Nestled along the shores of Lake Bemidji and the Mississippi River inlet is BEMIDJI, the First City on the Mississippi and a gathering place for travelers for centuries. Rich in historic and artistic culture, mixed with a pulsing, entrepreneurial spirit, Bemidji continues to be a dynamic regional center.
Paul Bunyan & Babe the Blue Ox, Bemidji's legendary roadside attraction, greet visitors. Adjacent to their waterfront park home is Bemidji's vibrant downtown district, dotted with boutiques, creative cuisines, brewery and pubs, museums, theater, and art venues. Live performances and lakeside festivals are a few more reasons you'll enjoy downtown Bemidji. And just minutes away is the Headwaters of the Mississippi River, another not-to-be missed stop.
Bemidji earned bicycle-friendly community status from the League of American Bicyclists in 2012. So bring your bike (or rentals are available) and cruise around town or along beautiful Lake Bemidji on a paved trail that twice crosses the Mississippi River. Lake Bemidji State Park and several city parks grace the shoreline as well, with sandy swimming beaches, picnic pavilions, playgrounds, and trails, making it easy for visitors to experience "the lake."
Summertime is festival time and Bemidji has a line-up worth planning to attend. With most festival venues located lakeside, and conveniently located to the downtown and all its amenities, Bemidji's festivals are the best of the best! The third weekend in June celebrates Bemidji's bicycle-friendly community with a Loop the Lake Festival. This 17-mile route loops Lake Bemidji and is dotted with multiple stops for photos, food, and family-fun activities. Every Wednesday evening, (June 21-Aug 30) grab a lawn chair and head to Paul Bunyan Park for Mississippi Music at the Waterfront. This family-friendly, live music event doesn't cost anything- unless you choose to get a bite or beverage from on-site food vendors. The July 4th Water Carnival is an annual tradition with midway rides, Grand Day Parade, and fireworks over Lake Bemidji. Art-in-the-Park and Vintage Car Show are visitor favorites held in mid-July. The first weekend in August, the waterfront comes alive with festival goers cheering on the Dragon Boat Festival teams and taking in evening entertainment in the Dragon's Den.
At days end, tranquil lakeside lodgings, convenient cityside franchise hotels, a bed & breakfast, or cabins with ample amenities all await your return. You will find the options to be a nice blend of small enough to be convenient, yet large enough to be comfortable.
From sunrise to sunset, the lure of the lake and energetic downtown scene will inspire and reconnect you with nature, yourself, friends, and family. Don't worry if the end of your visit arrives too quickly - come back soon! The fun happens all year round! For more trip planning ideas and festival dates,