Weekend Getaways: 4 Last-Minute Summer 'Staycation' Ideas in Minnesota

Nicole Fallon

vineyard weekend getaway

Image credit: Ales Me/Unsplash

The end of summer always creeps up on us. With all the pool parties, summer camps, and sports practices, you might not have realized how quickly back-to-school season is approaching.

Maybe you haven't had a chance to take a proper vacation this summer, or your family vacation feels like a distant memory at this point. Don't worry! You still have time for a last-minute "staycation" during the last few weeks of summer.

If you're ready to round the kids up for a weekend of family fun (or take a romantic trip while you drop them off with their grandparents), consider one of our favorite Minnesota weekend getaway spots. These cities are easy to drive to, and are perfect for a spontaneous overnight trip. Check out our recommendations of where to stay, where to eat, and what to do while you're here.

Mall of America (Bloomington)

The world-famous Mall of America offers a million things to do and see, all under one roof. This premier shopping destination is also home to the country's larger indoor theme park, an aquarium, minigolf, a luxury movie theater, and more.

Where to stay: The JW Marriott Minneapolis Mall of America is directly connected to the mall. How's that for convenience?

Where to eat: The Marriott's restaurant, Cedar + Stone, Urban Table, offers fresh, culturally-inspired dishes and a truly sophisticated dining experience.

What to do: In addition to the amazing shops and restaurants, you can catch one of the 400-plus annual events hosted at the Mall. Brought the kids with you? Check out Build-a-Bear, the Lego Store, and the Crayola Art Experience.


If you and your sweetie want a weekend away, look no further than Stillwater, a quaint, historical town with plenty of romantic activities. Explore the orchards, vineyards, trails, and shops together in this riverfront destination.

Where to stay: The Victorian-era Water Street Inn fits right in with Stillwater's historical atmosphere. Some of its beautiful guest rooms include whirlpool baths, fireplaces, and private river-view balconies for the ultimate romantic evening.

Where to eat: Popular late-night eatery Brick & Bourbon offers American cuisine, cocktails, and draft brews.

What to do: Take the Foodies on Foot tour for an intimate look at Stillwater's culinary scene, or visit Saint Croix Vineyards for a wine-making tour and tasting in its century-old restored barn. End your evening with a relaxing gondola ride along the St. Croix River.

Red Wing

Just an hour southeast of Minneapolis is Red Wing, a perfect destination for outdoor enthusiasts and history buffs. Hiking trails, museums, water sports, and more await you here.

Where to stay: The historical St. James Hotel offers modern amenities with 19th-century charm, as well as beautiful views of the Mississippi River.

Where to eat: BBQ fans will love eating at The Smokin' Oak. Its wood-fired rotisserie creates a unique flavor for all its barbecued meats.

What to do: Start your day in the great outdoors by hiking, biking, golfing, skiing, boating, or birdwatching. Then, stop by one of Red Wing's historical attractions, like the Pottery Museum, Aliveo Military Museum, or the Goodhue County Historical Society.


Not only is Wayzata home to The Cookie Cups flagship bakery, but there are plenty of things for everyone in your family to enjoy. Its proximity to Lake Minnetonka make it a popular tourist destination.

Where to stay: After a long day out and about, unwind at The Hotel Landing, a gorgeous, modern hotel with a Nordic-inspired spa.

Where to eat: Enjoy dining on the rooftop or patio at 6Smith meat and seafood restaurant, then stop by The Cookie Cups for dessert!

What to do: Shop 'til you drop at one of Wayzata's countless boutiques and retail outlets. You can also enjoy some outdoor activities while taking in the gorgeous lake views.

Looking for more fun weekend activities in Wayzata? Sign up for one of our upcoming cooking classes at The Cookie Cups!

Leave a Comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published