9 Twin Cities Waterfalls to Visit With Kids

Boy viewing waterfall from nearby rock formation - 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, Fairy Falls Rd N, Stillwater, Minnesota 55082
2022 update: temporarily closed, does anyone have a 2023 update?

Hidden Falls

Hidden Falls Regional Park  1313 Hidden Falls Dr, 1313 Hidden Falls Dr, St Paul, MN 55116
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.

Lyndale Park

1300 West 42nd Street, Minneapolis, MN 55409
The peace garden has a small, rocky waterfall. Many of the rocks in this garden are Oneonta dolomite rocks collected from the Mississippi River bluffs in Wisconsin, collected in the 1920s by Minneapolis park horticulturist, Louis Boeglin. Learn more about that here.

Maple Grove Arboretum

9400 Fernbrook Lane N, Maple Grove, MN 55369
The waterfall is a  10-15 minute walk from the parking lot on a paved trail.

Minnehaha Falls

4801 S Minnehaha Park Drive, Minneapolis, MN 55417
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, MN 55401
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. Ask for a JUNIOR RANGER Activity Book at the St. Anthony Falls Visitor Center during your visit. Kids can earn a badge for completion.
  • 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 Street E, Hastings, MN 55033
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!

Westwood Hills Nature Center

8300 W Franklin Ave, St Louis Park, MN 55426

Westwood Hills 6-foot waterfall is viewable from an observation deck above the falls and water garden. Pack a picnic and make a day exploring the trails, playing on the nature playground and visiting the nature center.

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

101 N Cascade St, Osceola, WI 54020
ETA: 1 hour

Hidden Falls

Nerstrand Big Woods State Park, 9700 170th St E, Nerstrand, MN 55053
ETA: 1 hour

Lagoon Park Waterfall

300 Park Dr, Jordan, MN 55352
ETA: 35 minutes

Minneopa Falls

54497 Gadwall Rd, Mankato, MN 56001
ETA: 1 hour, 17 minutes

Minnemishinona Falls

40923 Judson Bottom Road, North Mankato, MN 56003
ETA: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Wolf Creek Falls

Banning State Park, 61101 Banning Park Rd, Sandstone, MN 55072
ETA: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Ramsey Falls

Alexander Ramsey Park, 99 E Oak St, Redwood Falls, MN 56283
ETA: 2 hours

Minnesota’s Tallest Waterfall!

Minnesota’s tallest waterfall is a good 5-hour drive from the Twin Cities in Grand Portage National Park. There is so much to do at this park, that it may be worth a special road trip and campout to visit.

The Minnesota DNR actually recommends 10 State Park in the North Shore Area for viewing Minnesota’s Best Waterfalls, as well as a recommended weekend itinerary for viewing them all. These North Shore State Parks include:

  • Banning State Park
  • Cascade River State Park
  • George Crosby Manitou State Park
  • Gooseberry Falls State Park
  • Grand Portage State Park
  • Judge C.R. Magney State Park
  • Minneopa State Park
  • Nerstrand Big Woods State Park
  • Temperance River State Park
  • Tettegouche State Park
Meet the 6 National Parks of Minnesota

Leave a Comment

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

Scroll to Top