Get Down With Mother Nature: Things To Do At Park Rapids, Minnesota

Get Down With Mother Nature: Things To Do At Park Rapids, Minnesota
| 8 min read

Ever felt in need of an adventure? Want to go out to the woods for fresh air and the earthy smell of dirt all around you, and to appreciate the magic of Mother Nature? If you crave an adventure, head over to Minnesota’s Park Rapids for a terrific summer adventure. Cycle along the calm and soothing Heartland State Trail or spend a day fishing with Captain James. Dine in the era of lumberjacks, or watch an engaging play. Whatever you fancy, you can bring out your wild side at Park Rapids, Minnesota. With seasonal scavenger hunts and tractor pulling events, you ill definitely find yourself constantly occupied and the time just whizzing by. Here are some top things to do at Park Rapids:

1. Ride the Heartland State Trail

Heartland State Trail, Akeley, MN
Source: Photo by user Sharon Mollerus used under CC BY 2.0

There are a lot of interesting towns to explore on the 49-mile-long (79-kilometer-long) Heartland State Trail. As the first rail-to-trail project in the country, the trail is located on a leveled, abandoned rail track. The trail stretches across the heartland of Minnesota through Park Rapids, Dorset, Nevis, Akeley, and Walker, as well as passing by the shimmering Cass Lake. You can expect numerous streams, lakes, and rivers along this trail; unsurprising, really, in the heart of the land of 10,000 lakes! Aside from the water-related attractions, public beaches, resorts, and campgrounds make perfect spots for a stop. Don’t forget to pack your camping gear and swimsuits!

If you want to take a break from all the cycling, stop at Dorset, Akeley, or Nevis. These 3 resort towns are great places to crash for the night. Be on the lookout for mammals like whitetail deer, raccoon, porcupine, and a few others. You might even spot a black bear or a weasel, although sightings are highly unlikely.

The trail has a peaceful and natural atmosphere as it passes through hardwood forests and wooded areas of jack, red and white pines. You’ll find rolling flat terrain just 4 miles (6.4 kilometers) to the north, which is popular with snowmobile and ski enthusiasts.

If the Heartland State Trail isn’t enough and you’re hungry for even more, the trail extends to the Paul Bunyan State Trail, allowing you to continue your adventures. Do note that you will need permits for cross-country skiing or horseback riding, and a ‘Snowmobile State Trail’ sticker for your snowmobile.

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2. Don't back away from the Character Challenge Course!

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

Character Challenge Course is a fun-filled and challenging obstacle course for people of all ages (above 7). If you’re in the mood for a good challenge, be sure to pay a visit! Assuring thrills, excitement, and plenty of action, it sure is no ordinary run-of-the-mill tourist attraction, Whether it’s zip lining, climbing a 35-foot-tall (10.7-meter-tall) tall obstacle, or swinging on a rope like Tarzan, this course will have you doing things that you would not have imagined. It also offers wonderful family and team bonding opportunities. This adventure course is often said to be, by far, one of the best places in Park Rapids.

Character Challenge Course

Address: 13218 Co Hwy 40, Park Rapids, MN 56470, United States

Price: from 29 USD to 43 USD

Duration: around 3 hours required

Contact: +1 218 760 8442

Website: Character Challenge Course

Would recommend for anyone, good confidence builder! The course is challenging! baileyhanson50 from Tripadvisor

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3. Bring out the adventurer in you at Itasca State Park

Bridge Itasca State Park
Source: Photo by user lightinacube used under CC BY-ND 2.0

Located 20 miles (32.2 kilometers) from the main town, you won’t regret taking a trip to the excellent Itasca State Park. Follow a hiking trail and set up camp for the night, enjoying the nature all around and having lots of fun adventures.

This park has been around for 125 years and is one of the best spots in Minnesota. Commonly known as the Peoples’ Park, Itasca State Park is somewhat of a sacred spot to Minnesotans.

You can explore the headwaters of the Mississippi within the park. The channel is surrounded by wildflowers and grass, providing a charming decorated version of the Mississippi River. The actual Mississippi was a muddy swamp until the Civilian Conservation Corps revamped it with rock and fill. Take a 1.5-hour trip around the lake on the Chester Charles, narrated by local Kim Coborn. You are likely to see bald eagles on the trip, and may even spot an eagle diving into the waters to catch a fish. Hike the mile-long (1.6-kilometer-long) Schoolcraft Trail, ending at Hill Point from where you can see Schoolcraft Island. The half-mile (0.8-kilometer) Bohall Trail, leading to Bohall Lake, is another great hike to get the blood pumping.

