Lake Superior Fishing

Best Great Lakes Vacation Spots this Summer

Duluth is one of the best Great Lakes vacation spots for good reason. No matter your interests, Duluth has something you will enjoy. We encourage you to book a Vista Fleet sightseeing or dinner cruise as part of your visit. However, before and after the cruise, check out a plethora of attractions and dining and shopping options. Many of these locations partner with us each year and are highly regarded across Minnesota and the U.S.


Downtown Lake Walk

Don’t let our nickname, Land of 1,000 Lakes, overwhelm you. If you pace yourself, you’ll have plenty of time to take in every lake view and nearby sight you’d like. We recommend starting with a downtown lake walk, perhaps in Canal Park, which serves as a gateway to Park Point and to many shopping, picnicking, and exploring options in the city. Pack a hearty lunch and take in beautiful views while eating with the lake breeze blowing over your face. Pick up Duluth souvenirs, or get your exercise in with a hike or walk along our many scenic trails.


The Duluth Playhouse

Most vacation destinations offer shows, and Duluth is no exception. The Duluth Playhouse is the perfect stop for theatergoers, offering shows for children, families, and adults. Call or email the box office ahead of time to learn what’s playing during your stay. This spring and summer, productions include Billy Elliot: The Musical, Time Stands Still, and La Cage aux Folles. For other shows, including concerts, check out the nearby Convention Center.


Glensheen, the Historic Congdon Estate

Glensheen is Duluth’s answer to Asheville’s Biltmore Estate. Built between 1905 and 1908 in the Jacobean style, the estate includes 39 rooms and beautiful grounds, with terraced gardens and English-style landscapes. You can come for an hour-long house tour or a tour of the grounds, or make a day of it and do both. You can also rent Glensheen for parties, weddings, or dinners; call ahead for options.


The Great Lakes Aquarium

The Great Lakes Aquarium gives Duluth’s visitors the opportunity to see marine life, and learn about and interact with it. Home to more than 200 species of fish, reptiles, amphibians, and birds, the Great Lakes Aquarium is one of the most versatile and well known in Minnesota. You and your family can touch stingrays, feed rainbow trout, and get an up-close look at some sharks. A popular exhibit is Shipwrecks Alive, which shows marine animals like coral making a new home out of old shipwrecks.


Fine Dining

Plenty of sightseeing is sure to make you hungry, so along with our dinner cruises, Vista Fleet recommends visiting one of our partnering restaurants. Try Bellisio’s Restaurant for authentic Italian fare – the owner is actually from the village the restaurant is named after, and each handcrafted recipe is imported. For American food with a twist, try the Duluth Grill, home to familiar fare and unique dishes like the When Pigs Fly Bacon Sundae.


Adventure Zone and Spirit Mountain Adventure Park

Shake up your vacation and get your adrenaline pumping at two of Duluth’s most adventurous attractions. Located in Canal Park, Adventure Zone is a highly kid-friendly destination where your children can play laser tag and mini golf and try their hand at rock-climbing. For more adventure, take the family to Spirit Mountain Adventure Park, home of the 3,200-foot Alpine Timber Twister Roller Coaster, a zip line, chair lift rides, and other attractions.


Vista Fleet Cruises

Finally, don’t leave Duluth without booking a luxurious Vista Fleet cruise. We offer sightseeing and dinner cruises for every vacationing group, from couples to families. Enjoy a scrumptious meal while taking in beautiful lake views, or simply see everything Duluth has to offer from one of our lovely vessels.

Get more ideas on what to do on the Duluth Travel Guide.