Itasca, Minnesota’s oldest state park, covers 32,000 acres and contains more than 100 lakes. The Mississippi River originates in the park’s glacial knob and kettle terrain. Accommodations inside the park include cabins and lodge rooms, and lakeside resorts in the area celebrate the region’s natural resources while keeping their focus on family-oriented activities.
Little Norway Resort
Little Norway Resort, located on a peninsula on Mantrap Lake just a mile south of Itasca, focuses on fishing and boating during summer. Use of canoes, paddleboats and kayaks is free, but there’s an hourly fee for pontoon boats and six-horsepower motors. One free dock space comes with a cabin rental, and a launch on the property provides access to the water. Amenities for non-fishing guests include a swim raft anchored off the resort’s sandy beach, and a sundeck and gazebo with hot tub. Updated cottages, paneled with knotty pine and decorated with rustic furnishings, are a few steps from the lake.
Wilderness Bay Resort
Wilderness Bay Resort, with 1,700 feet of shoreline on Little Mantrap Lake, offers both cabins and RV sites, though RVs must be self-contained because there is no bathhouse. Log cabins with paneled interiors have fireplaces and outside fire rings. The resort provides Wi-Fi connections. Wilderness Bay has a swimming raft anchored off the sandy beach and a kids dock with water toys. Multiple docks for the use of guests with boats are outside the cabins. Access to Minnesota’s large snowmobile trail system is less than a quarter-mile away.
Fun Ta Boot Resort
Located on Boot Lake, Fun Ta Boot Resort offers cabins with one to four bedrooms that sleep up to eight people. Each cabin has a screened porch or deck, fully equipped kitchen and at least one full bath. The gradual swimming beach has no steep drop-off, making it safer for smaller children, and the dock has a water slide at the end. Fun Ta Boot provides guests with free use of a paddleboat, canoes and "funyaks." The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources designates Boot Lake a trophy walleye fishery, and pontoon boats and boat motors are available for a fee. Planned activities for kids include scavenger hunts, story time and ping pong tournaments.
Two Inlets Resort
Two Inlets Resort on Two Inlets Lake offers one- and two-story cabins on the lake and tucked into the woods. Most have screened porches and fireplaces, and all are paneled with knotty pine. Canoes, kayaks, a paddle bike and sailboat are free to use, and a kids activities center on the sandy beach offers a Water Bongo with a launch. One free dock space comes with each cabin, and the resort has a fish-cleaning house and rents fishing boats and motors. Two Inlets offers a discount to guests 62 and older.