Blake Walsh

20 Best Things to Do in Park Rapids, MN

  • Published 2023/03/08

Known for its scenic downtown, parks, and recreational activities, Park Rapids offers great fun for the whole family.

This city in Minnesota is home to some of the greatest parks, beautiful lakes, and thriving woods with activities suitable for everyone.

Despite being one of the oldest cities in the state, its thriving community will make visitors feel young again.

Whether looking for a quiet getaway or an upbeat, lively night in the city, Park Rapids will serve your needs.

Here are the best things to do in Park Rapids, MN:

Visit Minnesota’s Oldest State Park at ​​Itasca State Park

Scenic view of Itasca State Park

Randy Runtsch /

Established in 1891, Itasca State Park is the oldest park in Park Rapids.

With its historical significance and amazing views of the Mississippi River, this park is the perfect hiking destination and campground in the entire state.

You can find an outdoor interpretive center at this park, along with some critical landmarks, gift shops, and a cafe.

Signage of Itasca State Park

Chris857, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Guests also have the option to go hiking on the paved trails and enjoy the peace of the surrounding woods and forest.

You may also try the camping and lodging options and admire the stars in the night sky.

Otherwise, sit around the campfire and tell spooky stories while roasting marshmallows!

There’s so much to see and do at Itasca State Park, so check it out!

Douglas lodge at Itasca State Park

Bill McChesney from USA, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Enjoy the Outdoors at Heartland State Trail

Heartland State Trail is a multi-use path on an abandoned railway connecting the two cities of Park Rapids and Cass Lake.

This trail stretches over 49 miles, providing a list of possible things to do.

This long road is perfect for strolling, biking, skating, and horseback riding, which you can enjoy with energetic kids.

You also have stunning views of the nearby lakes and rivers.

Heartland State Trail also winds through hardwood forests that host elegant wildlife such as foxes, coyotes, and more.

Exercise caution when visiting.

Eat Handmade Candies at Aunt Belle’s Confectionary

Are you craving something sweet?

See what Aunt Belle’s Confectionary has to offer you!

This candy store is right at the city’s heart; you can watch how they make candy.

Known for selling the tastiest handmade sweets, this confectionery has served the community of Park Rapids for nearly 40 years.

You can try their best-selling candies, including smores, turtle fudge, and peanut butter cups.

Their menu carries a wide selection of goodies to choose from.

Buy a little bit of everything or your favorite candy in bulk.

Go On a Zipline at Character Challenge Adventure Park

This aerial adventure park provides adventure and thrill for everyone.

Known for its ziplines and rope courses, it will test your courage and strength.

Character Challenge Adventure Park is best enjoyed in a group.

Spend quality time together and cooperate as a group to conquer the courses.

Their various team-building activities will teach you how to function as a group by competing against each other.

See a Show at Jasper’s Jubilee Theater

Jasper’s Jubilee Theater is the go-to establishment for entertainment and live shows in Park Rapids.

Also known as Jasper’s Theater, this theater stages musicals to comedies.

Their shows are family-friendly, so bring the kids along!

Over four generations of families have taken over this theater, recruiting actors and actresses from Florida and Tennessee.

Buy a ticket before you run out of seats!

Learn Local History at Hubbard County Historical Museum

Exterior of Hubbard County Historical Museum

Myotus, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Park Rapids is rich with history, which you can learn at Hubbard County Historical Museum!

Found minutes within the city center, this museum will take you back in time.

See all the exhibits, artifacts, and displays showcasing different aspects of the community’s history.

Hundreds of visitors drop by each year to listen to various guest speakers explaining different points of Park Rapids’ history.

This museum is only open between May to October, given the size of the community.

You may also call ahead to schedule a tour of the entire museum.

Seek Adventure at Evergreen Fun Park

Evergreen Fun Park has the word “fun” in its name for a reason!

Previously known as World of Christmas, this park has renamed itself and has become part of Park Rapids’ community since 1978.

