Itasca State Park - Minnesota's Oldest Park


Itasca Sports store.

Home to the source of the Mississippi River

Located in northern Minnesota’s lake country, towering old-growth pines, and spectacular scenery. Itasca Sports Rental offers many recreational opportunities to help you see the park. Bike the paved trails at a leisurely pace, canoe to the Headwaters of the Mississippi, pontoon around Lake Itasca, or spend the day fishing Itasca’s lakes.


In 1891, Itasca State Park was established to preserve remnant stands of virgin pine, (some of the largest old-growth stands of red and white pine in the state), and to protect the basin around the Mississippi’s source. The park has 32,000 acres and more than 100 lakes. Some of the finest scenery in the area can be found at Itasca State Park- drawing visitors to the park 365 days a year not only for its year-round beauty, but also for its tranquility. Here visitors can spend the day exploring the forest by foot, bike, boat, pontoon, kayak or auto. Walk across the mighty Mississippi as it starts its winding journey 2,552 miles to the Gulf of Mexico. Stand under towering pines at Preacher’s Grove. Visit the Indian Cemetery or Wegmann’s Cabin. Camp under the stars, or eat at the historic Douglas Lodge. Explore Wilderness Drive past the 2,000-acre Wilderness Sanctuary, one of Minnesota’s seven National Natural Landmarks. Itasca has become a famous natural, cultural and historic landmark in North America! In 1832 explorer Henry Schoolcraft, lead by his Ojibwe guide, traveled straight to Lake Itasca, source of the Mississippi River. Debates continued until a survey revealed that the entire Itasca basin was the source of the Mississippi River, but the waters were not united as a river until they flowed out of Lake Itasca.

The Smith Family started Itasca Sports in 1989. Steve and Sue Smith opened the shop as a concessionaire for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. Sam and Caren Smith have six children and have been the manager/owners since 2005. We’re long-time area residents, and enjoy helping visitors to the Park.

Family picture of the owners of Itasca Sports.