13 Exciting Weekend Getaways From Minneapolis With Your Tribe

Weekend Getaways From Minneapolis With Your Friends - Canoeing

Are you and your buddies looking for a break from the Twin Cities? Look no further because we have the perfect destinations for the best weekend getaways from Minneapolis.

Whether you want to try cross-country skiing in Frontenac State Park or a pedal boat tour from Spring Park, you will have plenty of inspiration to explore enchanting areas outside the Twin Cities.

So, hold on to your cap and let us help you plan the most exciting weekend getaway from Minneapolis with your friends.


1) Explore The Past In Dubuque

For fun and culturally enriching weekend getaways from Minneapolis, you should visit Dubuque. The city in Iowa is knees deep in history. You can explore famous museums and historical sites to immerse yourself in its rich heritage.

Visit the National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium to learn about the river’s role and the area’s ecological diversity. You can also explore the regional and national artworks collected at the Dubuque Museum of Art.

To top all the weekend road trips you’ve been on, how about taking a scenic ride on the Fenelon Place Elevator? It’s the world’s- shortest and steepest scenic railway that offers breathtaking views of the city and the Mississippi River.

Other top attractions you must visit on your weekend getaway:

  • Go for a historical tour of the Mathias Ham House

  • Catch a performance at the Five Flags Center

  • Discover Native American mounds at the Mines of Spain Recreation Area



2) Go To Lake Michigan In Chicago

Six hours drive from Minneapolis, Chicago is one of the best destinations for an exciting weekend trip. With a dose of scenic beauty, cultural attractions, and urban energy, Chicago would be one for the books when it comes to the best weekend getaways from Minneapolis.

So, start your weekend by visiting the iconic Lake Michigan. The water body presents the perfect backdrop for strolling the lakefront, renting bikes, and cruising along scenic paths. That’s not all this vibrant city has to offer! The thriving arts and culture Chicago scene is enough to inspire anyone, let alone art enthusiasts.

Make sure you visit the Art Institute of Chicago and the Museum of Contemporary Art. You can also explore the neighborhoods like Wicker Park and Logan Square, for vibrant street art.

Memorable weekend getaways to Chicago must have a touch of sports. Cheer on the Cubs at Wrigley Field or watch the Bulls at the United Center. The electric energy of the crowd will add an extra layer of excitement to your weekend.

Lake Michigan


3) Go For Some Nature

One of the best Minneapolis weekend getaways must include a nature trip. And what better destination than Decorah? Known for its natural beauty, Decorah has some of the best trails, lush greenery, and picturesque waterfalls.

The area is perfect for a nice picnic or even a fresh dip in any of the pools. If you are an outdoor enthusiast, don’t pass up the opportunity to kayak or canoe.

Tick off any of these parks and natural attractions in Decorah for the best weekend getaway:

  • Dunning’s Spring Park

  • Phelps Park

  • Twin Spring Park

  • Ice Cave

  • Trout Run Trail


4) Go For A Scenic Great River Road Trip

Discover the beauty of northern Minnesota along the St. Croix River on a relaxing drive. This epic road trip is filled with natural wonders and excitement, perfect for a group looking to unwind and rejuvenate.

As you cruise along the winding roads, you’ll be treated to breathtaking views of the river and surrounding landscapes. So don’t miss out on Instagram-worthy moments!

True to your best weekend getaways list, you might even spot wildlife on the way, before heading to fish or kayak in St. Croix River.


5) Explore Duluth

North Shore and the port city of Duluth offer a perfect blend of scenic beauty and outdoor escapes. Embark on the best weekend trips from Minneapolis to breathe in the fresh air and marvel at the scenic views of Lake Superior.

Duluth is also great for shopping. There are plenty of trendy boutiques, unique shops, and art galleries. However, most visitors head to this scenic destination to witness the iconic waterfront of Canal Park.

So for epic weekend getaways, make sure you catch the massive ships passing through the Aerial Lift Bridge as you enjoy the area’s bustling atmosphere.



6) Explore Hiking Trails At Voyageurs National Park

Pack your camera to capture the breathtaking landscapes of Voyageurs National Park. The park has an extensive network of hiking trails winding through the park. Enjoy the scenic overlooks to secluded lakeshores, each offering a unique experience and stunning views.

If hiking doesn’t cut it, how about some thrilling water activities? You can grab a kayak or canoe and paddle through the interconnected waterways of the park. Look for eagles, moose, or loons along the way. It’s also a great spot for anglers. Cast your line and try your luck in catching walleye, smallmouth bass, or northern pike.

