This article is from DESTINATIONS magazine, your source for inspiration and resources about travel in Central and Northern Lakes Area Minnesota! Read on for more links and information about some of Akeley's most noteworthy sites and events, or click here to return to, where you can browse travel articles about other communities throughout the region.

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DESTINATIONS is a travel magazine published annually by select Forum Communications Company newspapers.


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No drive around northern Minnesota is complete without a visit to Akeley, the home of one of the biggest selfie stops in the state — everybody wants their picture taken with the legendary big man himself, Paul Bunyan.

Local lore has it that the giant lumberjack was born in Akeley, and the community honors its native son with the world’s largest Paul Bunyan statue. His huge hand outstretched, the 31-foot friendly behemoth has welcomed visitors for more than 25 years.

Located on the Lake Country Scenic Byway, 10 miles west of Walker, Akeley is a hard-to-miss destination for anyone traveling around the area. The little town of about 440 people offers an array of outdoor activities and attractions for visitors, including a city beach and campground, picnicking, fishing, and trails for hikers, snowmobilers, ATVs and more.

Paul Bunyan State Forest, just north of Akeley, has hundreds of miles of recreational trails, and The Heartland Trail — a 49-mile, multiple-use trail open to non-motorized recreation — meanders right through town. Resorts around the lake-rich area offer amenities for a vacation to remember.



Show your big love for the Big Guy

(Park Rapids Enterprise File Photo of a family posing with the giant Paul Bunyan statue in Akeley)
(Park Rapids Enterprise File Photo of a family posing with the giant Paul Bunyan statue in Akeley)

In addition to the giant statue, Akeley boasts a Paul Bunyan Museum, with exhibits on the town’s logging history. There’s also an annual Paul Bunyan Days celebration, featuring a parade, food, refreshments, flea market, live music and more. The 73rd annual Paul Bunyan Days is June 25-27.

Take the 'Purple Plunge'

(Park Rapids Enterprise File Photo)
(Park Rapids Enterprise File Photo)

Audrey’s Purple Dream is held each February. Hardy Minnesotans brave the cold waters of 11th Crow Wing Lake to take the “Purple Plunge” as a fundraiser for local residents battling cancer. There is also a fishing tournament with prizes.

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