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NW MN, maybe North Dakota too

New Hope
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NW MN, maybe North Dakota too

We are trying to decide where to head on vacation this year, with 16 and 13 year old boys. They've never been to Itaska, but its been years for us too. Is there much else to do in the area? Will be driving from Mpls. What about if we kept heading farther beyond Itaska? We like to keep busy on vacations and see all we can (tourist activities, not antique shops, etc). Thanks for any suggestions!

South Dakota
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1. Re: NW MN, maybe North Dakota too

After years of visiting and enjoying the Brainerd Lakes Area, we decided to switch things up and try the Detroit Lakes Area. Of the two areas, we felt that the Brainerd Area had more for kids to do.

We were in the Detroit Lakes area a week and the only two things we really liked were the Heartland Bicycle Trail out of Park Rapids and Itasca State Park. The weather was miserable (no one's fault, obviously) and we found there was nothing for kids to do indoors. We were staying at a lake cabin and ended up driving into Park Rapids where we paid a day pass to use a motel pool so the kids would have something to do in the rain.

It kind of depends on what you like to do. Basically, people go to that area to golf, fish or do watersports. If you want to spend the bulk of your vacation doing those things, you'll be fine. If it rains, be warned there's not much for kids to do indoors.

Since Itasca is worth seeing, maybe make a long weekend out of it instead of your entire vacation?

Yes, you could go into North Dakota and go to Fargo, but there's not a whole lot there to interest kids the age of yours, either. There's Bonanzaville, which is a pioneer village type setting- not sure this would be a hit with teens and an airplane museum.

These are obviously just my opinions and please take them as just that. I will gladly respect the opinions of others.

North Dakota
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2. Re: NW MN, maybe North Dakota too

Hi: Do you have any specifics with what you like to do that includes tourist activities? You could easily spend a week in Itasca if you like the outdoors. There are boat rides, hiking, biking and boat rentals. There is lodging or camping in the park. Park Rapids is the closest town. There is the Heartland Trail to bike and many shops to visit. Fishing is popular in this area. From Park Rapids, you could venture north to Bemidji or east to Nevis, Akeley and Walker.

I love the area but also love the outdoors and enjoy boating and biking.

3. Re: NW MN, maybe North Dakota too

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