Grand Rapids, Minnesota, is the perfect winter road trip destination; close enough to be convenient yet far enough away to provide a real escape.
In Grand Rapids, you will find warm and cozy lodging options with a beautiful snowy view. You will also find boutique-style shops, Minnesota art and history, one-of-a-kind attractions, craft breweries, locally owned coffee shops and restaurants. With over 1 million acres of publicly accessible forest land, Grand Rapids is the place for winter outdoor recreation. Tioga Recreation is a world-class, single track mountain bike trail that has beginner to black diamond trails that are perfect for every member of the family. Visitors can enjoy over 200 miles of groomed cross-country ski trails. Grand Rapids is the start of the famous state Taconite Trail, connecting over 200 miles of some of the best snowmobile trails in the state of Minnesota. The experience of being in the middle of the forest in the winter is magical and breathtakingly beautiful.
Grand Rapids, Minnesota is a year-round destination that offers lots of events and live entertainment. The Reif Performing Arts Center is a hidden gem of a theater that brings Broadway style performances to up north. The locally owned craft breweries host weekly live music and indoor entertainment. In February, there are many outdoor winter events happening in Grand Rapids. It is the perfect month to enjoy peak winter outdoor recreation sports and get registered for one of the upcoming winter events. The Itasca Curling Club has partnered with Zorbaz on the lake to host Lakezpiel on Lake Pokegama, an outdoor bonspiel on the frozen lake. The annual Northwoods Pond Hockey Championship will take place again on McKinney Lake in Grand Rapids. The Grand Rapids Downtown Business Association will be hosting the Frozen Fairway Golf Classic—ice golf on the frozen lake at the end of February.
The Lost Forty is Itasca Counties hidden gem located in the middle of Minnesota’s nature. If you are looking for an off-the-beaten-path location to take a road trip this winter, the Lost Forty is a magical forest full of 200, 400-year-old white and red pines. Being in the Lost Forty during the winter is breathtaking and magical. Being in the middle of these massive pines in the winter brings a sense of peace and the simple pleasure of solitude in Minnesota’s nature. You can access the Lost Forty by driving up two well-paved remote scenic byways.
The Avenue of the Pines is a 46-mile byway that runs from Deer River to Northome, Minnesota. The stunning mature red pines located along the byway are massive. The Edge of the Wilderness Scenic Byway route was once used by voyageurs and loggers through the Chippewa National Forest, over rolling hills and past bogs and fishing lakes—much of the 47-mile drive that connects Grand Rapids to Effie. Along both scenic byways, travelers will find rustic and charming places to shop, buy gas and eat and drink. Since the pandemic, people are seeking off-the-beaten-path places where there are less crowds and more natural settings, and the Lost Forty is a great winter bucket list destination!