It’s a double whammy weekend.
Snow is back and many schools are shutting down for the next few days or couple of weeks to address the omicron scourge leaving sickness in its wake. That means you and the kids inside for hours and hours and hours.
What better time to pack up the little ones and head outside. Don’t have kids? You likely need a break and some fresh air, too. This round-up of outside fun is easily adaptable for anyone.
Take a hike
The state is home to nearly 20 parks with plowed or packed trails for hikers. Bundle up, head out and get those legs and arms moving.
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The DNR offers the following advice before you head out:
Don’t forget you will need a permit (daily or annual), if you don’t have one.
Check snow and cold conditions before you go. Dress appropriately.
Use the DNR’s “HikeFinder” to locate a trail.
Download maps before you go.
Make it a game: Earn points with each hike as part of the Hiking Club
Is a state park too far away? Check your local community’s website for parks and local trails, many of which are free and open to residents.
Snowshoe and ski — did someone say sauna, too?
Strap on the snowshoes, skis or skates for some real exercise.
Again, many state and local parks offer skiing, snowshoeing or ice-skating options.
In the Greater Twin Cities metro area, we like:
In Minneapolis, we like:
In St. Paul, we like:
In Duluth and along the North Shore:
Best sledding hills
Sledding is a surefire stress reliever and makes almost all of us child-like again. And, we dare you not to laugh as you jump on a sled or a tube. Plus, you know what comes after sledding, right? Hot cocoa.
So break out the sled or inner tube — some locations offer rentals, but check before you go — and take the hills. Just remember to accompany the little ones (under age 5).
Here’s a few of the best hills around the state:
Explore Minnesota offers up its list, organized by region.
Or, simply take to the hills in and around your neighborhood. Don’t forget the gloves and snow pants!
Get out on a lake
It's Take a Kid Ice Fishing Weekend in Minnesota, from Jan. 15-17. That means Minnesota residents can fish without a license if they are fishing with a child age 15 or younger.
It's part of efforts to get more young people involved in fishing. If you haven’t gone ice fishing before, the DNR has some tips.
But remember: no lake ice is 100 percent safe. Be sure to check ice conditions before venturing out onto a frozen lake.
Help your neighbor
Almost nothing feels better than helping folks out. Got a friend, family member or neighbor who is homebound or maybe is sick?
Show up with a shovel and dig them out.
Offer to pick up their groceries or pharmacy order.
Create fun, homemade cards with kids in the morning and drop in the afternoon. You could always drop your card in with a homemade care package, too. Think small: tea, a lemon, a candle, tissues, a puzzle book or a puzzle.
Or, start Valentine’s Day early and make some Valentine’s Day cards and deliver them early. Here are some ideas to get you started. I mean, who doesn’t like a Valentine?