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17 Awesome Things to Do in Sauk Rapids, Minnesota

If you’re ready to discover the next hidden gem for your travel and day trip or mini road trip bucket list, add Sauk Rapids, Minnesota to your list ASAP. Are there lots of fun things to do in Sauk Rapids, Minnesota? You bet!

With a small-town vibe but uptown feel, Sauk Rapids, Minnesota is quickly becoming a tourist destination that is worth checking out.

Located in the center of Minnesota along Highway 10 in Benton County, Sauk Rapids, Minnesota is a family-friendly town that’s close enough to larger cities that you won’t feel that you’re in the boonies.

Ready to explore this booming small Minnesota town? Let’s dive in!

Happy family rollerblading; one of the most fun things to do in Sauk Rapids, Minnesota
Happy family rollerblading; one of the most fun things to do in Sauk Rapids, Minnesota

The Best Outdoor Activities in Sauk Rapids, Minnesota

Are you looking for outdoor activities for your list of things to do in Sauk Rapids, Minnesota? You’re in luck because this little town has plenty of outdoor activities for the entire family.

Recreational Trails

With five main off-road recreational trails, Sauk Rapids, Minnesota is an excellent place to play a day of hiking, rollerblading, biking, and cross country skiing.

The most popular city trail is Ox Cart Trail, a paved trail that runs along the banks of the beautiful Mississippi River. The trail runs through four of the city’s parks and is a total of 2.18 miles long. In pioneer days, the Red River Oxcart Trail was used to move goods and supplies between St. Paul and other cities.

Other trails are the Eastern Star Trail, Prairie Lane Trail, Rotary Trail, Church Heights Trail, and Garden Brook Trail.

Outdoor Ice Skating

For outdoor ice skating, check out the city’s Oakwood Village Park and Pleasantview Park.

Oakwood Village Park is located on 74 beautiful acres and has swings, playground equipment, and a skating rink.

Pleasantview Park is much smaller at 3.88 acres, but this little park boasts a lighted skating and ice hockey rink, along with a warming house.

The Clearing

At The Clearing, you can visit two of the most beloved parks in Sauk Rapids: Lion’s Park and Southside Park. Nestled on the banks of the mighty Mississippi River, The Clearing also has an interactive water feature, breathtaking views of the Mississippi River, a large event center called Riverside Terrace, and an outdoor amphitheater.

If you fall in love with The Clearing, be sure to book The Lookout for your next birthday party or other small gathering. The Lookout has a full IT setup, so it’s great for events, retreats, and group meetings.

The Clearing also features 1851 Square, an area with a state-of-the-art sound system that works for bands and musical groups of all sizes.

Summerland Family Fun Park

At Summerland Family Fun Park, there’s something to do for the entire family. From bumper boats to mini-golf, there are fun Sauk Rapids activities for the entire family. Be sure to check out the batting cage (they have four pitching machines!) and go-karts, where you and your kiddos can speed along a real racetrack. When the weather is warm, you can enjoy the 350-foot water slide that’s full of twists and turns that end in a heated pull at the end.

Fishing and Kayaking at Southside Park

Paddle your troubles away at one of the best things to do in Sauk Rapids, Minnesota
Paddle your troubles away at one of the best things to do in Sauk Rapids, Minnesota

To enjoy kayaking and fishing at a favorite fishing spot, head over to Southside Park in Sauk Rapids. A paved trail connects four river parks, and Southside Park has two fishing piers.

The Best Public Reserves, Parks, and Lands in Sauk Rapids, Minnesota

If your family enjoys visiting National Parks, State Parks, and local popular parks and preserves, these are excellent things to do in Sauk Rapids, Minnesota.

Sauk Rapids City Parks

If relaxing and enjoying a picnic in a gorgeous city park appeals to you, then Sauk Rapids, Minnesota is the place to be. With 25 parks and reserves, you can find a Sauk Rapids park to meet your needs.

Birch Lakes State Forest

At Birch Lakes State Forest, residents and visitors can enjoy hunting, fishing at your favorite fishing spot, boating, snowmobiling, hiking, and more on 2,025 acres of surface water along 12.5 miles of scenic shoreline.

If you want to go camping in Sauk Rapids, Birch Lakes State Forests has individual and group campsites that include cleared areas, fire rings, drinking water, picnic tables, and vault toilets. Horse campsites are also available.

Bob Cross Park and Nature Preserve

The Bob Cross Nature Preserve features a winding path through a breathtaking wetland. You can go hiking while you observe local wildlife.

Young deer
Observe nature at one of the most peaceful things to do in Sauk Rapids, Minnesota

At the Bob Ross Park, there are softball fields for a ball game, tennis courts, and a full athletic complex. A paved walkway gives area residents a nice trail for walking, and during the summer, kids can enjoy the wading pool and playground equipment.