You can find a comfortable and convenient stay at Northern Lights Resort & Outfitting, nestled in the heart of nature. The cabins provide a hip and personable atmosphere to truly enjoy nature at the park.

Voyageurs National Park


7) Try Canoeing In The Mississippi River

To truly break free from your normal routine, include thrilling water activities. And what better destination than the Mississippi River for the best weekend trips from Minneapolis?

Embark on one of the best weekend getaways by renting a canoe and set off on a relaxing journey along the Mississippi River. Keep an eye out for soaring eagles and playful otters! The surrounding wilderness is simply mind-blowing.


8) Go Biking At Eau Claire

Have you heard of the beautiful Chippewa River State Trail? It winds through picturesque forests, making it perfect for biking or hiking. So, if you want to get your adrenaline pumping, go for an outdoor experience in Eau Claire.

If you want to add an urban vibe to your trip, head to the vibrant downtown area. It’s filled with live music venues, trendy shops, and hip cafes. Often visitors plan their weekend getaways around its lively and vibrant festivals.

For music lovers, attend the Eaux Claires music festivals. There are several live performances by talented local musicians.

Eau Claire Biking


9) Enjoy Music At Green Bay

Green Bay is known for offering the best weekend getaways. The vibrant city in Wisconsin has the perfect combination of live music and urban adventures for an unforgettable trip.

Go to any of the hip music scenes to groove to the beats of local bands and national acts. There are plenty of acoustic performances and high-energy concerts to keep you entertained the entire weekend.

But there is more Green Bay offers than just music. The downtown district is packed with cool cafes, eclectic art galleries, and trendy shops.

If you don’t want to go shopping on your weekend trip, how about going to Fox River Trail? Here you can enjoy the outdoors by hiking or biking.

To make your trip even more interesting, visit Lambeau Field, the home of the Green Bay Packers. Tour the famous stadium and explore the Packers Hall of Fame to cheer on the team.

Live Music At Green Bay


10) Explore The Art Scene Of Des Moines

If you are looking for an escape, this city in Iowa is perfect for a relaxing weekend trip. It’s the ideal blend of hip experiences and cultural attractions, the vibrant destination would make for a perfect weekend destination.

Explore the local art scene by visiting the Des Moines Art Center or check out the street murals in East Village.

No visit to Des Moines is complete without exploring its food and drink scene. You can indulge in farm-to-table cuisine at hip restaurants that showcase fresh ingredients from the region. Yum!

The food will make the perfect base for you to indulge in beer or artisanal spirits from local breweries and distilleries. You should also hit up any of these Des Moines areas for a relaxing day:

  • Pappajohn Sculpture Park

  • Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden

  • Principal Park

  • Blank Park Zoo

Pappajohn Sculpture Park


11) Discover Hidden Coves In Bayfield

Looking for the gateway to the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore? How about visiting Bayfield? With a mix of outdoor fun and scenic views, the area has a stunning collection of rocky shores and pristine waters.

Book a boat tour and explore the secluded beaches and hidden coves. The crystal waters are perfect for snorkeling, swimming, and diving.

Apostle Islands National Lakeshore


12) Go For A Stroll At Two Harbors

Nestled on the shores of Lake Superior, Two Harbors offers lots of opportunities for adventure and relaxation to anyone looking for an escape. With its small-town charm, you will have a refreshing break from the bustling city.

Go for a relaxing stroll on the picturesque waterfront area as you take in the scenic views of Lake Superior. You can also rent a kayak or a paddleboat to explore the pristine waters. Or even try your hand at fishing.

Don’t leave Two Harbors before exploring any of these top attractions:

  • Split Rock Lighthouse

  • Two Harbors Lighthouse Museum

  • Stoney Point

  • Pierre the Pantsless Voyageur

Split Rock Lighthouse State Park


13) Go For Thrilling Water Adventures In Brainerd Lakes Area

For a scenic adventurous weekend road trip, make your way to Brainerd Lakes Area. A paradise for water enthusiasts, the area, offers plenty of thrilling water adventures. You can go boating, fishing, and jet skiing.

You can also explore trails winding through lush forests and pristine lakeshores. These routes are perfect for biking, hiking, and even off-road trips.

If any of you are adrenaline junkies, go to the Brainerd International Raceway for its drag racing and high-speed competitions.

Go-kart racing and zip line adventures are excellent for the perfect weekend road trip.

