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Things To Do

Need ideas for things to do on your next stay in Staples? You've come to the right place! Browse through the ideas listed below and plan out a fun-filled day for you and your family. Additional information on specific places of interest can be found on the Area Attractions page.

Don't miss out! Search our Events page for upcoming dates of your favorite activity or try something new.

Do you have questions or need more information? Please contact us - we're happy to help!

Inside Activities

Two men perform "Who's on First" at the Red Caboose Variety Show in 2017.

Art and Theatre

The arts are alive and well in Staples! High-quality performances and special programs scheduled throughout the year ranging from student to adult performances. Lamplighter Community Theatre produces a wide variety of offerings including a summer children’s theatre camp. Past productions include “12 Angry Men,” “Fond Farewell,” and “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” Prairie Fire Children’s Theatre, sponsored by the Staples-Motley Arts Council, leads the staging of a large youth production each summer. The Little Red Caboose Variety Show is held each year as part of the Railroad Days celebration in August. Staples is home to local artists working in a variety of mediums. Classes and open galleries are offered periodically. Five Wings Art Council (FWAC) actively supports local artists throughout the 5 county area. FWAC’s office is located in downtown Staples.

SMHS Chistmas Concert Dec 2016

Concerts and Music

Staples has been called “the city that sings!” And its vivid musical heritage continues to flourish and grow. Concerts and programs from local groups – Staples Area Men’s ChoirStaples Area Women’s ChoirCentral MN Boys Choir, and Colla Voce – are regional favorites due to the quality and richness of their performances. The annual “Real Men Sing” and “Her Voice, Her Song” festivals bring youth and adult singers together for music education and enjoyment. The Staples-Motley Arts Council brings local, regional, and national performers to Staples for their regular Concert and Chamber Series and their summer Music in the Park series.

Our award-winning Staples-Motley Schools’ bands, orchestra, and choirs perform at various events and functions during the year.

Men's league plays pickleball at the Staples Community Center.

Gym and Pickleball

If you are looking to get some indoor exercise, head to the Staples Community Center. Workout in the fitness center, swim in a competition-length swimming pool, run laps, and shoot some hoops in the gym.

Pickleball is available Tuesday and Thursday mornings from 8am-12pm and again on Wednesday evenings from 6pm-8pm. Check in with the office prior to play.

Community Center hours vary by season. It’s a good idea to review the schedule online or give them a call at (218) 894-2553 before heading over.

Two girls swimming at the Staples Community Center

Indoor Swimming

The Staples Community Center has a competition-length swimming pool. Programs include lap swimming, exercise classes, and open swim. Hours vary by season. The cost for Open Swim is $2 per person. Please call (218) 894-2553 for more information.

Timberlake Hotel (218-895-1300) opens its indoor swimming pool for Open Swim each Thursday and Sunday from 12pm – 2pm and 4pm – 6pm. The cost is $5 per person.

A mom and son play laser tag.

Laser Tag

Holst Acres offers year-round laser tag and party rental facilities. Two levels of obstacles, ramps, and corridors greet your team. You’ll need stealth and cunning to help your team gain victory in this exciting game. It’s great for friends and families, parties, a night out, or just to get some energy out on a cold day. Call (218) 838-2618 to make your reservation!

Small items displayed for sale at Longbellas Drug Store in Staples.


Peruse Staples’ stores to find a unique gift or helpful household item. Longbella Drug and Lakewood Health System’s Shoppe sell an array of soaps, lotions, home decorations, kitchen tools, baby and children clothes and toys, and more. In addition to hardware, Staples True Value offers consignment items from local artists. Ace Hardware has fun children’s games and toys to perk up those days inside or traveling. Buy a souvenir of your stay at LMH Embroidery. They offer embroidered and screen printed clothing (including Staples Cardinal gear!) along with fun made-in-Minnesota gift items. Japke Decorating sells a variety of gifts, home decor, and women’s clothing.

