kids in hula-hoop contestLocal fun

Although you may never want to leave the Island, the area also provides a wealth of fun activities from theater to shopping from amusement rides to horseback rides from festivals to musical events.

 

 


Nevis
While the pandemic has cancelled many group activities and events, Nevis is still home of the world’s largest Tiger Muskie. The city-wide garage sale is still planned for August 1 and the thrilling water-skiing show is set for 6 p.m., August 2. You’ll also find casual eateries with carry-out and patio-dining options, groceries, a liquor store, laundromat, gas, propane, bait, fishing supplies, a mini golf course, coffee shop, gift shops and bike rentals.

Churches in Nevis
Bethany Lutheran Church
Our Lady of the Pines Catholic Church

Dorset
The Restaurant Capital of the World and the busiest little town around, Dorset draws in visitors with its bevy of restaurants with patio dining/carry-out options, shops and tongue-in-cheek boosterism. Grab a hand-dipped ice cream cone at the General Store or find a treasure from one of the many shops. Need Internet access? Dorset is a Wi-Fi hotspot, so just ask a server or clerk for the access code.

Each year, Dorset chooses the town's mayor by drawing a name from a hat. At the 2019 Taste of Dorset, Loren Avenson won the mayorship in this rather unconventional election.

Churches in Dorset
First English Lutheran Church of Dorset

Park Rapids
Just 11 miles away, Park Rapids is the quintessential northwoods town. It’s bustling downtown boasts shops, a movie theater, restaurants, supermarkets, services such as a laundromat, boat and motor repair, hardware store and more. Check out the farmers' market every Wednesday until August 26, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Walker
On the shores of stunning Leech Lake, Walker is a true Up North resort town filled with restaurants, shops and the newly restored Chase on the Lake resort hotel with its great lakeview dining room and deck. Stroll down Main Street, take a tour of the lake, try your luck at Northern Lights Casino.

Detroit Lakes
A little farther afield is Detroit Lakes with its shops, restaurants, golf courses and the nationally recognized WE Fest the first weekend of August. WE Fest returns in 2021.

Heartland Trail
This 27-mile paved bike trail extends from Cass Lake through Walker to Park Rapids, passing through Nevis and Dorset. Bring your own bike or rent one in any of the trail’s towns.

Itasca State Park
Minnesota’s first – and loveliest – state park is just 30 minutes from Campers’ Paradise. Bike, hike, swim, fish, explore the history of early northwoods settlers and native people. Take a cruise on Lake Itasca or enjoy lunch at historic Douglas Lodge. No trip to Itasca would be complete without crossing the stepping-stone path at the Headwaters of the mighty Mississippi River, which begins its journey to the Gulf of Mexico at Lake Itasca.

Coborn’s Lake Itasca Tours
Take a two-hour, naturalist-narrated tour aboard the 141-passenger Chester Charles II on beautiful Lake Itasca, the source of the Mississippi. Tours are offered daily. Visit the web site for details and schedules.

Logging Camp
Learn about Minnesota’s logging history and treat yourself to a real lumberjack breakfast at the Rapid River Logging Camp.

Evergreen Gifts and Fun Park
Just north of Park Rapids on U.S. Hwy. 71 you'll find Evergreen Gifts and Fun Park, a fun-for-all-ages amusement park with mini golf, bumper boats, go carts, batting cages, super bounce, climbing mountain, escape rooms, laser maze, water wars, air jump, snack bar and gift shop. This year, the snack bar is closed, but feel free to bring a picnic.

Golf Courses
Check out the links in the Campers’ Paradise area including Bear’s Den, Blueberry Pines, Eagle View, Headwaters Golf Club and Tianna Country Club.

Horseback Riding
Explore the northwoods on horseback. Several stables in the area offer trail rides through the areas prairies and pines.

More resources for finding fun
Explore Minnesota
Forestedge Winery. The winery is open for outdoor table service and curbside service.
Jaspers Jubilee Theater. The theater offers eight, outdoor, socially distanced plays this season.
Long Lake Theater. This season it's presenting a family-friendly, outdoor, socially distanced cabaret on select dates.
Minnesota Folklore Theater. The theater's productions are on hold until September.
Northern Light Opera. The opera will return in 2021.