Minnesota’s Itasca State Park contains more than 100 lakes, a Wilderness Drive where bears are occasionally seen, the headwaters of the Mississippi River and rustic lodges with on-site dining. Gorgeous campsites start at $22 a night.
For an old-school North Woods getaway, renovated cabins at nearby Mantrap Lodge (from $225) appeal to families eager to ditch the TV in favor of the beach and throwback playground.
When it’s time to eat, try La Pasta Italian Eatery in tiny Dorset (known for its 4-year-old mayor).
There’s no need to travel for breakfast—Mantrap Lodge’s cabins feature full kitchens for DIY meals.
Shops downtown include The Trading Post, which sells loon whistles and T-shirts. Wildwood Enchantment stocks handmade felted handbags and other accessories; Lazy One sells North Woods-inspired sleepwear. Minnesoda Fountain serves nostalgia with each sundae.
Just north of town, the classy shops in old buildings at Summerhill Farm include The Stable for decorative rugs and Carriage House for kitchen gadgets.
Each summer, Legends and Logging Days brings in world-champion lumberjacks (August 7–9, 2014).
Open seasonally since 1955, the modest Rapid River Logging Camp still serves meals fit for loggers’ big appetites at communal tables; come early to tour the camp and see what life was like in early logging days.
More information: (800) 247-0054; parkrapids.com