From Skylines to Treelines

1-3 Day Tour Along The Great River Road National Scenic Byway
Follow the history of the Great Missisippi from Minneapolis to the Headwaters at Itasca State Park – where the Mississippi River springs from. See how the Mighty Mississippi has shaped area culture with arts and entertainment intertwined into the itinerary on the Great River Road National Scenic Byway.
Day One
9:00amDepart Minneapolis
OPTION 1St. Cloud
10:00amMunsinger Gardens, Flow Pot Lunch
OPTION 2Little Falls
10:00amSt. Francis Convent or Charles Lindberg Home
11:30amRestaurant Lunch

1:00pmDepart for Grand Rapids
3:00pmForest History Center or Judy Garland Museum
5:00pmLodging Check-in
7:30pmItasca Heritage Center
Day Two
8:30amDepart for Bemidji
10:00amHeadwaters Science Center
NoonBuena Vista Logging Village with Chuckwagon style lunch
2:00pmBemidji Woolen Mills Factory & Store
4:00pmRaphael’s Bakery or Downtown Artwalk
Day Three
8:30amDepart for Itasca State Park
9:15amMississippi Headwaters or Step-On Naturalist Tour or Lake Itasca Boat Tour with optional lunch cruise
1:00pmDepart for Minneapolis

Munsinger & Clemens Gardens • St. Cloud

Garden lovers and photographers alike will enjoy this garden on the east bank of the Mississippi River. Enjoy a flowerpot lunch while taking in the beauty of Clemens Rose Garden, which has more than 1,000 rose bushes. Gift shop.


Charles A. Lindbergh Historic Site • Little Falls

Charles Lindbergh’s 1927 flight from New York to Paris launched an aviation revolution. Tour his boyhood home, explore the Visitor Center exhibits, including a “Spirit of St. Louis” flight simulator. Walk an interpretive trail along the river.

St. Francis Convent & Campus • Little Falls

For 124 years, the convent has distributed altar breads to churches throughout Minnesota, and across the United States. A Romanesque influence can be seen in the building’s pillars, rounded arches and the symbolism of the stained glass windows. Visitors are welcome to tour the campus and Sacred Heart Chapel, Franciscan Gift Shop and Candle Shop. Food and beverage service is available.


Judy Garland Museum • Grand Rapids

Visit the famed birthplace of Judy Garland and home of the world’s largest Wizard of Oz collection. The museum features educational exhibits, lectures, performances, seminars and film screenings.

Itasca Heritage Center Museum • Grand Rapids

Explore the people, places and resources from the turn of the century that shaped this region. Exhibits display the woolly mammoth tusk discovered in the area and details the resourcefulness of the Ojibwe along with the variety of cultures represented by the immigrants who came to this new country. Discover how the Mississippi allowed access to provide the nation with lumber and iron ore.

Forest History Center • Grand Rapids

Discover the past, present and future of Minnesota’s forests through guided tours of a 1900s era logging camp with hands-on environmental learning programs. Lumberjacks, cooks and other men and women of the Northwoods entertain with stories, tall tales and music as they share the history of the forest. Board the moored river “wanigan,” a floating cook shack, take a seat on the porch of a 1930s Minnesota Forest Service patrolman’s cabin, climb a 100-foot fire tower and explore the site’s self-guided trails.


Paul Bunyan and Babe his Blue Ox • Bemidji

Stop for a photo opportunity with the legendary lumberjack statues of Paul Bunyan and Babe his Blue Ox. Visit the Tourist Information Center for Paul’s memorabilia and view the Fireplace of States.

Headwaters Science Center • Bemidji

Explore the sciences through 70 self-guided, hands-on activities and interactive exhibits. Hold a snake or bunny, make a harmonograph picture, watch the kinetic sculpture, have fun at the popular bubble wall or echo tube, and spend a moment contemplating the beauty of our 210-gallon salt water aquarium. Tots-in-Science is a program available for young scientists, and Science After Dark are programs designed for adults. Unique gift shop.

Buena Vista Logging Village • Bemidji

Board horse-drawn covered wagons at the Lumberjack Hall of Fame building in the Buena Vista Village to ride to the “Top of the World.” The narrated tour follows the Leech Lake – Red Lake Trail, the same route traveled by Native Americans, early explorers and pioneers. From the top of the Continental Divide, you will see where waters flow in one direction to the Hudson Bay and on the other side of the ridge where the waters flow south to the Gulf of Mexico. Other attractions at the Buena Vista Logging Village include a working sawmill, train cars, 1900’s schoolhouse and log church. A chuckwagon style lunch is available.

Bemidji Woolen Mills & Outlet Store • Bemidji

Part of a long and rich tradition, Bemidji Woolen Mills & Outlet Store is a 5 generation operation home to the Bemidji Paul Bunyan Plaid. Individually made, high-quality woolen clothing, garments and blankets have been made here in Bemidji for nearly 100 years. Originallly producing outdoor apparel for the early logging era, the company continues to produce garments for outdoor enthusiasts. See the products being made, and learn the history behind the original processing machines while you shop a host of Bemidji’s famous Paul Bunyan Plaid items.

Bemidji Art Walk • Bemidji

Since 1999, Bemidji’s Sculpture Walk displays work by area artists throughout downtown, with new works added to the program every year. Begin this creative tour at the Tourist Information Center where you can pick up a walking brochure. Also available online is a guide, chance to vote for your favorites, and artist bios.

Itasca State Park • Bemidji

Stop at the Visitors Center to see interpretive displays and exhibits on the history of the forest and wildlife. “Step on” tour with the park naturalist along Wilderness Drive with a stop at the Headwaters area. Board the “Chester Charles” for a narrated tour of Lake Itasca, where the Mississippi River springs from. Restroom equipped and lunch cruise available. Other dining options include the historic Douglas Lodge with dining room or catered picnic lunch at one of the picnic shelters. The Headwaters Café is a cafeteria-style restaurant located in the Mary Gibbs Mississippi Headwaters Center.

Bemidji Evening Entertainment Options

Paul Bunyan Playhouse Live theatre productions June through Mid-August.
Native American Flute Performance and narrative on the history of flutes.
Timeless Traditions An ensemble that blends the Native American flute and Celtic folk harp in ethnic and contemporary music.
Alabaster Falls An acoustic “folkgrass” band. Dinner performances or evening entertainment.