The antique store, Sebasky & Hildreth, can be found at 121 6th Street NE. The store offers two floors of quality, hard to find antiques and decorative arts. Due to the owners’ schedules at antique shows, please call ahead to schedule a viewing appointment at (612) 804-6055 or (612) 812-9969. You may also reach them by email at asebasky@arvig.net.

Visit the Staples-Motley Chamber of Commerce website for a listing of local businesses or call them at (218) 894-3974 for more information.

The historic registry sign outside the Staples Depot.

Staples Historic Depot

Staples is proud of its rich railroad history. Even today, trains continue to rumble through town on a frequent schedule. The present-day two-story brick Depot was constructed in 1909-1910 in the Classical Revival style. The recent renovations updated the building’s plumbing and electrical but retained its rich and vivid past. The Depot is open to the public and you may visit anytime.

Learn more about the Depot online! The Great American Stations website has a wonderful article on the Depot’s history.

Outside Activities

The Spool Barn Quilt found in Staples, MN.

Barn Quilt Trail

The Central MN Barn Quilt Trail runs right through Staples. Walk through the downtown area and you will find amazing barn quilts at businesses and homes. Venture out in a car and follow the trail from Pine Grove Park all the way to Legacy Gardens in the north. The trail has over 100 different barn quilts throughout the four-county area. Take a morning, a day, or a weekend and view all of these unique, colorful creations.

Lumberbats playing baseball at Pine Grove Park in Staples, MN.

Baseball and Softball

Amateur baseball with big league love of the game! The Staples Lumberbats play at Pine Grove Field during the spring and summer season. Come cheer on the hometown hitters! No tickets needed but a free will donation is accepted during the game. Concessions are available.

Dower Lake’s softball fields are ready for your next game. Join in local weekend tournaments. Other fields are available at the Staples-Motley School Fields just behind the elementary school.

A woman runs on the Legacy Trail in Staples, MN.

Bike, Hike, and Run

The paved Legacy Trail is great for biking and walking. The trail runs from Legacy Gardens in the north all the way down past the overpass for Highway 10. If you are seeking a shorter walk or would like to see a map of the Legacy Trail, make sure to see our Staples Trail Map.

Get outside and hike around. Pine Grove Park and Dower Lake Recreation Area both have nature trails in and around scenic wooded areas. Old Wadena Park has hiking trails and a unique Bogwalk.

A family enjoys the Holst Acres corn maze.

Corn Maze and Haunted Hollows

Want a fun day out with your family and friends? Get lost amongst the tall corn of Holst Acres! Their 1-acre corn maze is fun for everyone. Work together through twisting pathways to find your way out. It’s a different maze each year!

And if you enjoy being scared witless, Holst Acres offers their wicked scream-fest, Haunted Hollows, weekends in October. Explore their wooded trail and four haunted buildings – if you DARE! You never know what will be lurking around the corners…

Please visit their website at holstacres.com for a full schedule and availability or call (218) 894-0099 for more information.

An array of vegetables for sale at the Staples Area Farmer's Market

Farmers’ Market

A variety of mouth-watering options – vegetables, preserves, baked goods, fruit, and more – are available at the Farmer’s Market from May to October. On Thursdays, peruse all the delicious options from 2pm to 5:30pm at Lakewood Main Campus Parking Lot.

Man in a boat catches a fish at Dower Lake in Staples, MN.


Drop a line and catch some fish! Boat, kayak, or ice – take your pick or enjoy fishing them all. The Crow Wing River allows for canoe and kayak fishing. Dower Lake is open for all fishing. You don’t even need a boat. Fish off Minnesota’s longest pier. It’s family-friendly and there’s plenty of room for all.

With Staples’ central location, you can fish more than one lake and still be close to your comfortable hotel room. The Lincoln Lakes area is just minutes away: Lake Shamineau, Lake Alexander, and Fish Trap Lake. Add those to Dower Lake and that’s a pretty great weekend!

A foursome golfing at The Vintage in Staples, MN.

