Itasca County, Minnesota (the largest city is Grand Rapids) is one of the loveliest areas in Minnesota. It has been designated the “Edge of the Wilderness” area. The county has about 1400 lakes and is home to hundreds of thousands of acres of Chippewa National Forest. This is an unspoiled area of extraordinary natural beauty and great year-round recreation.
We enjoy not only sports and the outdoors, but we have great theater and music. Also, when have you had the chance to enjoy a Finnish Festival, lumber jack contests, rodeos, a 1792 fur trading post and a forest history center with lumber camp reinactments? Grand Rapids is the home of the annual Judy Garland festival and the Judy Garland museum, which is very fun. Judy first performed in Rapids at age 3 and took curtain calls until they made her stop. Later, from Hollywood, she referred to her home town, Grand Rapids, as “a swell little town.” Judy was right. It really is.
Route 38, which runs from Grand Rapids to Effie, about 45 miles north, is one of the first national scenic by-ways. It is absolutely beautiful, densely wooded with birches, maples, pines and fir trees, winding between lovely lakes. Don’t miss the sight in the fall!
Other area attractions:
- Golf Courses, Joyce Estate, oldest ranger station, etc.!
- Mesabi Trail & Itasca Trail
- Hill Annex Mine State Park
- Forest History Center
- Scenic State Park
- Judy Garland Museum
- The Reif Center
- Itasca County Attractions
- Edge of the Wilderness National Scenic Byway
- The Edge Center – This is an amazing story. Bigfork, a town of 469 people is the center of a 2,000 person wilderness area. These people have together raised roughly $2,000,000 from 800 individual donors and generous foundation support to build a state of the art theater, with a community art gallery.
When you get here, get a copy of our county paper, The Herald Review to see what is going on during your specific week.