Duluth, Minnesota, sits on the southernmost point of Lake Superior, and runs along its western side, making it the perfect vacation retreat for boating, swimming, and fishing. Eastern Minnesota also boasts several wilderness areas, offering hiking, camping, and wildlife watching. Reconnect with nature and your family by opting to stay at one of these top Duluth vacation rental locations.

1. Minnesota Point, Duluth

duluth minnesota

If you want water, water, and more water, stay at Minnesota Point, a thin peninsula that runs from downtown Duluth into Lake Superior. All the houses have water access so that you can choose between a dock on one side or a beach on the other. Either way, you’re literally just a few minutes from swimming and boating to your heart’s content. Swim or boat across to Hearding Island State Wildlife Management Area, and explore the little island.

2. Downtown Waterfront, Duluth

downtown waterfront
Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Lakewalk-Duluth-2006.jpg

If you want both water access and urban fun, stay in the Downtown Waterfront District. Take a walk along the waterfront on the Lakewalk while making sure to stop for a bite at one of the many lakeside eateries such as Grandma’s Saloon and Grill or Amazing Grace Bakery and Cafe. Do some shopping along Canal Park Drive, or take the kids to the Adventure Zone Canal Park. Although this neighborhood doesn’t have lake house rentals, you can easily charter a boat for a lake adventure at Happy Hookers.

3. Duluth Heights, Duluth

enger tower
Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Duluth_Fall_Colors_from_Enger_Tower_(22708466622).jpg

If you want peace and quiet, head northwest to Duluth Heights, which is close enough to the downtown area to partake in the festivities after a short drive or walk while still offering privacy. Relax for an afternoon at the Enger Park Golf Course, or head a little further northwest to the Canosia State Wildlife Management Area for some hiking and wildlife watching.

4. Observation Hill, Duluth

observation hill

Opt for a rental at Observation Hill, a neighborhood directly southwest along the waterfront that’s equally close to the lake minus the downtown traffic. Plus, this area boasts Enger Park Golf Course, an oasis of ponds, streams, and trees among the city. Pick up the Superior Hiking Trail and meander miles through parks, trees, and over streams for a family afternoon stroll.

5. Lincoln Park, Duluth

canal park
Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Duluth,_Minnesota_-_Canal_Park_(25074265596).jpg

This hiking trail goes all the way southwest to the Lincoln Park neighborhood, ending at Lincoln Park itself. After spending a long day boating on the lake, take a break at Lincoln Park, and enjoy some take out from Duluth Grill or Clyde Iron Works at the picnic areas when vacationing in this area.

6. Denfeld, Duluth

duluth skyline
Source: Flickr/Randen Pederson

If you want to walk out your vacation rental onto a hiking trail, Denfeld is your neighborhood of choice. A number of hiking trails thread through a large green area studded with parks and trees just north of Denfeld. You could potentially spend your entire vacation exploring the Superior Hiking Trails such as stovetop Lower Burner Trail and Foxx Rocks Trail. Rent some bikes for the family and really have a good time.

7. Spirit Valley, Duluth

boardwalk
Source: Flickr/https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Snowy_Park_Point_Boardwalk_-_Lake_Superior,_Duluth,_Minnesota_(31162083803).jpg

Continue down the coast, and you hit Spirit Valley, a neighborhood just to the east of the Lake Superior Zoo. Take your kids to see the big cats and the barnyard animals for an all-around animal experience. Spend a night roughing it at Indian Point Campground. Located on the water, you can spend time hiking and kayaking around the wetlands.

8. Fond du Lac, Duluth

winter beach
Source: Flickr/Sharon Mollerus

Stay in rural Duluth at Fond du Lac, located at the southwestern most point of the city where Spirit Lake and the St. Louis River meet. With the Magney-Snively Natural Area to the north and Jay Cooke State Park to the west, there’s plenty of wilderness to explore. A little hiking in the natural areas or a little kayaking along the river gets you ready for a night out in downtown Duluth, only half an hour away.

9. East Hillside, Duluth

lake water lighthouse

Just northeast of downtown Duluth lies East Hillside, a stretch of houses and business along the lake. A convenient proximity to Leif Erikson Park gives you access to the lake and a hiking trail that meanders along the beach. Stop at the Duluth Rose Garden before getting some lunch at Valentini’s Vicino Lago restaurant. Head north to Chester Park for even more outdoor fun. A lake, river, and hiking trails create a mini wilderness inside the city.

10. Lakeside-Lester Park, Duluth

lakeside lester park

The Lakeside-Lester Park neighborhood lies between three parks, a golf club, and the lake, making it the perfect place to reconnect with nature. Hike along Hawk Ridge to the Hawk Ridge Bird Observatory, a great learning experience for the kids, and then spend a few hours on the putting greens of Northland Country Club. Plenty of vacation rentals boast lakeside access, so you can pull up your canoe practically to your back door.

11. North Shore, Duluth

north shore duluth

The furthest northern point of Duluth is North Shore. Like its southern sister, Fond du Lac, North Shore offers privacy, solitude, and plenty of access to nature. The lakeside houses are farther apart for a real rural experience. Spend your afternoons fishing or boating, and only head downtown when the need for good food strikes.

12. Hunters Park, Duluth

bagley nature center
Source: Flickr/Sharon Mollerus

Hunters Park might be only one of a few neighborhoods located inland, but its location along Hunters Park, WR Bagley Nature Area, Downer Park, and Hawk Ridge more than makes up for its lack of beachfront property. Stop with the kids at the Hartley Nature Center before hiking through Hunters Park to combine both education and adventure.