Golf and Tennis

The Vintage at Staples is a Joel Goldstrand designed 18-hole public golf course. It is located along the Crow Wing River on County Rd 30. Golf with friends, a league, or your family! There is something for all skill levels at The Vintage.

Six tennis courts are located at the Staples-Motley School District Fields located behind Staples-Motley Elementary at 1025 4th St NE.

A path winding through the trees at Pine Grove Park in Staples, MN.

Historic Locations

See where Staples started. Native American artifacts from Old Wadena Park date back 3,000 years. In 1783, the fur traders built the Crow Wing’s first trading post. This environmental park offers rustic camping, trails, and a Bogwalk.

Walk among the pines at Pine Grove Park. In 1919, the women of the Staples Civic Association fought to save a beautiful stand of red and white pine from being harvested. Against the odds and the naysayers, they contracted to purchase the 40 acres of land for $23,000.

Salute our country’s heroes. Staples Veterans Park is dedicated to those in our community who have served and defended our country.

Yellow and pink flowers growing at Living Legacy Gardens in Staples, MN.

Living Legacy Gardens

The Living Legacy Garden is a public garden established in 2001 at the Central Lakes College Ag Center. This 10-acre garden was established to demonstrate plants suitable for growing in Zone 3 as well as to provide a relaxing spot to enjoy nature’s beauty.

Visitors are welcome to enjoy the gardens at any time. Guided garden tours may be arranged during summer months by calling (218) 894-5123.  Tours include information on how the garden began, its history, and the opportunity to ask questions about plants and growing conditions.

Two girls jump from the dock at Dower Lake in Staples, MN.

Outdoor Swimming

Looking to cool off in the lake? Head over to Dower Lake Recreation Area. It offers public lake access and a swimming beach in addition to a softball complex, disc golf, basketball court, picnic shelter, picnic areas, horseshoe pits, sand volleyball court, and nature trails. It is also home to MN’s longest fishing pier!

Boys practice shooting at Sportmans' shooting range in Staples, MN.

Shooting Range

Keep your aim straight! Get out and practice at Staples’ public rifle and archery range maintained by Staples Sportsman’s Club. The rifle range has 25, 50, and 100-yard target backstops. Archery has 4 targets available. The range is open every day from 9am – sunset. Interested in trap shooting? Become a Club member and have access to trap shoots!

A group of people tube down the Crow Wing River in Staples, MN.

Tube and Paddle

Soak up some sun and marvel at nature’s beauty. Whether you would rather paddle or float, the water is calling! Bring your own canoe or kayak and head to either the Crow Wing River or Dower Lake. For the DIY, rent tubes from Staples True Value.

For those looking for more convenience, Wahoo Valley Bar & Grill offers tubing services for a small per person charge. They will drive you to your starting point, supply twine for hooking tubes together, and remove your garbage when you get back to the restaurant. Reservations are recommended especially on the weekends. Read a fun article describing Staples river tubing on the Stern Rubber Company’s website.

Learn more about the Crow Wing’s landing points. Download and print the Crow Wing River Water Trail Map from the DNR. A popular family-friendly tubing route is from McGivern Park to Orville’s Landing.


A blacksmith works at the Old Wadena Rendezvous.

Old Wadena Rendezvous and Chautauqua Celebration

Step back in time at the Old Wadena Rendezvous. Time travel happens the 2nd weekend of August each year. The experience includes a fur traders encampment, musical performances, kids activities, tools of the 1840s, educational speakers and demonstrations, an artisan tent (blacksmith, spinning wool, making pots, making crafts, etc.), and, of course, food!

Railroad Days Parade 2018

Railroad Days

Celebrate Staples at Railroad Days the 4th weekend of August! Join us for a full weekend of family-friendly activities and events, a parade, musical performances, a street dance, fireworks, CLC’s Field Day, and so much more.

Do you have a great "to do" to add to this page? We'd like to hear it. Contact us!