Minnesota Family Vacations

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Minnesota Family Vacations are a great opportunity to see what this state has to offer.

Part of what I found so interesting about Minnesota is the number of interesting literary sites. Anytime we can learn more about our culture while have a great time qualifies for great family vacations in my opinion.

Some of our favorite places to visit on a Minnesota vacation include the Betsy-Tacy Houses in Mankato, Laura Ingall's Wilder's Walnut Grove, and tall tale Paul Bunyan territory.

By the Banks of Plum Creek
Laura Ingalls Wilder's Walnut Grove

By the Banks of Plum Creek has always been one of my two favorite Laura Ingalls Wilder books. I read them over and over while growing up, and then enjoyed re-reading them with my own children.

Plum Creek and the town of Walnut Grove came alive in that book, and it was oh so much fun reading about Laura's escapades.

Our journey to the little town of Walnut Grove did not disapoint and is one of our best family vacation spots that I would recommend even if you haven't read the series. There is a lot to learn here at the museum in town about life in the 1800's in a small, rural town.

Plum Creek, Walnut Grove, Minnesota, Laura Ingalls Wilder

Laura Ingalls Wilder's (collapsed) dugout home
As viewed from across Plum Creek
Walnut Grove, Minnesota

Dugout House, Walnut Grove, Minnesota, Laura Ingalls Wilder

Recreation of a Dugout House at the Wilder Museum in Walnut Grove, Minnesota

Inexpensive Vacations fun with Betsy-Tacy

I had personally never read the Betsy-Tacy books when I was growing up. On one trip to the library I grabbed one off the shelf for my daughter to read. I thought the idea of reading about two little girls and their adventures would be a fun subject matter.

What happened next is this book series took over our world for a time. We now own the entire series so we can read them again and again.

The books are about two friends - Betsy and Tacy - who are growing up around the turn of the century in Deep Valley (which is actually Mankato, Minnesota). In each of the subsequent books, we read about Betsy's adventures as she grows up and eventually gets married.

Knowing that the characters in the book were based on real people and places, imagine my thrill when I googled "Betsy Tacy" to find out that their homes are still standing and can be toured!

We set our course for Mankato, Minnesota. It was tricky, because we live some distance away, and at the time of our visit they were only open for a few hours each Saturday. So we had to time it just right. But we did!

Mankota is a college town, and has a charming old downtown street.

The Betsy-Tacy houses were easy to find by inputting the address.

We were able to tour the houses, and also obtain a list of sites in the area. Everything, from each of their friend's houses mentioned in the books, to parks, to schools, to churches...everything is still there! We spent as much time as we could driving around and saying "oh - that was so-and-so's house!" It was a great day of cheap family vacations fun.

It made us feel even closer to the characters in the books and was nice to see what we had been imagining for so long and compare it to the reality.

To learn more about visiting the Betsy Tacy houses, visit the website www.betsy-tacysociety.org.

Read the series and add this attraction to your Minnesota family vacations list for the Betsy-Tacy fans in your family.

Betsy-Tacy house, Minnesota Family Vacations

Betsy's House, a must stop for Betsy-Tacy Fans

Paul Bunyan Territory

If you are going to be in the Northern portion of the state, you might want to check out the Paul Bunyan and Babe statues there. This is big Paul Bunyan territory, and you can use the opportunity to introduce other tall tales to the kids.

As a matter of fact, a fun road trip game might be learning to create your own American Tall Tales.

Paul Bunyan Land, Brainerd, Minnesota

I love old-fashioned theme parks, and this is one really devoted to carrying out the Paul Bunyan theme.

Visit their website at www.paulbunyanland.com for more information about this fun Minnesota family vacations tourist attraction.

Paul Bunyan Statue, Akeley, Minnesota

The Paul Bunyan statue in Akeley, Minnesota is one you'll want to visit because at this one, Paul is kneeling down with his hand stretched out close enough to the ground that visitors can climb on and sit in his hand. What a great photo opportunity!

Paul Bunyan and Babe, Bemidji, Minnesota

This is the iconic set of statues that have been seen on postcards and as examples of roadside attractions at thier finest.

Paul Bunyan Statue, Storybook Land

More Minnesota Fun - Winter Minnesota Family Vacations

Minnesota isn't just about literary figures. There is lots of history here (think Vikings).

But one of the things that Minnesota is really known for is it's winters.

If you'll be enjoying your Minnesota family vacation during the winter, there are some ideas of unique things you can do to make your vacation memorable. These might include:

  • Go on a dog sled run
  • Join the polar bear club! Take a plunges through a hole in the ice
  • Try ice fishing
  • Go ice skating on frozen lake
  • Play golf on a frozen lake
  • Indoor water parks

    Other Best Family Vacation Spots you might like:

    Iowa Vacations
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    Road Trip USA: The Midwest

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