What To Expect In A Grand Rapids Summer Vacation.

grand rapids summer vacation

Grand Rapids, MN Summer vacation

Summer Vacation Grand Rapids MN

A Grand Rapids, MN Summer Vacation is one where you can reconnect with loved ones, recharge your batteries, and relax in Minnesota’s nature. Going on vacation with your loved one’s is about the deeper connections you make, the memories you make, and the stories that you will always share. This up north vacation destination is a small and charming northern Minnesota town that boasts amenities of a much large community. You will find a wide variety of short-term lodging options, boutique style shops, fun places to eat & drink, public art & historic sites, events and festivals, and a lot of outdoor recreation opportunities!

Lots of cozy lodging

Summer Vacation Grand Rapids MN

You can do as much or as little as you would like on a Grand Rapids , MN Summer Vacation. You will find a wide variety of places to stay in Grand Rapids. There are conveniently located in town Hotels and Motels that offer a variety of on-site amenities like a pool, restaurants, continental breakfast, walkable shops and restaurants, and in town trails. You will also find in town Air B&B’s that are located above downtown shops that have room to spread out, kitchens, dining areas and living room spaces to gather together. Then there are vacation rentals in town and on area lakes, and Minnesota family resorts on area lakes; located on a lake, offer full kitchens, living room areas, screened in porches, firepits, dock slips, and sometimes . The choice is yours. 

Lakes & fishing

Summer Vacation Grand Rapids MN

Summer Vacations are best spent up north at the lake! In the greater Grand Rapids, MN area you will find over 1,400 lakes. These lakes range in size from less than a hundred acres to over 4,000 acres. On these lakes you can paddle, fish, swim, boat, ski, tube, and just float. “Going to the Lake” in the summer is the number one favorite summer vacation memory that kids share about their Grand Rapids, Minnesota vacation. “Fishing” is an activity that most resort guests say they enjoyed while on their Grand Rapids, MN Summer Vacation. From panfish to trophy fish like walleye, northern and musky; we have a lake to catch them on. All of our Minnesota Family Resorts offer boat rentals, but you can fish from the dock, shore or a fishing pier too. There is something special about watching a child catch their first fish. All you need is a fishing pole, a hook and some bait. The Grand Rapids Library lends out fishing poles and tackle where you can fish from their fishing pier on the Mississippi River. Fun for the entire family!

trails & outdoor recreation

Tioga Recreation Area

Grand Rapids, Minnesota is becoming to be known as the outdoor recreation mecca of the north. Whatever type of outdoor recreation that you enjoy, you will find a trail or lake to do it on. You will find over 2,000 miles of trails in the greater Grand Rapids, MN area. Many of these trails are in the Chippewa National Forest and George Washington State Forest. From ATVing, biking, hiking, mountain biking, paddling, fishing, and boating. Enjoy yourself in Minnesota’s nature. Take in the fresh air in our mixed forests of tall hardwood and pine trees, pristine clear lakes, or mighty Mississippi River. So many new outdoor recreation trails to make memories.


Grand Rapids Summer Vacation

Grand Rapids is home to three championship level golf courses known as the Grand Lakes of Golf Courses; Sugarbrooke Golf Course, Pokegama Golf Course, Eagle Ridge Golf Course. Each course is beautifully manicured with different degrees of difficulty. All have cart rentals and restaurants on site.  In addition to the three-championship courses, there is also several smaller 9-hole courses located in the greater Grand Rapids, Minnesota area.

Minnesota history & Art Attractions

Grand Rapids Summer Vacation

The Grand Rapids, MN area has several places to enjoy local art and learn about Minnesota history. Tour a historic museum, 1900’s logging camp, Children’s Museum, or an Art Gallery. Take a self-guided public art tour, walk across the Mississippi, or take in a live performance or concert. There is probably way more to do than you would think in a small northern town. Grand Rapids boosts historic and art attractions that draw people from across the country. Discover Things To Do.

Minnesota history & Art Attractions

Grand Rapids MN summer vacation

Going out to eat is a large part of being on vacation. A large selection of places to eat & drink from craft breweries, boat in options, a Minnesota wine bar, locally owned restaurants, places to get juicy bar burgers, fine dining, Mexican, Sushi, and more! This small town has locally owned restaurants that offer made from scratch and restaurants that work with local farmers for fresh and seasonal menu items. So, when you work up an appetite on the lakes and trails, sit down for a homemade meal from the places the locals like to eat and drink at.

Grand Rapids MN Summer Vacation

This Northern town offers BIG charm through its welcoming shops, restaurants, unique attractions, public art, live music, and cozy lodging. Grand Rapids is a going to the lake community that is an outdoor recreation mecca of the north. Enjoy time on our lakes and trails and take in the fresh air of the Minnesota forests. The official Visitor Guide has lots of information to help you plan your Grand Rapids, MN Summer Vacation. Read articles that highlight outdoor recreation, public art, historic places, fun places to eat. Review the lodging options based on the amenities they offer. Learn more about downtown, living here, and other seasonal trip ideas and itineraries.

Grand Rapids, Minnesota is the perfect road trip destination for any season vacation where there is something for everyone in the family.

What To Do On A Rainy Day In Grand Rapids, MN?

rainy day activity Grand Rapids MN

Grand Rapids, MN area attractions

This week’s blog highlights what to do on a rainy day in Grand Rapids, MN. We bet there is way more than you ever thought! 