Itasca State Park

Address: 36750 Main Park Drive, Park Rapids, MN 56470

Price: A list of the various fees and permits for Minnesota State Parks is available here

Contact: +1 218-699-7251

Website: Itasca State Park

Coborn's Lake Itasca Tours

Address: Itasca State Park, Lake Itasca, MN

Price: 16 USD for adults (aged 13 and above) and 9 USD for children (aged 4 - 12)

Scheduled Tours: Varies each month

Duration: around 2 hours required

Contact: +1 218-266-3660

Website: Coborn’s Lake Itasca Tours

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4. Visit the Antique Tractor and Engine Club

Source: Photo by user Nina Haghighi used under CC BY-ND 2.0

Visit the Antique Tractor Club on its annual celebration. Each year they bring about new and unique events on their field days. These 2-day events give insights into early farming methods like plowing, threshing, and working with antique tractors.The Pioneer Farmhouse is open for visitors, where women demonstrate craft-building activities and commodity sales. Head over to the petting zoo with farm animals, which is particularly popular with kids. Try your luck and test your strength at tractor pulling during the weekends, and let your kids have a go at Kiddie Tractor Pulling. If you want to spend a little more time there, overnight camping is available.

Antique Tractor and Engine Club

Address: 1008 8th Street E, Park Rapids, MN 56470

Contact: +1 218-732-4111

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5. Play golf at Park Rapids

The Headwaters Golf Course is one of the most popular golf courses in Park Rapids. With a very well maintained course and smooth pace of play, it is a good course to play at. The 2 distinct 9-hole layouts and well-placed water hazards make the course ever-interesting and challenging. The course is maintained to the same standard as expensive resort courses and country clubs. The first 9 holes have a great landscape setting of the northern woods. The course also has a nice restaurant with a deck facing the greens; the sandwiches and burgers are highly recommended.

Headwaters Golf Course

Address: 20018 County 1, Park Rapids, MN 56470, United States

Contact: +1 218 732 4832

Nearby Food: The restaurant at the course whips up good burgers

Website: Headwaters Golf Course

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6. Shop for goodies at Summerhill Farm

A small series of 7 shops where you can find unique and distinctive merchandise, be it souvenirs, clothes, or chocolates, Summerhill Farm is a great shopping destination. It’s a great place to stop after the Character Challenge Course.

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The Stable

The Stable is the stable of the original working farm, now converted into a souvenir store. Here, you can find home accessories like candles, rugs, and funny room signs that are ideal for decorating your home.

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The Cottage

It may sound ordinary, but this is a place you do not want to miss. The Cottage is overflowing with goodies, but what you really should be looking out for are the unique kitchen gadgets. You’ll likely spot (and buy!) things you never even knew you needed. If you love the art of cooking, don’t miss the Cottage.

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The 2nd Story

The 2nd Story is a fun-filled shop with accessories, jewelry, t-shirts, colorful sandals, and a lot more. There’s always something for anyone who visits this shop.

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The Carriage House

If you feel that you want some personal shopping time without your kids to watch over, leave them at the Carriage House. The activities are meant to keep your kids at bay while you can shop in peace. If you want to have some fun too, The Carriage House offers games and activities for adults as well.

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For all women who are looking for something more sophisticated than casual t-shirts and accessories, a stop at the Treehouse is ideal. You can find all kinds of apparels, suitable for a variety of occasions. It’s a top spot for fashionistas!

Summer Hill Farm has a variety of shops offering home decor, clothing and specialty items. It has an inviting setting - cottage-like, with flowers and fences. juliebartholomew

Summerhill Farm

Address: 24013 US-71, Park Rapids, MN 56470, United States

Opening Hours: Monday - Saturday 10.30 am - 5 pm. (11 am - 4 pm on Sundays)

Contact: +1 218 732 3865

Nearby Food: There are several eateries in the complex

Website: Summerhill Farm

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7. Feel like a kid again at Aunt Belle's Confectionary

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

Have a sweet tooth? Head over to Aunt Belle’s Confectionery for a unique and tasteful experience. Feel like a kid in a candy store when you enter this wonderful shop. You can find a variety of hand-made goodies, but don’t leave without buying the ever-famous hand-made fudge. There are 5 flavors of this finger licking fudge: chocolate, chocolate-walnut, turtle, peanut butter, and maple-nut. Aunt Belle’s hand-made brittle is also a delicious delicacy to be relished. You can also find familiar sweets like taffies and jelly beans. Aside from childhood confectioneries, you can also find gourmet-flavored coffees at Aunt Belle’s. If you want to take a few chocolates home for your friends and family, grab some gift boxes of assorted truffles or chocolate cherries from the shelf. Don’t forget to visit Grandpa’s Cabin, which is filled with gifts from the north woods. You will also find handcrafted merchandise found only in Northern Minnesota. It’s a great stop for souvenirs and sweets.

