Enjoy Bemidji Minnesota vacations on the Lake Bemidji waterfront.
Bemidji is known as "the first city on the Mississippi River" because Itasca State Park, the source of the Mississippi River is nearby and the river cuts a diagonal path across Lake Bemidji. The town's name is from the Ojibwe phrase Bemidji-gau-maug which means "cutting through."
Bemidji area attractions include three state parks, the Chippewa National Forest, some of Minnesota's best fishing and recreational lakes, and a thriving arts community. Here is a short list of attractions and activities:
If you are an art lover, you will love Bemidji. Start with the downtown sculpture walk. Pick up a brochure to guide you. The Bemidji Community Art Center is a showcase for area artists. Bemidji State University offers two small art galleries.
Kohl's Resort is a great choice for a fishing vacation, family vacation or family reunion in the Buena Vista State Forest on the shore of Big Turtle Lake just north of Bemidji. Ruttger's Birchmont Lodge is another classic resort; this one located right on Lake Bemidji.
Hampton Inn & Suites is absolutely our favorite Bemidji hotel. The hotel has 650 feet of private beach on the shore of Lake Bemidji. You can rent boats, canoes and paddle boats, swim in the lake or one of the pools and dine in their wonderful restaurant.
Villa Calma Bed & Breakfast Inn is the only B&B right in Bemidji and it's lovely! This restored 1910 Victorian home has views of Lake Bemidji, and four very comfortable guest rooms. A wonderful lodging choice for anyone and especially recommended for a romantic getawayBemidji Vacation Rentals - Get the whole house!
The most famous Bemidji attractions are the huge waterfront statues of Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox. These became the inspiration for dozens of cement roadside attractions that now flourish across Minnesota. The iconic statues were built for a winter carnival in 1937 and were featured on the cover of Life magazine that year.
For a few years of my childhood we lived in nearby Cass Lake. Our family photo album has many pictures of us as children posed in front of Paul and Babe.
Have your photo taken with these famous statues, then make a stop at the Paul Bunyan Amusement Park and, a couple miles out of town, visit Paul Bunyan Animal Land.
A statue of "Chief Bemidji," in honor of the chief who first greeted early settlers, stands across the street near the Bemidji Tourist Information Center on the waterfront.
Drive the Ladyslipper Scenic Byway: This route follows County Road 39 and Highway 2 between the Blackduck and Cass Lake area near the Mississippi River headwaters. It winds through the Chippewa National Forest in north central Minnesota. Several other classic Minnesota road trips can be accessed from Bemidji. These road trips are perfect fall color tours in Minnesota's autumn paradise.
A road trip along the Great River Road in Minnesota follows the Mississippi River south from its source in Itasca State Park. If you do the entire trip, plan for several days to a full week. You will want to spend some time in the park, in Bemidji, and in Park Rapids. The Great River Road meanders for 562 miles through the heart of Minnesota including the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and Saint Paul.
If your Bemidji Minnesota vacations include wine tasting, visit one of our favorite Minnesota wineries , Forestedge Winery, near Bemidji - - The wines they produce are all made of fruits native to Minnesota. You can get cranberry wine, chokecherry wine, plum wine, apple wine and many more varieties.
The Chippewa National Forest area is home to several other small towns that are worth a side trip to see.
The forest's headquarter's is in Cass Lake Minnesota, another beautiful resort area.
Walker Minnesota vacations, nearby, will take you to the shores of huge Leech Lake and the Minnesota vacation attractions there as well.
Lake Bemidji State Park - How to Get to Lake Bemidji State Park: Drive 10 minutes north of Bemidji on Highway 71. Follow the signs to the park entrance.
Itasca State Park - Driving Directions: Drive 23 miles north of Park Rapids on U.S. Highway 71 to get to the south entrance to the park. Or, drive 30 miles south from Bemidji on U.S. Highway 71, then 1/10 of a mile north on Highway 200 to reach the east entrance to the park. The north entrance to the park is 21 miles south of Bagley on State Highway 92/State Highway 200.
Three Minnesota Indian reservations are located in the area: Leech Lake, Red Lake and White Earth. Native American Pow Wows are held in these areas and open to visitors who come to see the ancient dances and beautiful costumes...and to taste traditional Native American foods like Indian Fry Bread. You will notice that many signs in Bemidji are in both English and Ojibwe as part of the Ojibwe Language Project. Restroom signs may say ikeewag for "women" and iminiwag for "men."
Bemidji Minnesota vacations are great in winter. Cross-country ski, snowshoe and snowmobile the trails. A lighted winter trails in Bemidji offers lovely nightime skiing. Ski at one of our many Minnesota Ski Resorts: Buena Vista.
The Minnesota Finlandia Ski Marathon is held every year at Buena Vista.
Brrrmidji Polar Daze every winter includes a Polar Plunge, ice fishing contest, 5K run, skiing, broomball and a Vintage Snowmobile Race.
Winterfest in February includes curling, pond hockey corn hole, and other family friendly events.
This far north your chances of seeing gorgeous Northern Lights displays is pretty good on Bemidji Minnesota vacations in winter.
Read reviews of the best hotels for your Bemidji Minnesota vacations...in town and nearby areas: Minnesota Hotel Deals and Vacation Packages.