Itasca County Historical Society & Escape Room

rainy day activity grand rapids mn

The Itasca County Historical Society Museum is a great place to tour on a rainy day in downtown Grand Rapids, MN. The museum is FREE to tour; they do request a free will donation. Historic and educational exhibits that they feature right now is the River Room that highlights actifacts that have been found along the Mississippi River, Native American jingle dress display and cultural pieces on display, and a beautiful hand painted river mural that showcases life along the river. Additional exhibits that you can discover are: Itasca area Veterans, Itasca Train Club Trains Villages, Itasca County History panels, and a gift shop.

Judy Garland & Children's Discovery Museums

childrens discovery museum grand rapids mn

The Judy Garland Museum is an eclectic Judy Garland and Wizard of Oz collection. The Museum hosts thoughtfully curated exhibits and artifacts, including the original carriage featured in the Wizard of Oz (once owned by President Lincoln), a Dorothy Gale test dress from the Wizard of Oz, and many personal Judy Garland items collected over 40 years. The Children’s Discovery Museum is located in the same building and is a great place for children to run off some steam by interacting at the kid friendly exhibits. It is the only Children’s Museums located in a MN rural towns (fewer than 10,000 population). The Children’s Discovery Museum is perfect for children age 1-12 years of age. Highlight of some of the exhibits: river water table, dino play, Teresa the talking tree, Lake life, Rivertown, Tot Park, Wind tunnel, and much more.

Forest History Center

forest history center grand rapids mn

A hidden gem of Grand Rapids, Minnesota is the Forest History Center. This is a perfect place to tour on a rainy day in Grand Rapids, MN. Tour the interactive forestry and science interpretive center, climb the fire tower, walk the river trails to the Mississippi, tour the wanagan, and step back in time to life in the early 1800’s at the logging camp.  The Forest History Center is open Wednesday-Saturday middle of June through Labor Day. A new feature is the kayak tours of the Mississippi River. There is an additional charge for this tour, but it is a bucket list for sure! A perfect Grand Rapids area attraction to enjoy the environmental learning center where all ages can connect and discover Minnesota’s history together.

Edge of the Wilderness Discovery Center

edge of wilderness discovery center

The Edge of the Wilderness Discovery Center is a great place to tour on a rainy day. The Discovery Center is located in Marcell, MN; and is worth  the 40 minute drive north from Grand Rapids. This environmental learning center offers over 20 native Minnesota wildlife mounts and exhibits that highlight native species that can be found in Minnesota’s nature. The Discovery Center is one of fourteen discovery sites along the Edge of the Wilderness Scenic Byway that runs 47 miles from Grand Rapids to Effie, Minnesota. The Discovery Center also offers Naturalist Programs on several Saturdays in the summer. Their Facebook page highlights these program dates and subject themes. These are offered at no cost to everyone. For nicer days, you can rent a kayak or canoe to paddle at Lake Ranier (located right at the Discovery Center). You can also fish off of the floating pier. There are also walking trails that will take you around a portion of Lake Ranier. You can have a picnic lunch at one of the many picnic tables or under the covered pavilion that overlooks the lake. A wonderful place for all ages to learn about Minnesota’s wildlife and Edge of the Wilderness history.

Bowling, Movies and Live Music

live music grand rapids mn

Additional indoor things to do on a rainy day in Grand Rapids, Minnesota are, bowling, go to a matinee, and enjoy live music. Thunder Alley XL offers bowling, an kid/adult arcade area, limited bar/grille, and an outdoor batting case and mini golf center. Mann’s Grand Rapids Cinema 8 offers eight small theater recliner style seating that features the latest big screen movies. And then there is live music at the craft breweries, wine bar and local bars in the area. Check out the the greater Grand Rapids, MN Events Calendar for more details of who has nightly live music offerings.

Self-Guided Tours & Boutique Style Shops

Self Guided Historic Buildings & Public Art Tours

old central school grand rapids mn

Between the rain drops, while you are already downtown, you should take a self-guided historic building and public art tour. Grand Rapids is a very historic community with many existing buildings, being built in the late 1800’s. You can take a self-guided Grand Rapids History and Public Art Tour where you can walk around downtown Grand Rapids and discover all of the historic buildings and public art that features Native American culture and heritage, the Mississippi River, the forestry and papermaking industries, and wildlife in Minnesota’s nature. Old Central School is one of the historic buildings on the self-guided tour that was built in1895. The three story building is the tallest building in Grand Rapids. This Romanesque style architecture is prominent throughout the building. The center staircase has hosted many events like community gatherings, events and even a few weddings. Even if you visit on a rainy day, make sure that you step outside to view the yellow brick road and the beautiful flower beds the wrap along it. The other famous yellow brick road can be viewed at the Judy Garland Museum (located on Hwy 169 S in Grand Rapids). 

View More About: Itasca Area Attractions


boutique shops grand rapids mn

There are many places to shop in the Grand Rapids, MN area. Downtown by walking the boutique style shops along 1st Avenue N (Bender’s, Stained Glass, Briers Clothing, Stoke(s, MacRostie Art Center, and then the shops inside Old Central School), shops on 3rd Street Shaw Florists, Evergreen, Mississippi Diamond, Wings & Willows, Lake + Co), and the shops on 1st Avenue S (Frame Up and North in Bloom) are all great places to start. Then swing into the Central Square Mall and shop the many retail and vintage shops including Clara’s Cupboard & Closet. And then there are the home décor and vintage shops that are located all across the greater Grand Rapids, MN area. To name a few: 218 Style (located just a few blocks east of downtown on 4th Street), Red Willow Co. (located south of downtown east of Target), The Antique Company in Coleraine and Annabella’s in Bovey.

