The Great Minnesota Bucket List: Woodsy Weekends

Load up on bug spray, bait, and bungee cords, lash the canoe to the car roof, and head into the wild.

Park It

Itasca State ParkHere, the mighty Mississippi begins to flow on its winding way 2,552 miles to the Gulf of Mexico.
If you haven’t waded in the shallow headwaters of the Mississippi River, you’re not a full-blooded Minnesotan. Located 2,552 miles from the Gulf of Mexico and 23 miles from Park Rapids, Itasca State Park, home of the headwaters, is Minnesota’s oldest state park and the second oldest in the United States after Niagara Falls. Highlights include the Itasca Indian Cemetery, the Itasca Bison Kill Site, and the Wilderness Sanctuary (one of Minnesota’s seven National Natural Landmarks).


Laura Ingalls Wilder meets L.L. Bean in Douglas Lodge, a rustic but comfortable setting with views of Lake Itasca. Stay in the main lodge, take a suite in one of two modern sixplex buildings, rent one of a dozen log cabins (some more remote than others), or bring a group and stay in the clubhouse. Park Rapids, 218-699-7251


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