The Chisago Lakes area in Central Minnesota is a diverse community filled with fun outdoor adventures, charming main streets, yummy eats, and some of the most friendly locals around. Just 40 minutes from the Twin Cities, Chisago Lakes is a great place for a day trip or weekend getaway. In fact, those planning a multigenerational trip or a girls’ trip to Chisago Lakes are in for a real treat! I recently visited Chisago Lakes with my grandma, mom, and daughter – four generations of fun and giggles – for a lovely weekend getaway. With Lindström as our anchor, we explored all the area had to offer, from hiking and wineries to scenic boat cruises down the St. Croix River. To help you plan your own weekend trip to Chisago Lakes, I’ve rounded up all the fun things we did in this 3-Day Chisago Lakes Itinerary for a Multigenerational Girls’ Trip.
Day 1 in Chisago Lakes
Welcome to Chisago Lakes! I am so excited that you will spend a weekend exploring this charming community with some of your favorite travel buddies. I hope that you love it as much as we did. Here’s what you will do on day one of this Chisago Lakes itinerary.
Get Settled in Your Accommodations
First, get settled into your accommodations. There are a lot of lodging options in Chisago Lakes to choose from. In fact, the community has everything from cabins and home rentals to traditional hotels and camping. Whatever option you need for your travel crew during your Chisago Lakes multigenerational girls’ weekend trip, they have it!
If You Have Time: Go for a Walk at Allemansrätt Park
If you arrive early in the day and you have time for an activity before dinner, head to Allemansrätt Park. This wilderness and Swedish heritage park is one of the best outdoor activities in Chisago Lakes! A popular spot for fishing, there are also many hiking trails to explore. Here, you can walk amongst huge trees, glacial eskers, and wetlands – almost always with lake views in sight (there are three lakes within the park!). Keep your eyes out, because tons of birds and animals call this park home. Lucky visitors may even catch a glimpse of a beaver or muskrat (we did!). Canoeing and kayaking are also allowed on the lakes. Finally, there are restrooms/portable toilets on-site for those that need them.
If You Have Time: Drinks at Uncommon Loon Brewing Company in Chisago City
If you have more time before dinner and want to get a before-dinner drink to kick off your weekend in Chisago Lakes, head to Uncommon Loon Brewing Company. Located in Chisago City, this brewery is family and dog friendly. There is plenty of seating inside, as well as an outdoor patio during the summer season. While there is no prepared food here, you can find a few packaged snack options or bring your own. Take a peak at the brewery, then grab an uncommonly-fun-named drink to enjoy in the tap room or patio!
Dinner at The Stone Inn in Chisago City
When you’re ready for dinner, spend your first night in Chisago Lakes at The Stone Inn. If you’ve had a drink or two at Uncommon Loon beforehand, you’ll be happy to know you can just walk right next door.
The spacious dining room and bar area offer the perfect place to end your first night in Chisago Lakes. With locally sourced ingredients and seasonal menu items, The Stone Inn will surely please everyone in your group (even if you’re traveling with picky eaters). There is a kids’ menu and an extensive dinner menu featuring everything from burgers and sandwiches to broasted chicken and fish entrees. Don’t forget to save room for dessert!
Day 2 in Chisago Lakes
Day two in Chisago Lakes is all about exploring like a local. From historic main streets to family-friendly restaurants and wineries, your group will love getting to know these local gems. Undoubtedly, if you’re spending a girls’ getaway in Chisago Lakes, these activities promise fun times, lots of laughter, and endless opportunities to connect with one another. Keep reading to discover what to do on this Chisago Lakes itinerary on day two.
Breakfast + Coffee at Northwoods Roasterie in Lindström
Start day two with breakfast and coffee at Northwoods Roasterie. Located in downtown Lindström, you will find plenty of cozy seating options, including a lovely outdoor deck. Breakfast includes menu items like bagel sandwiches and oatmeal. Coffee options range from specialty drinks to freshly roasted coffee and non-espresso alternatives like tea and hot chocolate. After breakfast, be sure to peek into the roastery to see where all the caffeinated magic happens!
Alternatively, if you want a full breakfast to start your day, you can get breakfast at The Swedish Inn in Lindström.
Do a Little Shopping in Lindström
After breakfast, head to downtown Lindström for a little retail action (keep in mind that many shops are closed Sunday mornings). Shopping is a must on any Chisago Lakes itinerary for a multigenerational girls’ trip! While you meander the historic downtown area, you can enjoy views of the iconic Swedish coffee pot water tower and other statues and murals between shops. When you’re ready to shop, there are plenty of options! Consider Lindstrom Antique Mall for antiquing, The Oven Mitt for cute kitchen finds, and In the Moment Boutique for unique gifts and locally-inspired treasures. Then, further down the main street, Glädje and Picket Fence Gals put you right next to today’s lunch stop! Finally, those with time should pop over to Sven Clogs in Chisago City to grab a new pair of handcrafted clogs (trust us, they are so comfortable!).
