Grand Rapids Minnesota is a perfect drive destination. It is close enough to be convenient yet far enough away for a real vacation. Grand Rapids is a community that is surrounded by Minnesota’s nature. It has a historic downtown that quaint and charming. You will find art, culture, history, shopping, dining and an abundance of outdoor recreation.
Great River Road – Northwoods Region
The Great River Road is an extended roadway that follows the Mississippi River from the headwaters to the Gulf of Mexico. As you navigate the Great River Road, look for signs with the green pilot’s wheel logo with the steamboat in the center to help guide your way.
The two regions of the Great River Road that connect with Grand Rapids are the Northwoods and the Crossing. The Northwoods scenic drive is 100 miles in length and follows the Mississippi River from Bemidji to Grand Rapids. Along this scenic drive, you will experience nature in the whisper of the pines and the crisp northwoods air. Follow the river from Lake Bemidji, Cass Lake, Lake Winnibigoshish and Pokegama Lake; all mighty lakes, with mighty good fishing. Discover the stories of the Ojibwe and the history of the lumberjacks.
The Crossing scenic drive is 145 miles in length and follows the Mississippi River from Grand Rapids to Little Falls. This scenic drive plays host to thousands of vacationers each year who bike, golf, fish, bird or simply seek respite. Unique attractions along this section are: Schoolcraft State Park, Cuyuna Country Recreation Area, and Fort Ripley.
Edge of the Wilderness Scenic Byway
The Edge of the Wilderness Scenic Byway starts in Grand Rapids and runs 47 miles north to Effie, Minnesota. This scenic byway winds through the Chippewa National Forest, and around 36 lakes. The Chippewa National Forest is home to the largest population of bald eagles in the continental United States.
Travel this spectacular, winding byway by many pristine lakes, forests, swamps, rolling hills, and other unique features. Outdoor recreation, 14 interpretive sites, and hiking, biking and fishing opportunities. During fall, the northwoods is adorned with the brilliant colors of red sugar maples, bronze oak trees and glowing gold aspen and birch. Along the way, you will find unique shops and restaurants.
Highlights along the way: Laurentian Divide, Scenic Lookout North Star Lake, and Edge of the Wilderness Discovery Center (FREE naturalist programs every Thurs-Sat in the summer).
While in Grand Rapids tour the UPM Blandin Paper Company, Forest History Center and Judy Garland Museum/Children’s Discovery Museum. Stop and walk the historic and charming downtown where you will find unique shopping, dining and art.