unique and fun places to eat & drink

Craft Breweries & Wine Bar

craft breweries Grand Rapids MN

Going out to eat is a wonderful part of being on vacation – not having to cook! On a rainy day there are great places to Eat & Drink. Grand Rapids, Minnesota is home to two craft breweries and one wine bar. Klockow Brewing Company was the first to open. They are a production brewery that distributes their craft beer throughout Minnesota liquor stores. They offer clean classics and complex experiments from the Northwoods of Minnesota! They also offer live music and events at the brewery. Each week they feature a variety of food trucks. You can bring food in or order food to be delivered to the brewery. They offer non-alcoholic beer and Northern Soda’s. Rapids Brewing Co. is located downtown in the historic Rialto Theater. They brew and sell only onsite. They specialize in locally sourced products for their beer and wood fired oven menu. Chef O’Brien and his team create a northern Minnesota curated menu that showcases the wood fired oven that pairs well with their craft beer and craft cocktails. They offer non-alcoholic Northern Soda options as well. You can enjoy live music and events every week. Then, Unwined Up North is a wine bar that features Minnesota craft beer (including Klockow Beer) and Minnesota wines. Their menu offers charcuterie boards, panini sandwiches, salads and other small plates. They offer live music and events each week as well. 

Other Local Favorite Places To Eat & Drink

Restaurants on the Lake

lakeside dining grand rapids mn

Despite Grand Rapids being a small town, there are many fun places to eat & drink. Zorbaz on Pokegama Lake is one of them. A franchised restaurant specializes in pizza, spaghetti, tacos and burritos. The eclectic environment showcases going to the lake themes of boats, motors, water skis and more hanging from the walls and ceiling. Kids enjoy the free popcorn, kiddie cocktails and kiddie arcade area. Pickled Loon Saloon offers views of Pokegama Lake from their harbor location. Their large menu offers everything from italian nachos, burgers, nightly chef specials, and steak tips and shrimp.  There is something special about boating to your restaurant. The Pokegama Grille is another great place to drive to or boat to restaurant in Grand Rapids. Pokegama Grill is located at the Pokegama Golf Course that offers a covered outdoor patio as well as indoor dining with stunning views of Pokegama Lake. Enjoy burger baskets, fresh handcrafted salads and more.

Places Where the Locals Eat & Drink

Family friendly dining grand rapids mn

Every town has the favorite places where locals like to eat & drink. Boulder Tap House is one of those places. They offer over 20 different beers on tap, and are known for their burger, cheese curds and handmade ice cream shakes. If you are looking for local favorites then you will want to go to Forest Lake Restaurant and get a burger and a cup of their chicken wild rice soup. Timberlake Restaurant offers an endless fresh salad bar, soup, wings and breadstick lunch that is a fantastic deal. And they also offer chef inspired dinners like cedar plank salmon, Walleye Ala Ritz, and walleye cakes. And then there is the Italian favorite Sammy’s Pizza. They specialize in thin crust hand-tossed pizza’s where all of the ingredients are from fresh vegetables, meats and cheeses. Additional cultural experiences are: Fuji Japanese sushi and hibachi grill and El Potro authentic Mexican restaurant that are both great places to eat & drink. 

Additional Places To Eat & Drink

mexican restaurant grand rapids mn

There are places that are located just a little bit outside of downtown Grand Rapids that are all worth the drive. Heading to the east of Grand Rapids you will find several places to get a great bar burger like The Locker Room in downtown Coleraine, Wizards in downtown Nashwauk. Then there is authentic Mexican at Mucho Si in downtown Nashwauk. Florio’s Grill & Tavern is located in downtown Cohasset right on Hwy 2 that is known for their burger, shrimp and fish baskets and Saturday night prime rib. Then there is Cedar Creek Grille that offers American cuisine made from scratch recipes and hand-cut steaks. Blueberry Bowl is located north of Deer River where you can bowl and get awesome thin crust pizza made to order. Drive a little further north along the Avenue of the Pines Scenic Byway and you will find the Gosh Dam Place that will cook your freshly caught fish and include made from scratch tartar sauce and sides to make a meal. Fish Tales, Leino’s Pub, and Hoot N Holler Bar are located in Squaw Lake and Alvwood area. These are great options if you are interested in driving up for a hike at the Lost Forty (definitely a bucket list item). All of these establishments offer signature drinks and menu items.

There was probably way more than you thought there was to do on a rainy day in the Grand Rapids, MN area, right?! If you are still looking for MORE, check out the Visit Grand Rapids website that showcases all things to do and see in the greater Grand Rapids, MN area within 50 miles! www.visitgrandrapids.com. You can also view the interactive Grand Rapids Visitor Guide that will give you additional article features of our trails and lakes for bright sunny days.

Spring Road Trip Girlfriend Getaways to Grand Rapids MN

It is the perfect time to book your Spring Road Trip Girlfriend Getaways to Grand Rapids, MN. The springtime of the year allows you to get outside more to enjoy warmer weather, fresh buds on the trees and flowers starting to appear, and northern wildlife starts emerging from a long winter’s sleep. So, get your girlfriends together and have them check out the reasons why you should consider Grand Rapids, Minnesota as your next Spring Road Trip Girlfriend Getaway destination.