Grab Lunch at Gustaf’s On Main Eatery in Lindström
Located in one of the most historic houses in Chisago Lakes , Gustaf’s On Main Eatery is a must-try when visiting this area. With friendly services and dining on two floors, this eatery is located in the Gustaf Anderson House, a site on the National Register of Historic Places! The menu features Scandinavian-inspired favorites like Swedish pancakes, as well as locally-inspired sandwiches and salads with seasonal ingredients. Each menu item also features fresh, high-quality ingredients to satisfy every palate. There is a kids’ menu available too. Finally, if you plan your weekend right, you can also add one of Gutaf’s Tea Parties to your Chisago Lakes itinerary.
Spend the Afternoon at a Winery
Next on this Chisago Lakes itinerary is an afternoon at one of the two breathtaking wineries in the area! There are two great options in Chisago Lakes, Winehaven Winery in Chisago City and Wild Mountain Winery in Taylors Falls. Choose the one that fits your weekend itinerary, or try them both! Both wineries are family-friendly and offer some food options. Here is a little bit about each winery to help you decide which one to choose.
A family-owned vineyard featuring a variety of wines, Winehaven Winery, is nestled in a stunning hillside setting with a lake view! Grab a table inside, or enjoy one of the outdoor tables on a sunny day. Wine flights come in an artful tower formation and include four samples of your choice. Alternatively, wine slushies and other drinks (including non-alcoholic drinks) are available. While you sample the wine, you can also munch on wood-fired pizza or a cheese plate in a chic environment. Be sure to check their events calendar for live music and other fun festivities. Finally, please note that they do not allow any outside food or drink.
Wild Mountain Winery
Located at one of the highest points in Chisago Lakes, this family-owned winery offers sweeping views of the valley below. The indoor tasting room and outdoor patio near the vineyard provide a relaxed atmosphere. Wine flights are served on a small wooden frame, and even feature specially-designed flights for those who prefer reds, whites, or sweet wines. They also offer wood-fired pizza (on summer Saturdays), cheese plates, and packaged snacks. Stick around, because you can also find plenty of fun games in the tasting room to play! This winery does allow outside food. Finally, check their music and events calendar to see what’s happening during your visit.
Alternative Activity: Franconia Sculpture Garden
If wineries aren’t your thing and you’re looking for an alternative activity for your Chisago Lakes itinerary, you can check out Franconia Sculpture Garden instead! This 50-acre outdoor sculpture park is the perfect spot for an afternoon of fun in the sun! Very walkable, the park features a unique variety of art installations, including interactive pieces. Challenge everyone in your group to find their favorite sculpture! Some of our favorites included the interactive swing piece near the entrance, the huge “X sculpture” in the middle of the park, and the multi-colored glass hill. Make it an even more unique experience by seeing if a golf cart is available to see the grounds during your visit (first come, first served). Undoubtedly, this is one of the most unique things to do in Chisago Lakes!
Dinner at The Northern Lake Tavern & Grill in Chisago City
End your day with dinner at The Northern Lake Tavern & Grill. Featuring gorgeous views of Lake Martha and a vibrant dining room, The Northern Lake Tavern & Grill also offers an extensive menu of mouthwatering appetizers and entrees. To start, enjoy a basket of frickles (fried pickles) or cheese curds. For dinner, you are spoiled for choice with menu items like salads, sandwiches and wraps, flatbread pizzas, burgers, tacos, and more! Then, if you’re traveling with kids, they can enjoy menu items designed just for them, like grilled cheese and mini corn dogs. Regardless of your tastes, there is a menu item or two that will leave you full and satisfied at the end of a fun day of exploring the Chisago Lakes area.
Day 3 in Chisago Lakes
Before leaving, day three of this Chisago Lakes itinerary is all about taking in the unparalleled beauty of this Central Minnesota community. From the stunning lakes of Chisago City and Lindström to the scenic St. Croix River Valley around Taylors Falls, this area will leave you captivated by the diverse landscapes nestled in one little community.
Coffee + Breakfast at Coffee Talk in Taylors Falls
Start your morning in Taylors Falls with a light breakfast and coffee at Coffee Talk. There is plenty of seating inside (including an upstairs), as well as an intimate front porch for those who want to enjoy their coffee outside. Famous for their morning buns, you’ll want to arrive early to ensure you snag one of the delicious rotating flavors (like raspberry or almond). Pair your morning bun with a coffee or signature drink to kick off your final day in Chisago Lakes. If you want to stay a while, they also have card games available near the counter!
If you need a full breakfast to start your day, The Swedish Inn in Lindström is a great alternative!
If You Have Time: Go for a Walk in Interstate State Park
After breakfast, head to Interstate State Park. If you have time for a morning hike, embark on one of the trail options. If not, check in for your scenic boat cruise with Taylors Falls Scenic Boat Tours, which departs from Interstate State Park.