Drop by this entertainment center for a laundry list of activities you can enjoy with your friends and family.

You can spend the whole day here, featuring 15 different activities such as go-karts, bumper boats, miniature golf, laser tag, and so much more.

One of their most popular attractions is their escape rooms, where groups need to work together under pressure to solve mysteries, puzzles, and clues to escape.

Evergreen Fun Park provides amusement and entertainment for everyone regardless of age.

Tour the Lakes of Park Rapids and Fish with Go Fish! Guide Service

Park Rapids is home to some of the most beautiful lakes you can tour with Go Fish! Guide Service Inc.

This company has remained at the top of its game regarding tours, giving guests a memorable experience on the open water.

Whether you want to enjoy the peace and relaxation and learn about the city’s history or try fishing, this company will help you do whatever you want.

You can choose from 1 of the 75 lakes in their itinerary and join a guided trip.

The owner, Jason Durham, will lead your tours himself.

Book a tour now and marvel at the beauty of Park Rapids’ lakes!

Enjoy a Round of Golf at Headwaters Golf Club

Headwaters Golf Club is the perfect place to practice your golfing skills, ranked #4 overall on the list of top golf courses in Minnesota.

With its 18-hole golf course, this establishment caters to golfers of different skill levels.

Since 1923, guests have dropped by for a friendly round of golf on its high-quality rough and fairways.

This classic golf course offers relaxation from the cool breeze and views of the surrounding trees.

After playing golf, check out their Bar and Grill, which serves a few dining options such as light meals and limited drinks.

Dine by the River at Foxy’s Bar & Grill

This family-friendly bar and grill serves fun and delicious food up north in Park Rapids.

Its location next to a river also allows for outdoor dining by the deck.

Otherwise, dine indoors and enjoy the ambiance and relaxing atmosphere.

They also feature bands and live music on certain nights, creating a lively nightlife for adult customers.

They’re best known for serving the tastiest specialty burgers, which will have you craving more.

You can also grab pizzas and chicken wings and check off the kid’s menu for the little ones!

Whether for karaoke night or other special events, Foxy’s Bar & Grill will ensure a fun time.

Get a Night Cap at a Better Place

What better way to end the day than a refreshing drink and some music at A Better Place?

With over 16 options for tap beers, a long selection of wines, darts and pool tables, this bar is a great place to hang out with friends and family.

Guests can party on the dance floor or book a private patio room for quality time with loved ones.

They can also challenge each other to a friendly game of darts or pool.

Shop Local at Park Rapids Farmers’ Market

Your visit to Park Rapids wouldn’t be complete without a trip to the Farmers’ Market.

This market prides itself on selling all-local goods to support the community and its agricultural sector while giving visitors a wide range of products to choose from.

Several vendors sell homegrown or handmade items, including jellies and jams to candy treats.

This farmer’s market has become part of the community for as long as they can remember, making it an integral part of the city.

Monthly events also happen here, with live music, food, and drinks for everyone to enjoy.

Drop by for a shopping spree at Park Rapids Farmers’ Market.

Grab a Refreshing Drink at the Good Life Cafe

Established in 2009, the Good Life Cafe ensures a good time for all who drop by.

Serving homemade meals and a variety of drinks, this cafe is a great place to relax with a light meal with friends and family.

They’re known for their delicious pretzels and Happy Hour discounts, where you can enjoy 14 tap lines for a low price.

This family-friendly and modern eatery has been a community favorite for over ten years.

Book a Cabin at Brookside Resort

Brookside Resort is a crowd favorite for tourists and visitors vacationing in Park Rapids.

This hotel resort offers different cabins along with a handful of amenities you and the kids can enjoy.

Enjoy this resort’s heated swimming pools, golf courses, and water activities.

Brookside Resort prides itself on being one of the best family-friendly hotels in the entire state.

The hotel and resort give its guests the best experience possible.

