With its bounty of fishing lakes, scenic north woods, and dozens of lakeside resorts and campgrounds, the Park Rapids area has long been a vacation destination. In the past decade or so, it’s added even more entertaining reasons to come and play here for a while.
For family adventures, check out the ropes course and zip line at the Character Challenge Course, or mount up for a trail ride at Toad Mountain Ranch. Jasper’s Theater serves up a down-home good time with its music, magic and comedy shows. Long Lake Theater presents summer stock performances in an old church in the nearby village of Hubbard, and Northern Light Opera Company features musicals.
Downtown’s Main Street is lined with fun shops with enticing names: Smoky Hills Art, Moose Creek, Fresh Catch, Wild Loon Outfitters and Wildwood Enchantment. Indulge yourself at Aunt Belle’s Candies and the MinneSoda Fountain.
The long-time draws of Park Rapids are still there, as well: biking the Heartland Trail, golfing at more than a half-dozen nearby courses, seeing the surprising collection of European paintings from centuries past at the Nemeth Art Center. The annual Legends and Logging Festival is held in August.
And of course, at Itasca State Park, just 22 miles north, you can step across the headwaters of the Mississippi, just a tiny stream here. The narrated boat trip in the park provides an overview of the history and wildlife of the park. Rent a bike or canoe to explore the park, hike some of the miles of trails, and dine at historic Douglas Lodge.
Motels in town make Park Rapids an easy weekend getaway, but that won’t be enough time; there’s easily a week’s worth of fun to fill a vacation.
For more info: www.parkrapids.com