Brainerd Off-Road Trip


Plan The Best Weekend Trips From Minneapolis

Clearly, the options are endless when it comes to fun weekend road trips from Minneapolis. With a long weekend at your disposal, you have the perfect opportunity to escape the city and explore new adventures.

Don’t wait any longer – start planning a memorable adventure that will leave you craving more. The perfect way to spend time with your friends is just a short drive from Minneapolis. Get ready to explore Lake Minnetonka on one of our party boat tours!

1 hour 40 minutes
Group Size
Up to 14

Paddle Pub 1 and 2-Downtown Excelsior-2 Boats (20% Promo)

PaddleTap is proud to offer private tours on our only downtown Excelsior powered party boat! These one of a kind Pedal Pubs can be rented out on Excelsior Bay! Remember the "peddling" is 100% optional. You do not have to pedal if you don't want too!

Our Paddle Pub Party Boats, holds a maximum of 14 people! By combing both you have have up to 28 people. This is great for private cruises who want to depart out of the award winning downtown Excelsior which is only 20 minutes from Minneapolis! Our PaddlePub 1 and 2 boats both have gas motors, which makes peddling 100% optional! Only difference between the boats is PaddlePub 2 has a bathroom (recently added). If a bathroom is a must make sure to reserve that boat online!

Plenty of local bars and restaurant’s such as:
-Excelsior Brewing
-Haskells (also a liquor store for any last minute items)
-Lago Tacos or The Suburban that are walking distance from our pickup location!

This is definitely the spot on the lake with the most action. You can even see the famous “Big Island” on your cruise if you ask your captain!
What to know:

100 minutes long
Bluetooth music
Bathroom on PaddlePub 2 only (no bathroom on PaddlePub 1)
Departs out of Downtown Excelsior
250 square feet of usable room
Holds up to 14 guests
Pricing: $35-$49/person Private Cruise (10 or more required tickets to make it private)
25 HSP Gas Motor
Peddling (optional)
**20% OFF Promo on Private Paddle Pub Tours** (Code: Pub20)
**Discounted price gets private tours down to $30/person Sunday-Thursday and $39/person Friday/Saturday)

1 Reviews verify
1 hour 40 minutes
Group Size
Up to 18

TikiTap-Back Channel Brewing

Our 100 minute cruise our Tiki Pub (yes, its a Tiki Themed Party Pontoon Boat and has ZERO pedals) boat offer the perfect scenic escape! It's our #1 Boat Tour for Bachelorette Parties!

This is our newest boat on Lake Minnetonka for the season. This adventure is perfect for any corporate event, private birthday party or just for fun on a bachelorette or bachelor parties!

This is the newest and largest single boat we offer and is 26 feet long and almost 12 feet wide! This party boat includes comfortable bar stool seating around the custom tiki bar, and seating for maximum of 18 total guests with plenty of walking room around the almost 300 square foot deck.

Enjoy our one of a kind Tiki Themed bar to rest your beer, wine, or cocktails.

Do you have any worry about a bathroom? Don’t! this boat does come equipped with a full bathroom for you to use.

Worried about rain? Don’t! We have a large canopy that covers 70% of the TikiTap! If this boat is open, book it soon as this is for sure the first one to be reserved.

Things to Know:
What to know:

100 minutes long
Bluetooth music
Bathroom on board
Departs out of Back Channel Brewing in Spring Park
300 square feet of usable room
Holds up to 18 guests
Pricing: $35-$49/person Private Cruise (10 or more required tickets to make it private)
135 HSP Gas Motor

8 Reviews verify
1 hour 40 minutes
Group Size
Up to 18

LazyTap Double Deck-Back Channel Brewing (18 person boat)

PaddleTap’s #1 boat tour! For the people who like to take it easy on the lake! Our LazyTap Party Boat ride has your name written all over it. This is our only double deck party boat that is massive! PaddleTap offers one boat for 2024. This boat can hold up to 18 guests!

Both boats offers two levels and covers at least 300 of deck space on the main level with an additional 100 square feet on the upper deck! This boat has zero pedals and is the true lazy experience that can hold up to 18 total guests!

These boats offer a private party bar down the middle for you to load up with your own drinks and bench seating all the way down on both sides.

We have a large wide open space in the front where people can move around and take in the views, or sit in our comfy seating all around.

