A drive through the heartland of the Midwest is the quintessential American family road trip. Families have been making this journey since the time of covered wagons, but thankfully modern cars have made the trip a little easier. There are plenty of scenic vistas and historic stops to take in, but, as any well-travelled parent knows, kids, bursting with energy, will need a break from the car, and so will mom and dad. For this reason, Eau Claire is a great stop to add to any itinerary. Located on the western side of Wisconsin, an easy 90 minutes from Minneapolis, this is the place for rest, relaxation, and fun.
About Eau Claire
Eau Claire is Wisconsin’s 9th largest city, not too big or too small, with a university population and diverse arts community; it plays host to a variety of activities and amenities without feeling overwhelming. The city’s tourist board boasts of an indie spirit and welcoming locals, bursting with originality. Eau Claire, French for clear water, has urban amenities that provide well-matched access to a variety of outdoor activities, including lakes, trails, and its namesake river. Spring through late fall are the best time to visit, weather-wise, with summer highs rarely passing 85 degrees. Not that winter is dull in Eau Claire, what with skiing, skating, and snow-mobile trails right outside the door.
Fun Things to Do
With the kids in mind, here are the most popular sights and attractions that Eau Claire has on offer. Children’s Museum of Eau Claire: This interactive museum is a great place for kids to learn and play and is even fun for mom and dad. Paul Bunyan Logging Camp Museum: Dedicated to the enduring legend of America’s most famous lumberjack and his blue ox, Babe, this is one museum sure to inspire; introducing kids to our nation’s folklore and the region’s storied lumberjack history in a series of interactive exhibits. Carson Park: Hosting the Paul Bunyan museum, this great park has plenty to offer in and of itself. Nature trails and outdoor activities abound, and don’t forget to hop on the Chippewa Valley Railroad for a half-mile journey on this miniature railway excursion. Phoenix Park: Located at the confluence of the Chippewa and Eau Claire rivers, this downtown park’s 9 acres include a walking labyrinth and year-round farmer’s market. Throughout the summer months, the park’s riverside amphitheater hosts a summer concert series. Metropolis Resort: Less than 5 miles from downtown Eau Claire, this is the place for fun. Housing the Chaos Indoor Waterpark, stay the night or visit for the day. Waterpark access is included for over-night guests, and when the kids tire of the water, check out the trampoline park and the Action City Family Fun Center, featuring go-karts, laser tag, and other thrills.
No trip to the Midwest would be complete without a stop in Wisconsin’s indie gem, Eau Claire. This is a city that will keep the kids busy and hosts a thriving hub of breweries and vineyards for the parents.