for kids

Family Favorite Indoor Waterparks!

You voted, and here are your top indoor waterparks to go with the kiddos! 

Best Indoor Aquatics Facility / Water Park

1st Place: Great Wolf Lodge Water Park | Bloomington, MN

2nd Place: Tropics Indoor Waterpark | Shoreview, MN

3rd Place: Treasure Island Resort Water Park | Welch, MN

Find all the family favorite award winners here!

Best Minnesota Winter Getaways for Families

It’s time to embark on a magical winter getaway in Minnesota with your family this year, we’ve selected nine excellent options just for you. Catering to all ages, each destination offers family-friendly things to do, outdoor activities, and more. 

Free Winter Printables and Activity Sheets

We get it, it’s cold out and sometimes hanging at home is the best choice, but keeping the kids busy all day is a lot of work!  We have over 30 free, fun printables just for winter that your kids will love. From I Spy to Winter Mazes and everything in between you are sure to find a few fun activity sheets to print off for the kids. Make sure to scroll to the bottom too! We have a fun one for adults you will want to print just for you! 


Thank you to Winter Skolstice for sponsoring Minnesota winter guide for families.

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