Top Summer things to do in grand rapids, mn
This top 10 summer solstice things to do in Grand Rapids, Minnesota was created to give several reasons why vacationers should pick Grand Rapids for their summer vacation destination this year. This small town with lots of charm offers vacationers and residents a lot of outdoor recreation, fun places to eat & drink, interesting area attractions, lots of lakes to swim, fish and paddle, and many miles of trails to hike, bike and ATV. But the great thing about this small town is that it is surrounded by Minnesota’s nature that allows you to take in much needed rest and relaxation as well. Make memories this summer up north with your friends and family.
Outdoor Things To Do in Grand Rapids
1. Paddle the Mississippi – A top thing to do in Grand Rapids, MN is paddling. A vacation bucket list for sure! The Mississippi River runs right through downtown Grand Rapids, Minnesota. There are several places to launch your own kayak, stand up paddle board, or canoe: Mississippi River access in Cohasset on Columbus Street provides on street parking, and this access is less busy so allows you more time to launch. This is approximately 10 mile paddle to the Pokegama Dam that is located on Hwy 2. There is a launch site at the Pokegama Dam Campground as well where you can paddle down river to the Sylvan Bay located on 1st Street SW. When you rent from Paddle Hoppers you get access to their launch access onto the Mississippi River. The Forest History Center does guided kayak tours on Wednesday-Saturday each week. Steamboat Landing off River Road in Grand Rapids provides a space to park a couple of vehicles, and launch onto the Mississippi River. Learn more about paddling in the great Grand Rapids, MN area HERE.
2. Fish off a Fishing Pier – Another fun things to do in Grand Rapids, MN is fishing! In the event that you do not have a fishing boat, no worries! You can still take part in fishing by investing a few pieces of equipment: a fishing pole, fishing reel, fishing line (many times you can find package deals and the place you purchased will add the line onto the reel), and a little bit of tackle, and fishing bait. You can fish from shore at the Pokegama Dam located off of Hwy 2. Sylvan Bay Boat Landing on 1st Street SW in Grand Rapids offers a nice quiet neighborhood to fish for panfish in the back bay of the Mississippi River located downstream of the Forest History Center. Mississippi River Fishing at the Grand Rapids Area Library is a great public area to catch fish on the Mississippi River. During open times kids can borrow fishing equipment and a little box of fishing tackle. Crystal Lake located at the Itasca County Fairgrounds has a nice fishing pier that is located on the east side of the lake. This is a great option to catch panfish. Forest Lake located on 5th Street in Grand Rapids offers a fishing pier across from the Forest Lake Restaurant. This location can have a lot of traffic on 5th Street. There is a public swimming beach at the east end of the lake called Blandin Beach. Learn more about lakes and fishing in the greater Grand Rapids, MN area HERE.
3. Swim at a Beach – Of course a top summer thing to do in Grand Rapids, MN is going to the beach! This summers warm weather has us heading the lake. There are several free beach areas in the Grand Rapids, MN area. The Blandin Beach is a public beach area located off of 5th Street in Grand Rapids. At this location there is a playground area, several picnic tables and benches, and a sand beach area. Tioga Recreation Area is located in Cohasset off of Tioga Beach Road. This beach offers two pavilions that can be rented from the City of Cohasset for picnics, parties, and group gatherings. There are two portable restrooms, a playground and a fishing pier. The beach has no lifeguard so swim at your own risk. The Moose Lake Beach is located off County Road 19 in Deer River. There is a portable restroom, a pavilion area to eat under, and sandy beach area that is open 8am-9pm. Cotton Beach is located next to Longyear Park in Coleraine. There are two dock areas, a fishing pier nearby, and walking and biking path (that leads to the Mesabi Trail), and sandy beach area. In Longyear Park there is a covered pavilion with picnic tables, and nearby playground equipment for kids to enjoy. Trout Lake Kom-on-in Beach located on Trout Lake in Bovey offers a nice sandy beach area, a playground, and a covered pavilion to enjoy a picnic lunch that is located off County Road 10. Twin Lakes Beach is located just minutes south of Marble on County Road 69. There is a nice sandy beach area, a dock area, and a nice playground. Obrien Reservoir is located off of Hwy 169 E in Keewatin. This swim and boating area received an upgrade last year. A new covered pavilion was installed with new restrooms, picnic tables, and a playground area with direct access to the Mesabi Trail.
