Known for being the start of the mighty Mississippi River, Itasca State Park is Minnesota’s oldest State Park. It is located about 21 miles north of Park Rapids, Minnesota. The park offers camping, fishing and hiking. Visit the Mary Gibbs Mississippi Headwaters Center to learn about the natural and cultural history of the area. This outdoor interpretive center is open all year-round and is recommended as the
starting point of your trek to the headwaters area.
Be sure to take in the beauty of the old growth pine at Preacher’s Grove. The scenic view at Peace Pipe Vista is one you will want to photograph to remember your visit. Over 100 lakes in the area provide plenty of Northwoods scenery for communing with nature.
The Jacob V. Brower Visitor Center is open from 10 am to 5 pm Monday through Sunday. It features information about the area and an interactive play for children. The fireplace lounge provides an impressive view for birdwatching through the large observation windows. Relax and enjoy the show nature provides while you watch for such birds as the Black-backed Woodpecker, Alder Flycatcher and Common Loon, just to name a few.
The park also offers overnight accommodations at the historic Douglas Lodge. Since its construction in 1905, guests have been welcomed in the grand lobby, which features a beautiful stone fireplace. Guest rooms are rustically furnished reminiscent of the early days of the lodge. Cabins are also available and located throughout the park.
Campers are invited to stay at one of the many campgrounds managed by the park. Over 200 campsites are available for your pleasure. MN State Parks provides approved firewood to campers to prevent the spread of tree-killing insects. You can purchase firewood during business hours at the Jacob V. Brower Visitor Center.
Itasca is ideal for family relaxation time, mental health getaway or a couples retreat.