Chanhassen Area Family Fun: 8 Close-To-Home Parks to Explore This Summer

This week we are moving to the far southwest edge of the Twin Cities Metro. Where can you go for Chanhassen Area family fun? This is such a beautiful section of the Twin Cities. While there are quite a few parks to choose between, our picks, spanning Chanhassen, Chaska, Eden Prairie, Excelsior, Shorewood and Victoria, offer families the opportunity to spread out and enjoy your family.

1.  Book a Summer Picnic at Tanadoona

This is a rare opportunity because of COVID-19 restrictions. If this is of interest to you, we recommend booking soon.

Usually a summer camp site, Tanadoona is a 103-acre acre that has opened up for private picnic reservations during the summer of 2020. Picnic reservations cost $45/group (up to 10 people) and include a private picnic area (which is your home base during your visit) and a camp-in-a-bag activities package. Families can bring a picnic and explore Tanadoona’s trails, games, and common areas. 

  • Availability: Wednesdays-Sundays from July 8th-September 4th.  Two time slot options: 11am-2pm or 4pm-7pm.
  • Location: 3300 Tanadoona Dr, Excelsior, MN, 55331
  • Admission: $45 per group of up to 10 people.

Learn More: email; call 612-235-7284 or register online.

2. Tour The Minnesota Landscape Arboretum

While the arboretum’s buildings are still closed to the public, tickets are available to enjoy the select areas  of the grounds. Everyone, including members and children, must reserve their tickets in advance.

Families can choose between designated walking paths or a drive through the arboretum grounds. Tickets for non-member adults are $15; members and children are free, but still require an advanced ticket.

Learn MoreMinnesota Landscape Arboretum

Minnesota Landscape Arboretum - Chanhassen Area Family Fun: 10 Close-To-Home Parks to Explore This Summer
Buildings are closed, but outdoor gardens are blooming!

3.  Enjoy the Good Water of Minnewashta Regional Park

Find out why the Dakota referred to this lake as good water. Enjoy the beach, which is guarded — even in 2020, rent a canoe or kayak or bring your fishing gear. There are also hiking and biking paths, a great play area, and space to picnic. You can enjoy a full day of fun at this park.

Learn More: 10 Ideas for Family Fun at Lake Minnewashta Regional Park

Lake Minnewasta Beach
Image courtesy of Carver County

4.  Make it a Day on the Lake at Excelsior Commons

The beach will be unguarded in 2020 and, as of yet, concerts have not been announced for this summer. The Excelsior Streetcar is closed this summer.

If you love the feel of a bustling resort, enjoy the lovely Lake Minnetonka for an afternoon at the Port of Excelsior. You can hit the beach, picnic, play on the playground or stroll along the charming shops of Downtown Excelsior. You could make it extra special with a cruise on the steamboat Minnehaha. Do all of this without ever leaving the Twin Cities.

Learn MoreThe Commons and Port of Excelsior

The Commons and Port of Excelsior
10,000 Lakes Concours d’Elegance at The Commons and Port of Excelsior

5.  Get Lost in the Quiet Beauty of Lake Ann Park

Chanhassen’s Lake Ann Park page did not update swimming hours for 2020, however, it is opened and guarded from 11am to 6pm daily through August 16th.

Some reviewers have found Excelsior Commons a bit too busy. If you are looking for a pristine, quiet park, there is plenty to love about the natural peace of Lake Ann Park. The no-wake lake does not allow motorized boats, so it is delivers on both of these criteria. This 102-acre park offers plenty of beautiful nature to explore and a quiet fishing lake.

Learn MoreLake Ann Park

Lake Ann Park Beach
Image courtesy City of Chanhassen

6.  Bike or Hike the Rice Marsh Lake Park Trail Loop

The bituminous trail is approximately 3½ miles around. It is built for use by pedestrians and cyclists and meanders through natural areas, including forests, meadows and wetlands. 

Learn More7 Ideas for Family Fun at Rice Marsh Lake Park

Rice Marsh Lake Park
Click here for a printable PDF map of the Rice Marsh Lake Trail

7.  Take A Step Back in History at Carver Park Reserve, Victoria

Lowry Nature Center is closed to the public but does host regular nature programming this summer.

While the Grimm Farm House itself is only open for special events, it can still be fun to walk the grounds. Bring an old-fashioned picnic. If you have archery equipment, bring it along, use of the archery range is $6/day or you can buy an annual pass. When you need a playground break, head up to the Lowry Nature Center area.

Learn MoreCarver Park Reserve, VictoriaLowry Nature Center, Victoria

8.  Plan a Field Day at Freeman Park, Shorewood

The open spaces of the sports fields just scream for a field day complete with a BBQ picnic. Why wait for a group, just pack up the kids and do it on your own schedule. If you live close enough, you could spread out the competitions over a number of days.

Learn More: 10 Ideas for Family Field Day at Freeman Park

Freeman Park in Shoreview
Image courtesy City of Shorewood Facebook

What did we miss? What is your favorite Chanhassen Area Family Fun park? Leave us a message and we’ll share your suggestions with the community.

More Close-To-Home Park Articles

  1. Burnsville Family Fun: 9 Close-To-Home Parks To Explore This Summer
  2. Eagan Family Fun: 10 Close-To-Home Parks to Explore This Summer
  3. Maple Grove Family Fun: 10 Close-To-Home Parks to Explore This Summer
  4. Minneapolis Parks Nearby Nature Activities: Summer 2020
  5. Roseville Family Fun: 10 Close-To-Home Parks to Explore This Summer
  6. Woodbury Family Fun: 19 Close-To-Home Parks to Explore This Summer


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top