Interstate State Park is Minnesota’s second oldest state park – and the nation’s first interstate (Minnesota and Wisconsin) park. If you only have a bit of time before your scenic boat tour departs, head to the Glacial Potholes Area. Here, you can take a peek into the world’s deepest-explored glacial pothole! Those with more time can explore 4 miles of hiking trails in search of exposed lava flows and local birds and wildlife. There is even a wheelchair-accessible trail, a one-half-mile loop in the picnic area. This park is also popular amongst rock climbers, which is fun to watch (or to participate in!).
Go on a Scenic Boat Cruise
Seasonally open May through October, Taylors Falls Scenic Boat Tours is a must on any Chisago Lakes itinerary for a multigenerational girls’ trip! Select from a 45- or 80-minute cruise to enjoy unique views of the St. Croix River aboard a boat powered by its iconic red paddlewheel. They even offer twilight, sundown, and holiday cruise options (think Mother’s Day and Father’s Day). Each cruise includes a narrated tour of the history and rock formations you’ll see along the river. You can sit inside or on the upper deck (which is covered); both options provide panoramic views of the stunning rock formations and the beautiful river. During our weekend getaway, this was one of the highlights of our trip! There are light concessions and restrooms aboard. Finally, don’t miss getting a group picture while on board.
Lunch at Juneberry Cafe
After your boat tour, grab lunch at Juneberry Cafe. Serving fresh-made, seasonally-inspired menu items, you can dine inside or take it to go to enjoy it at a local park (like back at Interstate State Park or at Heritage Park). Alternatively, you can also grab lunch and head up to Wild Mountain Winery for a tasting and live music on their outdoor patio (if you didn’t choose this winery on day two). Lunch menu items at Juneberry Cafe include yummy pressed sandwiches (like turkey pesto with fresh mozzarella or ham & swiss), farm-fresh salads, and a few grab-and-go items. Those coming from the Minneapolis area will also adore that they serve Sebastian Joe’s ice cream!
Try Your Hand at Mini Golf
After lunch, grab your putter and a colorful ball and get ready for a mini-golfing adventure. As one of the best summer things to do in Chisago Lakes, Adventure Falls Mini Golf offers an exciting 18-hole course tucked behind The Drive-In in Taylors Falls. It is a local summer tradition that can’t be missed! Everyone in your group, from young to old, will delight in challenging each other to score a hole-in-one. Each green feature a unique design, including one with a three-level putt. Plus, there are hidden holes, streams, waterfalls, and other fun details. Indeed, it’s the perfect activity to end your girls’ weekend in Chisago Lakes!
Milkshakes at The Drive-In in Taylors Falls
After mini-golfing, you can head next door to The Drive-In (seasonally open mid-April through mid-October) and enjoy a cold drink, delicious food, or a refreshing milkshake. Locally owned and operated since 1956, this classic drive-in still features poodle skirts, homemade root beer, and American fare that promises to please all taste buds. If you’re ready for dinner, grab an outdoor table to much on nostalgic favorites like hand-packed burgers and fries. Alternatively, those not quite ready for dinner can enjoy rootbeer floats, milkshakes, or ice cream cones to celebrate their mini-golf victories. Undoubtedly, this is one of the best things to do in Chisago Lakes during the summer!
A Few More Things to Do in Chisago Lakes
If you have room in your itinerary, you may be looking for a few more things to do in Chisago Lakes. If that’s the case, consider adding one of the following to your weekend getaway:
- Wild River State Park near Almelund offers over 30 miles of hiking trails, including accessible paved trails for strollers and wheelchair users.
- Beach Park + Playground in Lindström is located right on the water and features a sandy swimming beach, a fishing pier, a playground, picnic tables, sand volleyball, and more. Perfect for a fun, low-key afternoon in the sun!
- Rent a Canoe or Kayak: Taylors Falls Canoe & Kayak Rental and Captain Shawn’s Charters and Boat Rental both offer canoe and kayak rentals to explore the waterways in the Chisago Lakes area.
- Friends of the Karl Oskar House/Nya Duvemåla in Lindström is open to the public on Sunday afternoons. It’s a lovely option for those interested in learning more about the Swedish heritage of the area and Swedish novelist Vilhelm Moberg.
- Gammelgarden Museum in Scandia is a great place to learn about the Swedish immigrants who settled in the Chisago Lakes area.
- Farmaste Animal Sanctuary in Lindström offers farm tours and special girls’ night events on their 30-acre farm, including plenty of opportunities to connect with the animals.
Don’t Forget to Check the Seasonal Activities
While planning your own weekend getaway Chisago Lakes itinerary, don’t forget to check their Calendar of Events! The community has exciting events happening throughout the year that will appeal to your group, like the St. Croix Pottery Tour in May, the Almelund Threshing Show in August, a summer concert series, weekend farmer’s markets, and much more! Check the calendar to add any of the fun events or festivals happening during your visit to your Chisago Lakes itinerary.
Enjoy Your Weekend in Chisago Lakes!
I hope you found this itinerary helpful in planning your weekend trip to Chisago Lakes! Whether you need an itinerary for a girls’ trip, a multigenerational group, or a family with kids, I think you will find much to love in this 3-day itinerary for Chisago Lakes – we sure did! Indeed, we can’t wait to plan another weekend away soon.