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Up North Minnesota

  • Since we call Minnesota our HOME SWEET HOME, I thought I'd focus my blog on northern Minnesota.  If you ask any Minne-SO-tan (you hear the accent there?) where they go on vacation in the summer, they will probably say "Up North". Which pretty much means anything north of the Twin Cities area. Places like Alexandria, Mille Lacs, Brainerd, Duluth, Park Rapids or Bemidj. Bemidji and Park Rapids are the areas I will focus on today.  We spent our 4th of July week in Bemidji, MN one year and had a great time exploring. It is an outdoorsmen's (and women's) paradise.  


    First I will start off with where we stayed since this is an RV/camping site. Royal Oaks RV Park (Good Sam Club) Check out their web-site and Facebook page. https://royaloaksrvpark.com/  Nice wooded park just off the highway. Decent sized lots. Our lot had the fire pit and picnic table in the back next to the trees/bushes. Friendly staff. If you like karaoke, they have karaoke right in the park (not sure what nights). It was fun and a way to get to know some of the other campers and regulars. If you are lucky enough to get in for the 4th of July week, (they book up fast) they set off fireworks right down the road from the park and they were awesome. We really didn't spend too much time in the campground since we were too busy exploring the area.


    A must see destination is Lake Bemidji State Park. Lots of outdoor things to do here. Hiking, fishing, boating, kayaking and our favorite - The Bog Walk. The Bog Walk will take you on a walk on a boardwalk into the heart of the forest. Along the way you will see many plants and flowers and maybe even some wildlife . The interpretive signs will point out and help you identify the different types of vegetation. We found this very helpful. 


    Don't forget your camera because this is a great place to get a photo of our Minnesota State flower the Showy Lady's Slipper.


    The end of the bog will take you to an amazing view of Big Bog Lake.


    If you like to bike, then you will get excited about this 17.1 mile Paul Bunyan Trail that loops around Lake Bemidji. It was the longest bike ride we had ever done but it was fun and great exercise. Part of the trail goes through Lake Bemidji State Park which is a pretty ride.

     Just a 40 minute drive from Bemidji is another must-see State Park - Itasca State Park in Park Rapids, MN. This is Minnesota's oldest State Park established in 1891 and is full of lots of outdoor adventures. With 45 miles of trails to hike, 6 mi. of bike paths, and a 10 mi. loop to drive by car. You pick your transportation and how you'd like to explore. Or rent a kayak, canoe, pontoon, bicycle or paddleboard from the park. Also a very popular destination for tourist where you can see where the Mississippi river starts it's flow down to the Gulf of Mexico.  You can say you stepped foot in the Mississippi headwaters. Literally you can.  Check out the Visitor's Center for all your facts and information.

    Beautiful day for kayaking on the 4th of July.

    A few other sites to visit in the park are the Largest White Pine Tree, the Fire Tower, and Wegmann Cabin and Pioneer Cemetary (not pictured). You could literally spend all day exploring this park if you added some hiking or boating in. 


    Before leaving the Bemidji area you can't forget to pay a visit to Paul Bunyan and Babe his Blue Ox. Definitely selfie worthy. 47.470516, -94.878991 Located along the Mississippi River on 197.        300 Bemidji Ave N, Bemidji, MN 56601

    A couple more spots that are worthy of mentioning is Big River Scoop to treat yourself to some ice cream. For a nice dinner with a view, check out Sparkling Waters.


    Hope you have enjoyed a little tour of "Up North" in Minnesota and will add it to your travel destinations. It may be cold in the winter but it's a beautiful place in the summer. Even in the winter it's a great place to ice fish and snowmobile. I personally didn't realize how much I liked living there and raising my family in Minnesota until we left to travel for business. Minnesota has all four seasons and I think that's what I love the most and not to mention the 10,000 lakes and all the outdoor activities! If you are a Minnesotan, you probably own a boat or some type of water transportation or at least know someone who does. 

    Thank you for taking the time out of your day to read my blog post.

    Brenda Lee's Blog