This is our only boat that can allow swimming (on requests) which has a ZERO alcohol policy. If you want to swim no alcohol is allowed. but it still does only last 100 minutes. If you do choose to swim, we limit it to four people at one time and must wear a life jacket (provided) BUT ZERO ALCOHOL. Swimming on our LazyTap is only allowed out of Back Channel. We do not allow it out of Downtown Excelsior.

The LazyTap has a large 150 HSP motor, we can cover a fair amount of lake to enjoy everything that Lake Minnetonka offers! Our pickups are out of Back Channel Brewing, Lord Fletchers, Downtown Excelsior or Wayzata.
What to know:

Private boat captain
100 minutes long
Bluetooth music
Bathroom on board
Departs out of Back Channel Brewing in Spring Park
400 square feet of usable room (two levels)
Holds up to 14-18 guests (depending on the boat you select)
Pricing: $39-$45/person Private Cruise (10 or more required tickets to make it private)
*$4/more a person from July 12th-August 4th 2024*
150 HSP Gas Motor
Zero Pedals (not even an option here)

22 Reviews verify
2 hours 30 minutes
Group Size
10 to 18

2.5 hour Private Tour-Private Tour Back Channel Brewing (18 max)

PaddleTaps longest tour of the season-2 hours and 30 minutes! This tour is new for 2024, and only being offered starting in June of 2024.

Explore Lake Minnetonka in the fall where the leaves start changing. Explore the channels and bays that the larger charter boats cannot offer. Bring your own beverages, some snacks and let us drive you around West Arm/Seaton Channel/Cooks Bay for 2.5 hour on the water, our longest cruises of the year! We will get up and close to some of the best fall colors Lake Minnetonka offers. This tour will have a bathroom on board as well with bluetooth music.

This tour will either be on our largest 30 foot LazyTap double deck boat, or the 25 foot TikiTap boat. Depending on boat availability with other tours being offered"

Pricing is $70/person for the 2.5 hours, and private bookings require 8 tickets to be purchased as a down-payments are utlizied before the season starts to reserve your boat. But you are more than welcome to book as many seats as you need up to the boat maximum of 18 guests.

1 hour 40 minutes
Group Size
Up to 14

Small Group/Public Tour (All Boats)

Do you have a smaller group? Or just don't want to rent the entire boat? Book our per seat boating option! Perfect for those smaller groups who still want to go out and celebrate that Birthday/Bachelorette or even just a night out! This option does have a requirement of of 6 guests to guarantee it will go out. But you only pay for as many seats as you want. This option is not guaranteed private, and it is very likely you will be paired with other people! (we offer private cruises that start with 8 ppl-18 ppl)

This public option is only available out of our Back Channel Brewing Location (LazyTap or TikiPubs) and downtown Excelsior on our original Pedal Pub Boat Cruise.

1 hour 40 minutes
Group Size
Up to 18

Private Tours (All Boats) *20% off Sale for PaddlePub Boats Only*

PaddleTap is proud to offer private tours on all of our party boats! These one-of-a-kind Tiki Boats, Pedal Pubs, or Party Pontoons can be rented out on Excelsior Bay or Seaton Channel! Enjoy a boat cruise on Lake Minnetonka!

Take a peek at all our boating options and which locations they start from. You will truly love this experience for any Bachelorette, Birthday or Corporate outing!

All private tours are charged on a per person fee. Prices range from $35-$39/person Monday-Wednesday and $35-$45/person Thursday-Sunday with a $4/increase for prime summer on all tickets in July. 10 Tickets or more are required to reserve a private boat. We have a public option that is $55/person if you have less than 10.

Our Lowest cost boat is our Original PaddlePub out of downtown Excelsior ($35/person) the rest of our boats are closer to $39-45 most days

2 to 3 hours
Group Size
2 to 12

Electric Duffy Boat Rental (Downtown Excelsior)

Enjoy the newest boat rental on Lake Minnetonka. Departing daily out of downtown Excelsior. Walking distance from many local bars and restaurants. Enjoy the only eco friendly, battery operated Duffy boat rentals on Lake Minnetonka. Slowly cruise around Excelsior bay in style and enjoy the calm waters of the no wake areas of St. Albans and Excelsior Bay. This boat does not have a boat captain provided, and the renter is required to drive the boat. Don't worry about an agenda and drive at your own pace. Boat rentals are allowed for small groups and large groups. Large groups can hold up to 12 guests. As pricing is based off of the boat and if you want a small or large group rental. Rentals can last anywhere from 2-3 hour long, you decide when you book! For more information checkout our sister company www.Electricshores.co to learn more!