Spring Road Trip Girlfriend Getaway Grand Rapids MNLodging

Grand Rapids is a perfect up north destination that provides a wide variety of places to stay. The Grand Rapids Area Resorts offer cabins and Lake Home Rentals to rent for a couple of days or more. This gives you multiple bedrooms with twin to king size beds, pull out sofa’s, and futons to expand sleeping options. Cabins can sleep 2-12 people. Many resorts have newer up-to-date cabins that offer full kitchens with dishwashers, wifi, and cable or satelite TV. Many of these properties are located on the lake or have lake views. You can also select from a variety of Grand Rapids Hotels/Motels that are conveniently located in town and close to restaurants, spa services, theater, night life, and walking/biking trails. Our quaint and charming Bed & Breakfast or Air B&B’s downtown which are also close to town to trails, shops, area lakes and places to eat & drink. Book at one of our 32 Grand Rapids Cozy Lodging Properties.

Girlfriend Getaway Be Pampered Grand Rapids MNGet Pampered

at our local Spa Service Providers in town. True North Salon is located within Historic Central School Marketplace in the center of downtown. They offer facials, manicures and pedicures, hair services (cuts, blowouts, styling, etc), and make-up services. They are an exclusive Aveda salon. Sukha is a location that houses four businesses under one roof. There is Salon Brad which offers full-service hair and waxing services.  Bala Skin and Laser offers laser hair reduction & skin resurfacing, dermablading, Botox, fillers, chemical peels, micropen, massage, body scrubs, manis, pedis, facials and skincare. Center Fitness is a Mind and body fitness studio dedicated to providing intelligent instruction so that you get more out of every workout.

Places To Eat & Drink Grand Rapids MNEat & Drink Local

Start your day out right at one of the local coffee shops like: NoPo Coffee Company is an adorable cafe that has great coffee, tea, and also offers a full drink and food menu.  Brewed Awakenings is located in historic downtown that offers Minnesota based coffee, teas, homemade bakery items, breakfast sandwiches and fast and healthy luncheons to go. Bixby’s is located in the Itasca YMCA which is perfectly located if you want to get a one-day pass to join an exercise or water class.  For dinner enjoy our two craft breweries where you can dine-in at Rapids Brewing, order take-in or order from a Food Truck at Klockow Brewing Co, or order in or to go at Unwined Up North Wine Bar. Or select from several other wonderful places to dine like: Sammy’s Pizza, Forest Lake Restaurant, Pickled Loon, Zorbaz, Florio’s, Boulder Tap House, El Potro, or Cedar Creek Grille. Or maybe, you are looking to cook with your Girlfriends. With two locations for SuperOne Grocery Stores you can shop local from fresh produce, bakery, deli and meat to cook at your own cabin or vacation home rental.

girlfriend weekend sizedCreate Memories

A great way for you and your girlfriends to spend time together is creating something to take home as a memory of your time together. In Grand Rapids we have a rich artistic culture to create art in a natural setting. MacRostie Art Center offers a wide variety of art classes for beginners to advanced students. They can also connect you with an artists that would be interested in coming to you to teach a class. Classes range from painting, pottery, jewelry making, paper making, etc.

Seek Outdoor Adventure

Take advantage of the natural setting of Grand Rapids, by getting out into nature andHiking Grand Rapids MN experiencing something unique like Paddling the Mississippi or Hiking the Lost Forty, or bicycling the Mesabi Trail or Mississippi River Trail. Paddle Hoppers offers guided paddles of the Mississippi River and rents paddle equipment for you to take to the resort you are staying at. Ardent Bicycles offers mountain bike rentals. Grand Rapids also has a Bike Share Program. You can check out a bike at the Grand Rapids City Hall, Library or Itasca YMCA. All you need is a photo id.

Be Entertained Grand Rapids MNBe Entertained

If after-hours entertainment is something your group desires, check out our Things To Do page. Grand Rapids, Minnesota offers wonderful weekly live music at our craft breweries: Klockow Brewing Co and Rapids Brewing Co. The Reif Center has weekly performances September through May of each year that include Broadway style productions, live music concerts, and comedy shows. Check out the Events Calendar to view the daily and weekly line-up of nighlight in Grand Rapids.

Downtown ShoppingBoutique Style Shops

Grand Rapids is filled with little boutique style shops that offer one-of-a-kind unique items that you cannot find anywhere else. You will find clothing & shoes, up-north finds, Minnesota made, antiques, vintage, or home decor. Here are some of our favorites: Bender’s Shoes & Gifts, Wings & Willow, Lake Lover VintageCentral Square Mall, Itasca County Historical Society Gift Shop, Forest History Center Gift Shop, Judy Garland & Children’s Museum Gift Shop, Thousand Lakes Sporting Goods, Lake + Co Shop, Annabella’s Antique Mall, Shaw Florists, MacRostie Art Center Gallery ,Thirteen Main, Frame Up 218, Red Willow Co, and Clara Cupboard & Closet.

We hope that we have given you inspiration for you to want to book your Spring Road Trip Girlfriend Getaway to Grand Rapids, Minnesota! Download the 2022 Grand Rapids Visitor Guide for even more Girlfriend Getaway inspiration.

Top 10 Spring Adventures in Grand Rapids, MN

The perfect spring road trip to seek spring adventure up north in Grand Rapids, MN. 