4. Bike the Mesabi Trail – The Mesabi Trail is definitely a top thing to do in Grand Rapids, MN this summer! The Mesabi Trail is 165-mile long paved bicycle trail that runs from the Mississippi River in Grand Rapids, across the Iron Range and up to the Boundary Waters in Ely, Minnesota. 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. You are sure to be greeted by native wildlife during your travels. Travel through 28 communities to discover their small-town charm. Experience the history of the area, learn about our mining and logging legacies, enjoy the local cuisine…try a sarma, a pasty or some potica. Great summer activities include biking, hiking, walking and inline skating. You can access the Mesabi Trail from any of the communities along the trail. There is a trailhead located at the north end of the Itasca County Fairgrounds in Grand Rapids. Learn more HERE.
5. ATV on the UPM Blandin Trail – Because you can ride all County Roads in Itasca County and many city roads makes ATVing in Grand Rapids a top thing to do. There are over 300 miles of ATV Trails in the greater Grand Rapids, Minnesota Area. The UPM Blandin Trail is the closest to downtown Grand Rapids (located 9 miles south). There is a nice parking area located off of Hwy 169 S by turning east onto Smith Drive and then turning north onto Wildwood Drive. From this parking lot you can access the UPM Blandin ATV Trail that goes both west into the Blandin Shingmill and south that leads into the UPM Blandin Forest Trails and Roads that lead to Hill City. Both ATV Trails will lead to Hill City where you will find places to eat & drink, places to get gas and snacks, and several places to stop along the trail to rest and capture vista overlooks. The vantage point that you get on ATV trails is you get further into the forest to view Minnesota’s nature and wildlife. Along the trail you will see northern Minnesota birds like eagles, hawks, owls, as well as Minnesota wildlife like deer, racoons, and an occasional bear, skunk and porcupine (keep your distance from these and you will be fine). Download the Itasca County ATV Trail Map HERE.
6. Hike in the Chippewa National Forest – Hiking is a top thing to do in Grand Rapids, MN because of the 1+ million public accessible acres of forest land that surround Grand Rapids. If you enjoy hiking, the Chippewa National Forest offers many maintained hiking trails to enjoy. Here are a couple of places to hike: The Lost Forty is a scientific natural area (SNA) that is located near Northome. This is 144 acres of 200+ year old pine trees that were not included in a forestry survey and therefore never logged. At this location there are picnic tables, a portable restroom, and parking on the forest road. There is a short 1.9-mile loop trail located at the Lost Forty that takes you deep among the towering pine trees, and some take four people to connect their arms together to fit around. Simpson Creek is a 13-mile loop located at the Cut Foot Sioux Visitor Center (on the Avenue of the Pines Scenic Byway – Hwy 46) that wraps around the Cut Foot Sioux Lake. This is an excellent place to view Eagles and Eagle Nests. Suomi Hills has two entrance locations: North and South in the Chippewa National Forest on the Edge of the Wilderness Scenic Byway. Suomi Hills is 19-miles of hiking trails that has multiple hill areas that wrap around lake areas, and offers multiple primitive camping areas. Learn more about hiking in the Chippewa National Forest HERE.
7. Mountain Bike at Tioga Recreation Area – Mountain biking trails have become a very popular reason to vacation to the Grand Rapids, MN area. It is also one of the top things to do in Grand Rapids, MN. Tioga is a 25+ miles of multi-level mountain bike trails and a skills course called Pathfinders Playground that was created to increase mountain bike skills for all levels. There is a mountain bike course for all levels, all ages, and all abilities. At the Tioga Recreation Area there is also the Tioga Pit where you can swim, paddle, and fish. Just across the road is the Tioga Boat Landing onto Pokegama Lake, Tioga Beach on Pokegama Lake, and playground area. From the Tioga Recreation Area there is a paved bicycle trail that takes you into Grand Rapids. To learn more about Tioga Recreation Area, click HERE. Another place to mountain bike is Legion Trail that is located at The Reif Center parking lot. This is a single-track mountain bike trail that loops around Hale Lake in the city limits of Grand Rapids. The Grand Rapids Itasca Mountain Bike Association includes information on their website about Legion Trail HERE.
