The kid-friendly National Eagle Center easily lures families down the Great River Road. But the final, pint-size stamp of approval comes when you throw in a stop at the downtown chocolate shop, plus a detour to the nearby town of Kellogg for a visit to Lark Toys — part museum, part wonderland — with a magical carousel, mini-golf and ice cream. 1-800-565-4158;

Runner-up: New Ulm