Let’s be honest, winter has been great this year, but we all have a little cabin fever. That feeling of being cooped up inside is leaving all of us seeking Spring Adventures in Minnesota. Grand Rapids, Minnesota is the perfect up north spring road trip where you can get outside, seek adventure, and also enjoy a little rest and relaxation as well. Below is a list of Top 10 Spring Adventure you can find in Grand Rapids, Minnesota…

Grand Rapids Hiking Legion Trail1. Hike

Everyone gets a little, or a lot, of cabin fever around the transition from winter to spring. Grand Rapids, Minnesota offers over 1 million acres of public forest land made up of the Chippewa National Forest, UPM Blandin Foundation, George Washington State Forest, and the Scenic State Park. These are all great places to hike on well-maintained trails. We suggest the following: Simpson Creek (Easiest) is located in the Chippewa National Forest 45 miles northwest of Grand Rapids, Minnesota on the Avenue of the Pines Scenic Byway. This trail is a nice entry-level that is perfect for families of young children. Enjoy rolling topography through pines and along glacial eskers, with overlooks onto Cut Foot Sioux Lake and journeys into the cedar swamp. Legion Trail (Easy/Beginner to More Difficult Level) located north of town inside the City limits of Grand Rapids is a 7-mile hand-cut trail that is fun, flowy, and twisty in a mixed forest that wraps around Hale Lake. Suomi Hills (More Difficult Level) is a remotely located hiking and skiing trail located twenty-three miles north of Grand Rapids up the Edge of the Wilderness Scenic Byway. An interesting site is The Day Lake Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) camp remains, a prisoner of war camp during World War II is located on the north end of Suomi Hills. Learn more about places to Hike in the Grand Rapids, MN area.

Itasca Historical Museum Grand Rapids MN2. Explore Minnesota’s History

Grand Rapids, Minnesota was established in 1872 and has rich forestry, logging, and mining history to learn about. You will want to check out the Itasca County Historical Society Museum.  The Museum is FREE, houses a lot of interesting Minnesota artifacts, and houses a genealogy center, gift shop, and escape room. The Judy Garland Museum and Children’s Discovery Museum are two museums under one roof where you can learn about the life of Judy Garland, born as Frances Ethel Gumm on June 10, 1922, in Grand Rapids, Minnesota. Find the largest Judy Garland and Wizard of Oz artifacts in the nation. Walkthrough the home Judy grew up in. The Children’s Discovery Museum offers hands-on educational exhibits, activities & programs for kids, plus a gift store. Learn more about Grand Rapids, MN area Historic Attractions.

Grand Rapids MN Off Road Adventures3. Four Wheel Forest Adventures

Grand Rapids, Minnesota has over 300 miles of ATV trails to ride in the Spring. ATV/OHV trails open April -middle of May. The ATV trails that are located on old railroad beds open first (Alborn-Pengilly (39 miles), Blue Ox (74 miles), and Thistledew (25 miles). With Alvwood/Squaw Lake (159) and Island Lake Connection Trail (2 miles) opening May 2nd. The rest of the Itasca County ATV/OHV trails open middle of May (UPM-Blandin (21 miles), Balsam to Bigfork (33 miles), Little Moose (18 miles), and Northwoods Regional Trail (19 miles). All of these trails are well maintained and offer a wide variety of easy to moderate riding levels. All of these trails will take you through mixed forest, tamarack bogs, across boardwalks, and around lakes, rivers and streams. This is a wonderful way to get deeper into Minnesota’s forest on designated trails. Download the Itasca County ATV Map.

DSC0914 HDR 14. Explore Grand Rapids Public Art & History Tour

Take a walking tour around Grand Rapids and visit different murals, sculptures, and historic buildings. The art and history around Grand Rapids represent what Grand Rapids was founded on and you can find different art pieces that represent the Ojibwa culture, forestry, logging, and mining history, and the splendor of surrounding Minnesota’s nature. Also on the tour is MacRostie Art Center and The Reif Center which have rotating art exhibits and galleries. The new walking bridge across the Mississippi River is a wonderful place to start this self-guided tour. Download the Grand Rapids Public Art & History Tour.


Grand Splash Water Slide Grand Rapids MN5. Indoor Water Fun

Many Grand Rapids lodging properties like Timberlake Lodge Hotel, AmericInn, Country Inn & Suites offer pools and hot tubs. This allows kids of all ages to enjoy pool time while the parents relax in the hot tub. Timberlake Lodge Hotel has a Grand Splash waterpark, which offers a 98-foot slide, 20-person hot tub, and kiddie pool. A wonderful way for the kids and adults alike to burn off some energy and the parents to relax in comfort. Find Grand Rapids, MN places to Stay with pools and hot tubs.

Mesabi Trail Grand Rapids MN6. Bike Mississippi to Boundry Waters

The Mesabi Trail is 145 miles of mostly paved bicycle trail that runs from the Mississippi River in Grand Rapids to the Boundry Waters in Ely. Cutting through the forests of northeast Minnesota, your adventure will take you past lakes, creeks, and ponds, by vast red pits of old iron ore mines now filled with emerald, green water.  Learn more about the Mesabi Trail and purchase a wheel pass. The Tioga Recreation Area is a 25-mile single-track trail that was created for mountain biking and fat-tire biking. Playground Pathfinder will also be officially opening sometime in the Spring of 2022. Learn more about the Tioga Recreation Area.


Reif Center Grand Rapids MN7. Be Entertained

Mother Nature sometimes brings showers so our spring flowers can bloom. If this is the case, don’t fret, we have several indoor locations that can keep everyone entertained. The Reif Center is our hidden gem of a theater that brings the stars to northern Minnesota. Another place to relax and be entertained indoors is Mann’s Cinema Theater. Take in an afternoon matinee or evening show. They offer comfortable theater-style seating and a full-service concession stand. Thunder Alley XL offers a bowling and indoor adult-style arcade game area, an onsite bar that serves great pizza and other concession snacks. Find Grand Rapids, MN Area Attractions.

