Take A Little Trip: Winona, MN

Winona, take a little trip, winona mn, Minnesota, rochester mn moms blog

Just a quick jaunt away east on Highway 14 from Rochester will take you to Winona, one of my favorite places in Minnesota.  I grew up next to Lake Superior, and living in Rochester definitely has made me miss the opportunities that living next to water provides.  Winona fills a part of that void for me. It’s a robust college town on the banks of the Mississippi River, which gives it a special combination of outdoor activities, community events, and scenic beauty.  And, as a bonus, it’s only about a 40 minute drive from Rochester.  My family is lucky, because we have a pocket of wonderful friends who live in Winona, and have introduced us to river life and events in the city.

Be Active

Winona offers many outdoor activities, including several hillside parks to hike and trail loops to bike.  Some local hiking favorites are Garvin Heights City Park, and Brady’s Bluff State Park. You can also hike to the infamous Sugar Loaf Bluff, the icon of Winona. If you are into kayaking or canoeing, there are several backwater Mississippi launch pads, and you can rent equipment right from Winona State.  Perhaps your kiddos want to try rock climbing or bouldering. Winona State also offers a Climbing Center with affordable rates and opportunities for classes. Even your littlest climber can give it a try!

Winona Indoor Rock Climbing, winona, take a little trip, winona mn, rochester mn

There are also many 5K opportunities and even a Winona Triathlon for the active momma in you. (Ahem, also, a Kid’s Tri is offered for your school-aged athletes!) These races are super family friendly, and usually offer kids distances before or after the 5K.  Some of our favorites are the BK5K and the Goodview Gallop.

Be Hungry

Winona has a full range of eateries, including the traditional, easy fast food and pizza joints for college students and littles alike.  There are some awesome local places to check out as well.  If I can recommend one, I’d tell you to check out Blooming Grounds Coffee Shop in downtown Winona.  Their wraps and coffee are amazing. You can also check out the Boat House, which has stunning views of the Winona riverside.

Be in Goodview

Did you know that Goodview, population 4,028, is a suburb of Winona and hosts its own festival in August.  Goodview Days is the third weekend of August, and has a full weekend of activities.  Saturday starts with the 5K Goodview Gallop (or the 1k for the kiddos).  Saturday also includes a bean bag tournament, softball tourney to watch, and kids activities in the afternoon.  Stay for Sunday and watch the parade, and find your spot for a great fireworks display Sunday evening.

Be Artsy

Winona’s arts scene is one of the best hidden gems in our little part of the state. You can start with the beautiful art museum at the Minnesota Marine Art Museum, right on the banks of the Mississippi.  Check out their Toddler Tuesdays and give your littlest ones the opportunity to be creative amongst works by artist like Picasso, Monet, and local marine artists as well. Winona also hosts the Great River Shakespeare Festival.  You can enjoy a date night seeing a professional Shakespeare play, or take part in the free music events on the green at Winona State.  The festival is even partnering with the local Park and Rec to provide a evening with childcare included in your ticket.  (See here for more details and availability.)

I’ve only scratched the surface of what Winona has to offer.  It’s definitely a place that’s captured a little place of my heart.  It’s perfect for a day outside with the kids, or grab a friend and experience the local fare and grab a beer at the pub. Either way, you’ll love the river living that Winona has to offer.

{Throughout the summer, Rochester MN Moms Blog contributors will be sharing their best day-trip ideas to help you find local fun, good eats, and places to play for your kids.  For other posts in the series, please click here.} 

, ,

Comments are closed.