Enter a ’50s Diner at the MinneSoda Fountain

The MinneSoda Fountain is an ice cream parlor whose establishment looks like ’50s diners and sub shops.

Travel back in time upon entering the doors of this eatery with its iconic bar stools and black and white checkered tiles.

You can get some meal options on top of your dessert if you’re feeling hungry.

Their dessert menu includes various banana splits, ice cream sundaes, and floats to satisfy your sweet tooth.

Enjoy the fun setting and lovely ice cream fountain at the MinneSoda Fountain.

Explore Red Bridge Park

Daytime view of Red Bridge Park

Richard N Horne, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Red Bridge Park is one of the best free destinations in Park Rapids, famous for its lakefront access to Mud Lake.

Located along Beach Road, what makes Red Bridge Park a can’t-miss is that there’s no reason for you to not see it considering how close it is to the heart of Park Rapids.

Once you see this park, you’ll be amazed at the scenery and nature that surrounds it.

During winter, this becomes clad in snow, making it a popular spot for snowmobiling.

Besides that, Red Bridge Park has plenty of art sculptures from local artists—a neat addition that gives attitude to this area.

Brimming with so many things to do, Red Bridge Park is a must-see in Park Rapids.

Chow Down at Rocky’s Pizza House

Rocky’s Pizza House is a famous culinary destination in Park Rapids not only because of its mouthwatering pizzas, but also because of its ambiance.

With its interior design being mostly decorated in rustic wood, Rocky’s Pizza House has that authentic 50s or 60s diner feel.

Add the fact that they have a lot of vintage equipment inside, and this place becomes Instagram-worthy.

Besides their delicious pizzas, this place also offers tacos and sandwiches, giving it more versatility.

Their craft sodas are also popular, so be sure to visit this place with an empty stomach; you can find them along Park Avenue North.

Experience Long Lake at Spruce Hill Campgrounds

Spruce Hill Campgrounds is one of the few camping sites that offers serene views of Long Lake—yet another body of water in Park Rapids.

With well-maintained forestry and a pier by the lake, this is a perfect place to bring the family to go fishing.

The land here is spacious as well, so there’s a lot of room for recreational vehicles—this makes it an attractive site for locals to camp.

Spruce Hill Campgrounds also has great prices and a friendly staff, so you won’t have any headaches when availing their service.

You can visit them along Driftwood Lane, in the eastern outskirts of Park Rapids.

Go on a Nature Exploration at Mantrap Lake Campground

Mantrap Lake Campground is another fun camping site in Park Rapids, this time located by its namesake lake that’s found far up north from the main districts of Park Rapids.

Despite being so far from the urban areas of the city, Mantrap Lake Campground is still part of Park Rapids, particularly within the Paul Bunyan State Forest.

This makes this rural area a hotspot for all things nature—you can do fishing, hiking, and camping at this beautiful site.

You’d be hard-pressed to not explore its forestry, as Mantrap Lake Campground offers amazing ecosystems that’s perfect for adventurous travelers.

One of the best day trip spots in Park Rapids, this is a must-see if you love the outdoors.

Take the Kids to Linquist Park

Linquist Park is a great place to take children because of its playgrounds and scenic spot in Park Rapids.

It’s right in the heart of the city, so it’s a convenient place to visit if you’re planning on just spending some quality time with your family.

Surrounded by trees and lush greenery, Linquist Park is also a neat destination for picnics and some jogging.

Another great aspect about this is many locals go here—perfect if you’re in the mood to immerse yourself in the community.

Find Linquist Park along Southwest Douglas Boulevard.

Final Thoughts

Despite its small population, Park Rapids is a great vacation spot, whether you’re looking for serenity in nature or active downtown nightlife.

From its beautiful parks to lake tours and even historical museums and bars, this city has all the activities and attractions to ensure a great time.

Their diverse community also adds to the thriving atmosphere and lively setting.

Look no further and book a trip now to Park Rapids, Minnesota!

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