Klockow Brewing Grand Rapids MN8. Eat, Drink & Shop Local

Check out the two craft breweries and Minnesota wine bar. At Klockow Brewing Company you can order or bring your own food in and enjoy live music every week. Rapids Brewing Company located in historic downtown offers wood-fired oven cuisine and live music and events occurring weekly. Unwined Up North is also located in historic downtown and serves Minnesota wine and craft beer, charcuterie boards, flatbreads, salads, and sandwiches. In Grand Rapids, you will find many locally-owned restaurants, bars, and grills that offer one-of-a-kind up north cuisine like hearty wild rice soup and juicy bar burgers. Find Places to Eat & Drink in Grand Rapids, MN. Downtown Grand Rapids is best known for boutique-style shops that offer one-of-a-kind gifts, home decor, clothing, shoes, jewelry, local art, and Northwood memorabilia to take home with you as a memento of your visit to Grand Rapids. Grand Rapids, Minnesota area has several other retail shops and vintage boutique-style shops where you can shop to your heart’s delight.

Pokegama Golf Course Grand Rapids MN 10 spring adventures9. Grand Lakes of Golf

Three 18-hole championship golf courses make up the Grand Lakes of Golf: Eagle Ridge Golf Course, Pokegama Golf Course, and Sugar Brooke Golf Course. Each course is beautifully manicured with different degrees of difficulty. All have cart rentals and restaurants on-site. Whether you want 18 or 9 holes, to take an extended vacation, long weekend, or just get in a few holes after work, Grand Rapids has many options, and won’t disappoint. There are four additional 9-hole courses located in the Grand Rapids, MN area as well that are perfect for entry-level golfers and families. Find more information and book a tee time for Grand Rapids, MN area Golf Courses.

Cozy Lodging Grand Rapids MN10. Seek Rest and Relaxation

Grand Rapids, Minnesota offers a wide variety of cozy lodging options where you can find rest and relaxation while up north. You will find conveniently located in town Hotels/Motels and Bed & Breakfast. You will also find Minnesota Resort cabins and Vacation Home Rentals where you will have the opportunity to make your own meals and gather together. And we also offer in-town Air B&B’s as well that are hosted in a mixed commercial and residential area that is close to being able to walk to shops, restaurants, and breweries downtown. Find Places to Stay in Grand Rapids, MN.




Dog Friendly Fall Hiking in Northern Minnesota

Fall is our favorite time of the year to hike in Grand Rapid, Minnesota. The Grand Rapids forests have a high concentration of hardwood trees that show their brilliance color in the fall time of year. Below are highlights the Grand Rapids, MN area hiking options that are dog-friendly. Dogs are required to be on a leash while on the trails.


Legion Trail 9 24 19

Grand Rapids, Minnesota is the perfect Fall Vacation Destination because of our communities position located in the middle of the Northwoods of Minnesota. We are surrounded by nature, and we LOVE it and think you will too. There are many places to hike in the fall around Grand Rapids. There are short distances that are a couple of minutes from downtown and places that are well worth the hour drive north where you can experience some of the most breathtaking views.

COLOR VARIATION: Yellow to Gold Colors
TYPES OF TREES: Basswood, Birch, Oak,

COLOR VARIATION: Khaki Green to Yellow
TYPES OF TREES: Balsam Poplar

COLOR VARIATION: Brown, Orange & Red
TYPES OF TREES: Oaks, Maples

*Note: After mid-October, it is still a good time to hike in the forests, just be mindful that rifle season will start beginning of November 6, 2021. Be safety smart and wear bright orange when walking in the forests during these seasons.


The Chippewa National Forest is one of the best places to hike, but there are other trails that we will highlight for you in this section.  Depending on the difficulty level of the hike that you are looking for, we are ranking our Top 5 Places to Hike with dogs in the Grand Rapids, MN area:

Golden Anniversary Meadow Kouffeld 2019
Golden Anniversary State Forest Photo by: Meadow Kouffeld

1. Golden Anniversary State Forest – (LEVEL: EASY TO INTERMEDIATE) Located 15 minutes from downtown Grand Rapids on the Great River Road. This forest was established in 1961. The terrain includes flat ground to gently rolling hills. The forest is made up of hardwoods and pines that are used to produce timber, create wildlife habitat and opportunities for hunting. Trees that you will see in this forest: Aspen, maple, ash, oak, and balsam fir cover much of the forest. White, red, and jack pine grows on sandier soils. Other conifers include spruce, cedar, and tamarack. Wildlife that you can expect to see is white-tailed deer, black bear, ruffed grouse, woodcock, waterfowl, gray wolf, bobcat, beaver, fisher, pine marten, snowshoe hare, otter, mink, muskrat, trumpeter swan, and eagle. *Note: the signs that state no dogs is for the cross country skiing season.

Simpson Creek Trail
Simpson Creek Trail Photo by: Chippewa National Forest

2. Simpson Creek – (LEVEL: EASY TO INTERMEDIATE) Located 40 minutes northwest of Grand Rapids on County Road 46. This forest was established in 1907 by Sam Simpson. Located in the Chippewa National Forest, this trail is located next to the Cut Foot Visitor’s Center. This 13-mile trail is all non-motorized. The trees along this trail are very old and tall pine trees that This trail is a great place to view birds like bald eagles, osprey, and loons. Enjoy rolling topography through pines and along glacial eskers, with overlooks onto Cut Foot Sioux Lake and journeys into the cedar swamp. This is also a great trail to snowshoe in the winter because it is not groomed for cross country skiing. *Note: the signs that state no dogs is for the cross country skiing season.