Aunt Belle's Confectionary

Address: 110 Main Ave S, Park Rapids, MN 56470, United States

Opening Hours: Monday - Saturday 10 am - 5 pm. (11 am - 4 pm on Sundays)

Contact: +1 218 732 7019

Website: Aunt Belle’s Confectionery

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8. Go fish!

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

If you have never gone fishing before, try your luck at Park Rapids with the help of Go Fish! Guide Service. They provide all the equipment you need; all you have to do is fish! Go Fish! is available at Park Rapids, Nevis, Menahga, Akeley, Lake George, Hubbard, Dorset, and Emmaville. If you do not wish to fish on a rainy day, they will gladly reschedule your trip for a clear day. You will have a personalized experience with Captain Jason Durham, making it an unforgettable experience. Once you contact the company, they will arrange for your pick-up from the hotel, saving you the hassle of finding the spot.

Go Fish! Guide Service

Price: from 250 USD

Opening Hours: 9 am - 6 pm. Closed on public holidays

Duration: 4 hours / 6 hours / 8 hours

Contact: +1 218-252-2278

Website: Go Fish!Guide Services

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9. Check out the Minnesotan Culture and Art

Hubbard county Park Rapids MN
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Bjoertvedt used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Park Rapids is a very sociable town, filled with joyous and colorful festivals all throughout the year; there’s a festival or interesting event for nearly every month. If you happen to go to Park Rapids during the summer, be sure not to miss some of the fun-filled adventurous festivals, like the Find Waldo Scavenger Hunt. Join the locals in their wild scavenger hunts and races, a memorable and cheerful experience for your scrapbook. The Hubbard County Fair is filled with fun and perfect for a family bonding experience. Visit the Long Lake Theater, where they stage wonderful plays every summer.

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The Long Lake Theater

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

The Long Lake Theater re-enacts famous plays from the past. It’s a must-stop location for culture enthusiasts. Located in the historic downtown of Hubbard and with only 100 air-conditioned seats, it is recommended to make reservations as soon as possible. If you want a seat of your own preference, head over to the theater before the crowd to choose your seat from the general seating plan.

Long Lake Theater

Address: 12183 Beacon Rd, Park Rapids, MN 56470

Contact: +1 218-732-0099

Website: Long Lake Theater

Great local talent and some from other areas.You can enjoy a sweet, coffee or alcoholic drink before on their patio. Lucky0420 from tripadvisor

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10. Enjoy a tasty meal

Source: Photo by user alex roberts used under CC BY-SA 2.0

What’s a vacation without tasting the delicious local food? Head over to the Rapid River Logging Camp for a trip back in time. The old-fashioned dining is a unique experience, where you can hear steam whistles and smell freshly-sawed pine. See the equipment the lumberjacks use to bring the giant logs from the forests, and enjoy your lumberjack-style meal served in a family-friendly manner. Learn about the authentic history of the Great Northwoods.

Stop by West Forty for a filling breakfast, ready to start your adventurous day. The Good Life Café is one of the best cafés in town, ideal for a quick snack or lunch break.

Rapid River Logging Camp

Address: 15073 County 18, Park Rapids, MN 56470

Opening Hours: Breakfast 7.30 am - 12 noon, Dinner 1 pm - 9 pm

Contact: +1 218-732-3444

Website: Rapid River Logging Camp

West Forty

Address: 906 1st St W, Park Rapids, MN 56470

Opening Hours: 7 am - 9 pm

Contact: +1 218-732-9717

Website: West Forty

Good Life Café

Address: 220 Main Ave S, Park Rapids, MN 56470

Opening Hours: Mon - Sat 11 am - 9 pm, Sun 11 am - 8 pm (Happy Hour 4 pm - 6 pm)

Contact: +1 218-237-4212

Website: Good Life Café

Fun Fact: Candy-maker Frank C. Mars of Minnesota introduced the Milky Way candy bar in 1923. Mars marketed the Snickers bar in 1930 and introduced the 5-Cent Three Musketeers bar in 1937.

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Don't wait: go to Park Rapids for a great summer adventure!

Unleash your wild side at Park Rapids, a place where time simply flies by. The adventures awaiting here are endless, and the delicious food helps to make your stay unforgettable. There’s heaps for the hole family to enjoy, and you can mingle with the friendly locals who will make you feel right at home. Once you visit Park Rapids you’ll likely be back; once is never enough! Plan your adventure in Park Rapids and see hy so many people keep coming park, time and time again.

It is in the compelling zest of high adventure and of victory, and in creative action, that man finds his supreme joys. Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

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Adithya is a travel enthusiast who was first exposed to travel during his stay in India. He enjoys writing and loves to discover the unknown. During his free time you can find him watching a movie...Read more

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