The Best Festivals and Annual Entertainment in Sauk Rapids, Minnesota

If you don’t live in Sauk Rapids, you should plan your visit around some of the city’s amazing festivals and annual events. Here are the best annual things to do in Sauk Rapids, Minnesota.

Rapids River Days Festival

The most beloved annual event in Sauk Rapids is the three-day summer festival known as Rapid River Days. During the Rapid River Days festival, visitors can enjoy a huge parade that runs along Sixth Avenue and watch the young ladies who participate in the Miss Sauk Rapids Pageant.

If you like to pair fitness activities with your tourism, sign up for the two-mile walk, 5K run, or 1K run that starts at Bob Cross Park.

Don’t miss all of the delicious foods at the Rapids River Food Fest. Vendors set up every year and you can sample turkey legs, hot dogs, popcorn chicken, sweet potato fries, corndogs, taco-in-a-bag, wontons, kabobs, porkchop on a stick, pig wings, cheese curds, and more regional delicacies.

Fire Department Annual Open House

During the annual Fire Prevention Week in October, the city of Sauk Rapids Fire Department hosts an annual open house. Over the years, this open house has turned into a full-blown festival complete with free Halloween pumpkins, educational materials, and other goodies. Best of all, kids (and grown-up kids at heart) get to spray the department’s huge water hoses.

While all of this is going on, the firefighters also demonstrate an extraction. Fire trucks are always on display during the open house.

Winter Parade of Lights and Family Fun Day

If you plan your visit to Sauk Rapids, Minnesota during the holiday seasons, try to go for the Winter Parade of Lights and Family Fun Day. Located at the Sauk Rapids VFW on North Benton Drive, the Family Fun Day consists of a Grand Parade, holiday music, bingo for kids, selfies with llamas, a coloring contest for the kiddos, and much more.

Meanwhile, downtown shops and businesses offer store specials all day long. At night, you can witness the Living Nativity scene.

Riverside Nights

Every summer at The Clearing, the city of Sauk Rapids features Riverside Nights, a musical festival that features local, regional, and national talent.

The Best Restaurants and Bars in Sauk Rapids, Minnesota

After you’ve exhausted all of the fun things to do in Sauk Rapids, Minnesota, check out some of these establishments.

Rollie’s Rednecks and Longnecks

Male friends drinking beer and clinking glasses at bar
Here’s to the weekend!

Voted “The Best Country Bar” in the state of Minnesota, Rollie’s Rednecks and Longnecks is the place to go to hear excellent country music (and rock music), enjoy cold drinks, and even eat great food from a menu that features standard bar fare, pizza, steak, sandwiches, and burgers.

This popular spot features both local artists and national performers throughout the year, and they often have outdoor concerts, polka music, and pancake fundraisers.

Old Capital Tavern

Experience some of Minnesota’s best craft beer at the Sauk Rapids Old Capital Tavern. In addition to craft beer, this popular tavern also serves an excellent selection of whiskey, bourbon, and scotch. An extensive brunch menu offers everything from eggs benedict to corned beef hash, along with salads, sandwiches (try the Four Alarm Pig’s Ass Masterpiece), and gourmet appetizers such as Thai lettuce wraps and duck wontons.

Benton Station Bar

How about catching a world-class comedy show when you visit Sauk Rapids, Minnesota? At the Benton Station Bar, you can dine on delicious fried seafood and breaded hot wings while you take in some of the state’s finest comedy entertainment.

Other Things to Do in Sauk Rapids, Minnesota

Below, we list some fun activities in Sauk Rapids, Minnesota that didn’t fit into our other categories.

Sports Arena East

At Sports Arena East, you can enjoy events such as the St. Cloud Antique Auto Club Car Show, the Benton County Fair, and indoor hockey events and matches. Every week, the arena offers open skating times where you can skate for $5 ($3 for kids). If you don’t have your own skates, that’s OK. You can rent skates right there at the arena for no charge.

Up close red and white holstein heifer calf on Halter
Spend time at the county fair

Granite City Motor Park

Do you love watching racecar racing? Head over to the Granite City Motor Park, also known as the Granite City Speedway. If you’re driving into Sauk Rapids from another city, there is lodging nearby.

Final Thoughts: The Best Things to Do in Sauk Rapids, Minnesota

Now that you know all of the fun things to do in Sauk Rapids, Minnesota, which will you do first? Maybe you want to make a day of it, or perhaps a weekend trip is what you have in mind. Book an Airbnb or bread and breakfast and enjoy all that this charming little Minnesota town has to offer. Let us know in the comments if there are any hidden gems in Sauk Rapids that we may have missed.