Fun Places To Eat & Drink
8. Eat & Drink Local – Grand Rapids has many places to eat & drink, and when going on vacation eating out is a top thing to do. There are two craft breweries that brew locally. Klockow Brewing Company brews to distribute and sells at their brewery. They do not serve food, but you can order in. They host live musicians and food trucks on a regular basis. Rapids Brewing Company is located downtown. They brew on site, serve and sell on site as well. They offer wood-fired oven menu items, and chef inspired seasonal menu items. They offer live music multiple times a week, and a wide variety of monthly events. Both breweries provide outdoor and indoor spaces to gather. Unwined Up North is a Minnesota wine bar that serves Minnesota wine and craft beer. There menu include charcuterie boards, flat breads, fresh salads and sandwiches and soup. Enjoy steaks and seafood and chef inspired seasonal menus at Forest Lake Restaurant, Timberlake Restaurant, and Cedar Creek Grille. Boat to a restaurant on Pokegama Lake at the Pickled Loon Saloon, Pokegama Grill at the Pokegama Golf Course or Zorbaz on the Lake. A short drive and you will find charming places where all the locals go like Florio’s Grill & Tavern, The Locker Room Bar, and Sportsman Café. There is much more to the Eat & Drink Local list in the greater Grand Rapids, MN area. Learn more HERE.
Beautiful Art & Historic Things To Do
9. Self-Guided Public Art & Historic Site Tour – Art and historic sites are important for Grand Rapids, MN. The community celebrates art in many forms. Walking or driving around town you will notice several pieces of public art. These pieces of art have been created by local artists, Minnesota artists, and artists that come to Grand Rapids, MN to be inspired by nature to create. Several organizations in Grand Rapids came together to create a self-guided interactive art & historic site map that highlights all of the public art that is located in the downtown Grand Rapids, MN area. The public art ranges from poetry in the sidewalks, metal statutes, painted murals both outside and inside, and public galleries where you can view art exhibits. The interactive map gives walking directions through Google map. Take the tour HERE.
Fun Family Friendly Things To Do
10. Tour Fun Grand Rapids Area Attractions – The area attractions are for sure top things to do in Grand Rapids, MN. There are many area attractions in the Grand Rapids, Minnesota area that are fun for all ages. The Itasca County Historical Society is a free will museum that takes you back in time to showcase exhibits like River Town, and Veterans Display. The ICHS also offers an Escape Room with a Bigfoot theme right now. The Forest History Center is an environmental learning center located on a couple of hundred acres right in the city limits of Grand Rapids. The interactive learning center includes a movie about the Hinkley Fire of 1894, pieces of paper making equipment from the Blandin Paper Mill, and other logging and forestry equipment that tell the forest’s story. Walk down to the 1900’s Logging Camp where interpreters will take you back in time as it would have been in the winter of 1900’s. The Judy Garland and Children’s Discovery Museum are located under one roof. Judy Garland was born in Grand Rapids, MN. The Judy Garland Museum has the largest collection of Judy Garland memorabilia and artifacts from her talented life’s work. Stroll through the home where she grew up that is set back in time during the early 1920’s. The Children’s Discovery Museum is a place where kids can be kids and learn at the same time. There are many exhibits that instill imaginative play in youth. Then there are exhibits that are both fun and educational at the same time, like the water table. Perfect for children aged from toddlers to tweens. The MacRostie Art Center and The Reif Center are two locations where you can surround yourself with beautiful art, take in live music, live theater, and art classes. Learn more about all of the Grand Rapids Area Attractions HERE.
This Summer Solstice Top 10 was created to spur vacation trip ideas for things to do in Grand Rapids, Minnesota. This going to the lake summer destination offers small town charm that is surrounded by Minnesota’s nature. There is much to do in this small town, but the natural beauty also allows you to slow down and recharge your soul to regain your natural balance. This summer come make memories with your friends and family in northern Minnesota. Start planning by searching Grand Rapids Places To Stay where you will find a wide variety of Hotels/Motels, charming Bed and Breakfasts, Minnesota Lake Resorts, and Vacation Rentals. You can download the interactive Visitor’s Guide HERE.