8 Twin Cities Waterfalls to Visit With Kids

Visitors to the Twin Cities love to view the famous, thundering Minnehaha Falls, but there are other nearby waterfalls in the Twin Cities worth checking out — some you can get up close to, others are majestic landmarks to view from a safe distance. Add these Twin Cities waterfalls to your summer checklist.

Twin Cities Waterfalls

Fairy Falls

Saint Croix National Scenic Riverway, Stillwater
2021 update: temporarily closed

Hidden Falls

Hidden Falls Regional Park  1313 Hidden Falls Dr, St. Paul
This beautiful park hosts a sweet little spring-fed waterfall that isn’t as well-known as some of its counterparts, but it’s a fun hike to see and you could enjoy some fishing along the Mississippi River in HIDDEN FALLS REGIONAL PARK.

Maple Grove Arboretum

9400 Fernbrook Lane N, Maple Grove
The waterfall is a a 10-15 walk from the parking lot on a paved trail.

Minnehaha Falls

4801 S Minnehaha Park Dr, Minneapolis
The most picturesque and famous waterfall in Minneapolis has trails above it and along the river below it. My kids love to descend the stairs to the creek and find the calm wading spot downstream on a hot day. Cap off your visit with a scoop of ice cream at Sebastian Joe’s – located within Sea Salt Eatery in the park pavilion. You pay a small fee for parking, but the park is beautiful and worth the time.

More family fun nearby:

  • The WABUN PICNIC AREA has a beautiful, zero-depth entry wading pool with splash features and a fun new playground.
  • Plans are currently in the works to re-open the historic MINNEHAHA DEPOT for Sunday tours.
Minnehaha Falls in Minneapolis Minnesota
Minnehaha Falls

Saint Anthony Falls 

1 Portland Ave, Minneapolis
The most iconic Minneapolis waterfall looks like an industrialized waterslide because in its history it has needed major repairs.  It may not be the most beautiful waterfall, but it’s got a lot of history. You can get the best view of the waterfall from the STONE ARCH BRDIGE – stroll across from MILL RUINS PARK to FATHER HENNEPIN BLUFF PARK.

More family fun nearby:

  • Stop in for a tour of ST ANTHONY FALLS LOCK & DAM – offered daily at 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. during the 2021 summer season. Our kids have enjoyed the hands-on exhibits in the visitor center.
  • MILL CITY MUSEUM boasts tons of fun exhibits for kids and it’s an easy walk from the Falls viewing area.

Shadow Falls

30 N Mississippi River Blvd, St Paul, MN 55104
Part of the Great River Passageway and along one Anne’s Favorite St Paul Bike Trails for Families, this scenic park offers space to picnic, picture-perfect panoramas of the Mississippi River, and a beautiful waterfall that cascades over sandstone and limestone. Be careful on your way down to view this truly hidden waterfall; keep little ones close.

Kids exploring Shadow Falls in St. Paul Minnesota
Shadow Falls Park

Vermillion Falls

215 21st St. E, Hastings
This river and thundering waterfall is probably one of the prettiest features of Hastings.  It’s approximately a 40-minute drive southeast of the metro and worth the drive. Take us at our word and stop in at the HASTINGS DAIRY STORE for their amazing chocolate shakes – small shakes are less than $2!

Willow Falls

Willow River State Park 1034 Co Hwy A, Hudson, WI
These falls are a local treat just east of the Minnesota/Wisconsin border. The hike from the parking lot to the waterfall is about a half mile on a paved trail. Part of it is a fairly steep decline (that you will have to walk up on the way back).  But it is worth it! This trip was what ignited an interest in my 11-year-old daughter to find more gorgeous Twin Cities waterfalls this summer. We actually hiked it in October – the fall colors were splendid. Just be warned that this waterfall destination is very popular on a beautiful weekend. Wisconsin State Park Pass required.

6 More Waterfalls Within Two Hours

Cascade Falls

Osceola, WI
ETA: 1 hour

Hidden Falls

Nerstrand Big Woods State Park, Nerstrand, MN
ETA: 1 hour

Minneopa Falls

Mankato, MN
ETA: 1 hour, 17 minutes

Minnemishinona Falls

Mankato, MN
ETA: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Wolf Creek Falls

Sandstone, MN
ETA: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Ramsey Falls

Redwood Falls, MN
ETA: 2 hours

 

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