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The Marrier Family hiking in the Chippewa National Forest

3. Suomi Hills Trail – (LEVEL: EASY TO INTERMEDIATE)  Located 14 miles north of Grand Rapids, in the Chippewa National Forest. The remote and stunning Suomi Hills has 19 miles of hiking, biking, and ski trails and is part of a semi-primitive non-motorized area. This is the trail is well known for cross country skiing, but this is a fabulous place to hike. Suomi is located on the Edge of the Wilderness Scenic Byway, which is the oldest scenic byway in the state of Minnesota. *Note: the signs that state no dogs is for the cross country skiing season.

Lost Forty Our Fun With Five Blog Post
Lost Forty Photo by: Our Fun With Five

4. Lost Forty – (LEVEL: EASY) Located one hour twenty minutes northwest of Grand Rapids. Lost 40 Scientific Nature Area (SNA) owes its old-growth pine forest to a surveying error that occurred during the Public Land Survey in 1882. In this forest, you will find over 200-year-old pine trees that take three people to connect their hands together to wrap around. The easy-to-hike trails are perfect for a 1/2 day trip up north with the family. There are public restrooms and picnic tables at this location, so pack a lunch to enjoy before or after your hike.

Dog Friendly HIking Adessa Cournoyer Joyce Estates
Photo by: Adessa C Photography at Joyce Estates

5. Joyce Estates – (LEVEL: EASY) Located 32 minutes north of Grand Rapids. The trails to the Joyce Estates are kept mowed by the Chippewa National Forest, so it is a great place for hiking, mountain biking, and snowshoeing. The Joyce family created a beautiful private resort area that at one time had 40 building sites and covered over 4,000 acres. Today there are only a couple of buildings that remain standing. This hike is approximately 4 miles in front of the entrance kiosk. The Joyce Estates is located on Trout Lake. It is a beautiful area that has a lot of history.

Click HERE for more information about hiking in the Grand Rapids, MN area.

Click HERE for additional hiking trails located within Itasca County.


Pet-Friendly Lodging – Grand Rapids, Minnesota is dog friendly. Grand Rapids is a perfect place to get away in the fall and find dog-friendly lodging. You can search Pets Allowed in the amenities search tab located on the left side of our STAY page. You will find a wide variety of lodging properties that are pet friendly, from conveniently located in town Hotels & Motels, Minnesota Resorts that are located on beautiful lakes, and Vacation Rentals that allow you flexibility.

Please Share Your Images: Visit Grand Rapids would love to see images of you, your family, and your dog on hiking trails while in the Grand Rapids, Minnesota area. Please feel free to email images to: info@visitgrandrapids.com, and we will share them on our social media pages and tag you. Also, use the following hashtags when you share your images on your social media pages: #GrandRapidsMN. Thank you!

Top 10 Things To Do In Itasca County This Fall

Itasca County is vibrant with fall colors, and a warm fall breeze! Come explore and see what’s happening up north this fall. Here is a list of the top 10 things to do this fall!

1.Rasmussen’s Cowhorn Crossing Farm

Pumpkins, hayrides, animals and fall activities can all be experiences from September 25th- October 31st at Rasmussen’s Cowhorn Crossing Farm. Hours include: Thursday & Friday evenings 4-6pm, Saturday & Sunday 10am-6pm.

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2. Fish in Itasca

There are over 1,000 lakes to fish in Itasca County. Fish from a variety of fish and stay up to date on fishing conditions by checking out our weekly fishing report done by local fishing guides. To see a full list of lakes in Itasca County, click HERE.

Jim Lindner small mouth bass
Jim Linder caught this nice smallmouth bass on a Grand Rapids, MN area.

3. Fall Colors Tour Road Trip!

Fall colors have began to show on the trees up north in the greater Grand Rapids area. Take a fall colors tour on Edge of the Wilderness Scenic Byway. Stop along 4 communities and 14 discovery sites along 47 miles. On your way up, travel along the Great River Road. 

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4. Live Music Downtown

There is always live music going on downtown at Klockow, Rapids Brewing Company and UnWined Up North! In addition, see music at The VFW, The Eagles Club and The Reif.

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5. Fall Hiking

Hike two beautiful State parks in Itasca. Scenic State Park is located in Bigfork and Schoolcraft State Park in Deer River. Both are great groomed trails, perfect to experience fall leaves.  For other great hiking spots in Itasca, click HERE.


6. See a show at The Reif or Edge Center for the Arts

The Reif is located in Grand Rapids and the Edge Center for the Arts is located in Big Fork. Both have a variety of shows in the upcoming fall season. To see the full list of show, Click the hyperlinks.

7. Lavaliers Berry Patch

Although Lavaliers doesn’t have any apples this fall, visit Saturdays and Sundays September 15th- October 24th to get pumpkins, squash, brussels sprouts, honey and sunflowers. Hours at 9am-2pm. Stop by to get get the perfect sunflower photos!

8. Fall ATV Ride

The Itasca County area offers thousands of acres of federal, state, county and industrial forest land that are open to off-highway vehicle riding, and several designated trails. Forest or logging roads are an excellent choice for ATV/OHV use as well. In Itasca County, there are over 200 miles of ATV trails to ride. To see the different trails to ride and learn more, click HERE.

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9.Farmers’ Market

The Farmers’ Market is open until the end of October. Stop by Wednesday’s and Saturday’s from 9am-1pm. They now have online ordering and pick-up!

