Northwest Minnesota map

Northwest Minnesota

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Headed home with a nice stringer of walleye

Where the Prairie Meets the North Woods

Discover some of Minnesota’s largest lakes and the headwaters of the Mississippi River. Forests and lakes offer fishing and boating, biking miles of scenic trails, hiking in state parks, playing golf on beautiful courses and bird-watching. For more fast-paced adventure, check out forested ATV trails. With snowmobiling, ice fishing and skiing, there's no hibernating in winter.

The region's charming small towns offer specialty shops, art galleries and dining of all kinds. Many towns are surrounded by clusters of lakes, with family-friendly resorts and campgrounds along their shores. Music festivals, heritage experiences and theaters draw lots of applause.

A statue of Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox in Bemidji

A statue of Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox in Bemidji / Lisa Crayford

Paul & Babe

Meet the Legends

Legend has it that Minnesota’s lakes were created by Paul Bunyan and Babe’s footprints filling with water as they explored the state. Soak up lumberjack lore and snap an obligatory photo with the big guy in Bemidji, Akeley and beyond.

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Hjemkomst Viking ship

The Hjemkomst Viking ship once sailed to Norway / Davin Wait, Historical & Cultural Society of Clay County

Hjemkomst Center

Viking Country

Discover a replica Viking ship that sailed to Norway, a stave church, and exhibits and events that celebrate Minnesota's Nordic heritage at the Hjemkomst Center, part of the Historical & Cultural Society of Clay County in Moorhead.

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Boy crossing the Mississippi Headwaters Itasca State Park

Where the Mississippi River begins

Where it begins

Headwaters of the Mississippi River

Explore Itasca State Park, the birthplace of the mighty Mississippi. Take a narrated boat tour, rent a kayak or canoe to go paddling, or bike a 6-mile trail to the famous headwaters.

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Women shopping in downtown Park Rapids

Find what you're looking for in the shops along Main Avenue in downtown Park Rapids / Micah Kvidt

Hidden Gems

Small-Town Shopping

When you’re between casts or ATV excursions, head to northwest Minnesota’s charming small towns for a little shopping. From attire inspired by none other than Paul Bunyan to vintage decor, you’re bound to come across some rare finds.

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mother and daughter kayaking on the red river

Mother and daughter kayaking on the Red River / Greater Grand Forks Convention & Visitors Bureau

Red River Valley

This River Flows North

Overshadowed by the great Mississippi, the lesser-known Red River of the North deserves more credit than it gets. Creating the border between Minnesota and North Dakota, this north-flowing waterway is home to prize catches and recreation galore, with many charming towns along the way.

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