Bemidji, the First City on the Mississippi, is surrounded by state and national parks celebrating milestone anniversaries. Some of the top things to do in the spring in Bemidji include scouting for eagles, fishing and celebrating the city’s biking heritage. Read more about those and other reasons the Be in Bemidji this spring, and share your own ideas on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram using the #BeInBemidji hashtag.

bald-eagles-lkitsc-tours1. Bird Migration.

Millions of birds migrate to the area each spring, making it their temporary or permanent homes. Three prominent hot spots to catch glimpses of rare and desirable species are:

  • Lake Bemidji State Park: Amidst the natural beauty of old growth trees, mossy bogs and along 12 miles of trails, over 200 bird species can be found throughout the park, including numerous warblers and songbirds flying and nesting. A favorite species to see in the park is the iconic bald eagle and nest.
  • Chippewa National Forest: home to over 150 bald eagles along with 244 species of birds. During spring, the eagles nest and give birth to eaglets, making it an exciting time of the year to observe with spotting scopes.
  • Mississippi River Outlet: only two miles from downtown Bemidji, this great birding spot is accessible by paved trail. The area’s scenic waterways allow travel by boat to observe trumpeter swans and other waterfowl.

Learn more about Bemidji birding here.

Bemijigamaag_Powwow-452x3002. Bemidji’s Arts and Culture Scene.

Experience the tradition of the Bemijigamaag Pow-Wow in its entire splendor including a communal feast. Bemidji’s history is grounded in rich Native American culture. Pow-wows are a cultural expression of the Native American people renewing friendships at pow-wows. Both native and non-indigenous people have the opportunity to come together to embrace each other’s cultures on April 23. It’s truly a unique event, and it’s free.

The Bemidji area has more artists tucked away in its peaceful studios than the metro area. Bemidji is a hub on the new Pine to Prairie Fiber Arts Trail, which debuted in spring 2016, where several studios opened their doors for visitors to meet and observe fiber artists’ creative process and purchase directly. The ongoing event offers opportunity to hear from artists who weave, knit, felt, sculpt, crochet, sew and more. Studios are open by appointment year-round.

Learn more about event and route map here.

3. Minnesota’s State Parks and Trails.

Minnesota State Parks and Trails are celebrating 125 years of providing outdoor recreation opportunities with special events this year. Itasca State Park—Minnesota’s oldest state park and home of the headwaters of the Mississippi River—hosts one of the first anniversary events of the year. On April 30, the Laurentian Divide Vista Hike will explore the North Country Trail and the Mississippi/Red River watershed. Other events late spring events at Itasca include a wildflower hike in May. Watercraft and bicycle rentals are available at the park for visitors who wish experience the pristine wilderness from the water or forest trails.

Lake Bemidji State Park is hosting monthly trail running events and naturalist-guided programming in the summer to celebrate the125th anniversary of state parks.

Find out more about these and other local parks in Bemidji here.

looplk-4riders20144. Bike-Friendly Activities.

While Bemidji is widely praised for its preservation of parks it’s also recognized for having some of the best bike trails in the country. It has miles of bike trails throughout the city which has ranked them as one of the safest places to ride. To celebrate bicycling, the Loop the Lake Festival takes place the third Saturday in June. This family-friendly,17-mile paved ride around Lake Bemidji has many rest stops with music, food and photo opportunities. Bemidji’s Nice Ride Bike Share offers discounts for this event.

Read more about biking in Bemidji here.

These are only a snapshot of reasons why you should #BeInBemidji this spring. Look for places to stay lakeside or city side. The lakeside DoubleTree Hotel by Hilton recently was awarded Hilton’s Pride Award and Housekeeping Award of Excellence. Another award-winning property is the Country Inn & Suites by Carlson, Bemidji’s newest hotel, opened in 2014, overlooks Lake Bemidji and connects to the GW Nielson Convention Center.