10. Fall Events Happening!

Fall is a great time to get out and explore beautiful Northern Minnesota. To see events happening, go to our calendar page. Some fun events coming up include Klockotober Fest, Fall Phenology at Forest History Center and First Friday Art Walk. 

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If you’re looking for somewhere to stay, see our lodging page for a list of Hotels, Motels, Vacation Rentals, Airbnb’s and Resorts.

To receive a physical Visitor Guide or see a interactive version, click HERE.

Last Minute Labor Day Trip Ideas

Welcome to Grand Rapids! This Labor Day weekend there is so much to do and explore. Here are a few ideas to make for a fun 3 day weekend!

Things To Do

1. Forest History Center

Join meteorologist and astronomer Mike Lynch to view the wonders of the night sky such as planets, stars, nebulae and more. Lynch will have his large reflecting telescopes set up for viewing, including two giant 20-inch reflector telescopes that are among the largest mobile telescopes in Minnesota. Learn about celestial photography, as Lynch takes amazing photos that will be made available to participants at no additional charge. This event will take place September 4th from 8:30-11:00. In addition to regulars hours, they will be open Monday from 10am-4pm. For more information click HERE.

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2. Bovey Farm Days

Bovey Farm Days was established in 1912. Enjoy a variety of events happening this weekend.

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3. Spend Time On The Lake

There is nothing better than a cruise on the lake or a day of fishing. As summertime comes to a close, relax with an extra day on one of the many many lakes in the greater Grand Rapids area.

Pokegama Lake

4. Hike Great Trails and Explore State Parks

Hike over 1.6 million acres of the Chippewa National Forest. If that wasn’t enough ground to cover, check out Hill Annex Mine State Park, Scenic State Park and Schoolcraft State Park!


5. Live Music Downtown!

All weekend you can hear music downtown! Rapids Brewing Company, Klockow Brewing Company and UnWined Up North all have music. Also, you can Sam and Matthew Miltich, Nathan Norman, and Briand Morrison performing from 6 – 8 at Old Central School for First Friday! Also, see Michael Smith at Hotel Rapids.

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6. Mountain Bike at Tioga Recreation

Looking for an adventurous way to spend the extended weekend? Check out Tioga Recreation. Ride 25 miles of easy to hard curves, loops, and hills. These world class trails make for the perfect biking adventure. Hop in the crystal blue mine pit after a ride.

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7. 27th Annual Wissota Classic at the Speedway

Have a fun date night or family night at the Grand Rapids Speedway for their annual Wissota Classic. For more information on the races, click HERE.


Lodging Options

The greater Grand Rapids area offers a variety of lodging options. Choose from a Hotel, Motel, Airbnb, Resort, Vacation Rental and a Bed and Breakfast. To see a full list of properties, click HERE.

Next Weekend in Grand Rapids

Already have plans for Labor Day Weekend and still want to Visit Grand Rapids? Next weekend September 10th-11th is Grand Rapids Riverfest! See Headliners Trampled by Turtles and Yonder Mountain String Band. Get your tickets today!

Riverfest Poster


Labor Day Minnesota Family Vacations


Grand Rapids, Minnesota is a great location for Labor Day Minnesota Family Vacations. Head North for the perfect drive destination located in rural northern Minnesota. Grand Rapids offers an abundance of outdoor recreation, lodging options with a view, arts & history, scenic byways, great shopping and fun dining for all ages.  Come escape, experience and explore to Grand Rapids Minnesota this Labor Day Weekend.

Lodging Options with a View

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Come experience “Grand” hospitality in Minnesota’s nature. There are many lodging choices to choose from. Whether you are looking for a clean and  economical motel or you would like a property that has full amenities we have you covered.  You will find Hotels, Motels, Resorts, a Bed & Breakfast, Vacation Rentals, Lake Rentals, and Camping. Find Grand Rapids Lodging HERE.

Cowardly Lion and Tinman at Tioga ResizedThings To Do in Grand Rapids

Grand Rapids has an abundance of outdoor recreation. We have hundreds of miles of Hiking/Biking trails,  1,400 area Lakes. We are known for our lakes and trails. Check out our NEW Tioga Recreation Area is northern Minnesota’s premier outdoor adventure destination. Five hundred wooded acres located on two of the region’s most unique lakes features 30 miles of world-class, single-track mountain biking, snowshoe trails, beaches, and access to hundreds of miles of waterways. Every season is adventure season at Tioga. You will also find outstanding Art and History Attractions that offer visitors a chance to see a wide variety of exhibits and performances, both indoors and out. You can pick up a public art walk Newly Remodeled Gallerymap at MacRostie Art Center to take a self-guided public art tour.  Create special memories by weaving some fascinating history into your Grand Rapids vacation. Grand Rapids has a rich history having originally been founded as a logging town on the Mississippi River.  Check out the FREE museum at the Itasca County Historical Society located in downtown Grand Rapids  where you can view fabulous preserved historic artifacts. Take a drive up the Edge of the Wilderness Scenic Byway and stop at the Edge of the Wildereness Discovery Center in Marcell to get an environmental history and view many northwoods wildlife in their natural settings. Tour the Judy Garland Museum for a self guided tour of the 3,000 piece Wizard of Oz exhibit and to tour the home that Judy lived in while living in Grand Rapids. Make sure to check our Event Calendar before you arrive.  

Come Together in Minnesota’s Nature This Labor Day

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Grand Rapids Minnesota is that place where you can all come together to un-plug and reconnect! Grand Rapids is conveniently located, but far enough away to create a true destination vacation. We welcome you to join us Up North in Grand Rapids, Minnesota this Labor Day.