Lake Winnie Activities and Attractions
The unique, tourist-oriented and family-friendly communities within an hours drive from the Lake Winnie area, offer a variety of activities and attractions. Bemidji, Bena, Cass Lake, Deer River, and Grand Rapids showcase musical productions, historical sites, museums, movie theatres, restaurants, casinos, art galleries, wineries, gift shops, antique dealers, mini golf courses, bowling alleys, riding stables and more. These towns also host seasonal festivals, craft fairs, sporting events from biathlons and triathlons, fishing tournaments, canoe races and ski jumping. Multiple championship golf courses are just a short drive from the Lake Winnie area.
If you prefer a quieter pace, take time to explore the Chippewa National Forest which was the first national forest established east of the Mississippi River. It encompasses nearly 1.6 million acres with almost 1,300 lakes – including all 70,000 acres of Lake Winnibigoshish and Cutfoot Sioux. The Chippewa National Forest boasts 100+ miles of forest trails allowing abundant opportunity for berry picking, wildlife viewing, mountain biking, fall color observing, hunting and cross country skiing. The Chippewa National Forest features the largest bald eagle population in the lower 48 states. Make sure to visit Itasca State Park, location of the famous headwaters of the Mighty Mississippi River. Discover the Lost Forty, 144 acres of virgin pine left untouched by the loggers at the turn of the century due to a land survey mapping error. These mature Red and White Pine are up to 350 years old and between 22 and 48 inches in diameter.
The first city on the Mississippi and home to Bemidji State University. There are many things to do in the Bemidji area, including a visit to Paul Bunyan and Babe located near the Tourist Information Center on Lake Bemidji’s waterfront. The Bemidji Regional Airport has regular service to Minneapolis and is the 4th busiest airport in Minnesota. Visit art galleries, live theatre, amusement equipment, casinos, historical museums, science centers, and more. Bemidji hosts numerous events including ice fishing, pond hockey, world-class curling, and annual celebrations such as the Dragon Boat Festival, Art in the Park, and the Water Carnival. The local tourism bureau and travel center will help you plan your time in the Bemidji area.
Bena, Minnesota, is nestled in the heart of the Chippewa National Forest and on the southernmost bay of Lake Winnibigoshish. Bena is also part of the Leech Lake Reservation. It has a rich Native American legacy; as well as a prosperous history in logging, lumber and fishing. In it’s early days it was home to the first CCC camp in the county which later became a POW camp housing German prisoners until 1945. Today Bena is a small town of about 100 residents that continues to draw tourists and fishermen to the beautiful lakes and first-class resorts. It is home to the historic Big Winnie General Store, location of Winnie Fest, the ever popular blues and country festival, which draws hundreds of people to the Lake Winnie area over Labor Day weekend.
Cass Lake is a beautiful area of Minnesota with many local attractions, including the Cass Lake Museum and Lyle’s Logging Camp. Star Island, located in Cass Lake, features the unique Lake Windigo, the only spring fed lake within a river fed lake in the northern hemisphere. It is perfect for exploring and scenic views. The Lady Slipper Scenic Byway is another place to catch scenic views of the Forest and local wildlife including bald eagles, ducks, herons, swans and pelicans! If you are looking for more than just beautiful scenery, there are many fun activities and events in the area including hiking, biking, canoeing, ice-fishing, snowmobiling, hunting, skiing, birding, and annual events such as Pow-Wows, Winter Fishing Challenge, and the Summer Fest, just to name a few!
Deer River is a small Northwoods town known as the “Gateway to the Chippewa” National Forest. There are many nearby recreational attractions for the whole family. There are outdoor activities, like hiking, biking, camping, kayaking, boating and golfing. There are also many local events and attractions that are well known all over the Northland, including the Wild Rice Festival and White Oak Rendezvous.
Grand Rapids is a favorite tourism destination for many people. Grand Rapids is the birthplace of Judy Garland, who played Dorothy in the original Wizard of Oz. Grand Rapids offers live theatre, art and culture, and many different types of recreation. Take a trip down memory lane by visiting the Judy Garland Museum. There are area lakes for boating, fishing and water sports, four golf courses that are perfect for any skill set, many hiking and riding trails, parks and forests. Grand Rapids has many local shops including the well-known and historic Central School. You can also visit the Forest History Center for a unique adventure with the family. Grand Rapids has a little bit of everything!