We went here a few years back, and will be going back this September. We are so excited! There are so many beautiful spots here at Lake Itasca. We went to the headwaters first and walked across the Mississippi, which was just really awesome to think about. We left the stroller in the car, because obviously you can't take it over the rocks and things by/in the river. When we finished there (there are just pretty things to see there, and it's cool to walk in the river), we stopped by the visitor's center, which has some neat information in it. Nothing too exciting for kids, unless they're much older. We liked it. Then, we stopped off at a couple of scenic places. There was one where we went down a bunch of steps out to a viewing platform (it was small). From where we were, we could see the water and the beautiful woods. It was gorgeous. If you are about the view and a little bit of history, this is a great place to take the kids!
We visited Itasca State Park when our oldest 2 children were only 1 and 3, and we actually had a really great time there. The kids loved holding our hand and wading across the water. It is beautiful there, and we spent a couple of hours just enjoying the scenery, walking around, and splashing in the water. We definitely think it's worth the trip to check it out!
The headwaters of the Mississippi at Lake Itasca were amazing! The surrounding are is gorgeous! The headwaters were great to wade in, albeit a tad cold. The museum by the Headwaters was great! They had a lot of information about local tribes, the mississippi and the Civilian Conservation Core (CCC). Each exhibit had a ton of kid friendly activities, and even "authentic" clothes to dress up in.
We always have a great time here. As a family with younger children, here are my tips:
*bring your own snacks and drinks - kids can get really thirsty with all the hiking here
*Itasca is stroller friendly
*Make sure to have the kids walk across the Mississippi and climb to the top of the fire tower.
*even if the park campground is booked full, you can find decent private campsites very near by
*if camping don't keep any food or toothpaste etc.. in your tent (bears)
*I've heard the bike rental is a must-do if you can (we've always had too many little ones to do this).
This was a childhood soul place. I loved visiting with my family. There was so much to do...fish on the lake, eat wild rice pancakes at the lodge, and take long hikes. I'll never forget seeing the loons and lady slippers.
The cabins were rustic, but fun for kids. We shared ours with a bat, but the ranger came and "rescued" us both. You can also jump over the headwaters of the Mississippi at this fascinating park.