Minnesota Scenic Drives: Great River Road

Recreational Qualities of the Great River Road

From the headwaters to the Iowa border, Minnesota's portion of the Great River Road allows visitors to partake in a vast variety of recreational opportunities along its route. No matter what the itinerary or expectation, there is something to suit every taste on the Great River Road. And the fun and adventure continues throughout all four of Minnesota's very distinct seasons.

The water itself creates a large amount of the recreational draw to the Great River Road. A taste of the recreational possibilities that are available on the water include swimming, sunning, fishing, boating, jet skiing, sailing, canoeing, kayaking, and waterskiing -- just to name a few.

Strung along the edge of the river are plenty of things to do as well -- particularly for outdoor enthusiasts. One of six state parks may be the perfect stop after a drive on the byway. At parks like Itasca State Park, visitors can enjoy hiking or biking the trails, picnicking, or even bird-watching. The northern part of the byway provides a haven for hunters and anglers. The wilderness in this area is home to a great deal of wildlife.

Winter weather is no excuse to stay indoors in Minnesota. Several places along the byway offer miles of cross-country skiing and snowmobiling. Visitors also find places for downhill skiing.