9 Awesome Places Surrounding White Oak Casino

White Oak Casino Logo With Horses on Right and House Front on Left

You’ll find White Oak Casino in Deer River, Minnesota. But you may not realize just how many awesome places surround the casino and the Deer River area. Today’s post covers a lot of those awesome places to visit surrounding casinos in small-town America.

So whether you live in the Deer River area or if you’re traveling through and are looking to explore as much as you can, this is a post you need to read. A trip to one of America’s finest small casinos may be the primary draw to the area.

But with the history and nature scene, along with a few fun odds and ends, you’re in for one epic treat when you visit White Oak Casino and Deer River, Minnesota.

Let’s discover all of what the area offers.

1 – Schoolcraft State Park

Looking for time off from White Oak Casino?

Immerse yourself in the great outdoors at Schoolcraft State Park. Here, you’ll find a great spot for canoeing and camping, plus a plethora of other recreational activities. It’s a smaller park, so if you’d rather dip into the scenery, Schoolcraft also makes for a fantastic visit.

Reviewers have praised the hosts at the campsites, plus the well-maintained nature of the park. It’s not the best place to hike, given the short trails that fork through the campgrounds.

But if you’re looking for a smaller hike as opposed to a day trip, the trails of Schoolcraft are worth venturing.

2 – Forest History Center

Forest History Center is the perfect place for a lesson in local history. Discover the area’s past and understand its significance to the present and even the future of Minnesota’s forested scene. Embark on guided tours for a look at logging camps from the turn of the 19th and into the 20th century.

Board a floating cook shack known as the Wanigan, and head off to explore a cabin that once belonged to a Minnesota patrolman back in the 1930s.

Oh, and if you’re not afraid of heights, climb that 100-foot water tower (yes, it says so in TripAdvisor) and embark on a few self-guided hikes.

You won’t find anything quite like the history of forestry here at the Forest History Center and how it has shaped the industry in Minnesota today.

3 – Gilbert Mansion

Since we’ve already taken a step back in time at the Forest History Center, stay back there a little while longer with a trip to the Gilbert Mansion. This attraction once served as the home of the Gilbert Family, one of the region’s most prominent.

Today, the mansion serves as a museum, and it’s a great way to get a taste of the good life dating back over 100 years ago. Tour the 17-room mansion and learn about the history of the Gilbert family and the area of Grand Rapids, Minnesota. About 13 miles from Deer River.

Gilbert Mansion Front Entrance

The suggested duration of the trip lasts between one and two hours, so it’s a great way to spend an afternoon receiving a history lesson in one of Minnesota’s most prized historical sites.

4 – Barely Reality

You’ll also find Barely Reality in Grand Rapids, and the name says it all. This specialty shop specializes in virtual reality gaming. So if you’re into a type of gaming you won’t get at White Oak Casino, head over to Barely Reality, and you will discover it.

It’s one of those more obscure, odds-and-ends attractions within a small town. Giving it an even greater flavor of uniqueness. Along with virtual reality gaming, they have dozens of old video game consoles.

So even if you’re older and you’re into retro gaming instead of the virtual reality scene, you’re in luck, even if it didn’t side with you over at White Oak Casino. That said, Barely Reality is a fantastic gaming adventure for guests of all ages and interest levels.

So discover something new, and be sure to try your hand at those retro games. The fun won’t stop at Barely Reality, and it’ll give you just as wild of a wide as what you’ll find at the casino.

5 – Old Central School

Let’s continue with our historical tour of the area after that gaming break at Barely Reality.

Here, the Old Central School remains a classic landmark in Grand Rapids. And again, Grand Rapids sits about 13 miles away from Deer River. So you’re not traveling far to get a solid taste of a nearby attraction.

And in front of the place, you’ll find a yellow brick road, which could pay homage to Judy Garland, who starred as Dorothy Gale in The Wizard of Oz. In the building, you’ll find a few shops and multiple historical displays.

It’s a great location to pair with one of the main attractions in the area, which is the Judy Garland Museum itself. So if you’re on your way to arguably the primary draw in the Deer River slash Grand Rapids area, make a quick stop at Old Central School, then head over to the museum.

6 – ABC’s of Quilting

As you can tell from the attractions listed above, many pay homage to the past. And the ABC’s of Quilting is another prime example of the past. Here, you’re in for a quaint shopping experience. So if it’s something up your alley, or if you’re looking for a hot, local item, this is the place to be.

So where will you find ABC’s of Quilting?

Right inside the attraction listed in the above subheading. Yes, before heading to the Judy Garland Museum, if it piques your interest, you’ll want to make a quick stop here with a unique shopping experience including special discounts, sales, and so much more.

7 – Klockow Brewing

Looking to try the area’s finest brews?

Klockow Brewing in Grand Rapids is where it’s at. And sure, you may find a few excellent brews over at White Oak Casino. But if you’re looking for authenticity, look no further than Klockow Brewing.

They offer a stellar variety of beers featuring both indoor and outdoor seating. They also have a stage for live performances. So this is the finest place in the area to immerse yourself in local entertainment if you’re looking to relax the night away.

Klockow Brewing in Grand Rapids

They don’t have any food, but they provide outstanding service, a clean, welcoming atmosphere, and those murals on the walls more than worth coming in to capture a few photos of.

8 – Judy Garland Museum

The small Judy Garland Museum is probably the finest draw in the Grand Rapids, Minnesota area. And yes, it rivals that of White Oak Casino, given Garland’s claim to fame during her active years in film.

It’s funny because when you’re on the outside looking in, you’ll see nothing more than an average, everyday house. You’d never guess one of Hollywood’s biggest celebrities came from such a small area.

But it’s true. During the first four years of Garland’s life, she lived right here at this modest home. They have restored the house back to its original appearance in the 1920s when the Gumm Family lived there.

So if you’re a fan of The Wizard of Oz or Judy Garland herself, heading to the Judy Garland Museum is a must. Come in for a history lesson, plus a few behind-the-scenes revelations regarding Garland and the Gumm family.

Also, next to the museum is a children’s museum. So if you’re in the area with your family, move the Judy Garland Museum to the top of this list if you haven’t already done so.

Speaking of the Children’s Discovery Museum, let’s talk about it.

9 – Children’s Discovery Museum

Alright, so if you’re already at the Judy Garland Museum, chances are you’ll end up here if you have any kids with you.

The Children’s Discovery Museum contains interactive activities that won’t just spark their imaginations but it may even spark your own.

So what do they have at this epic museum?

You and your kids will find a cool water table with locks and leveys, a dinosaur dig activity, plus plenty of career-based exhibits that include a Firehall, bakery, doctor’s office, post office, music room, and even a dress-up area.

And the above are just a few of the many exhibits the place boasts. It’s an epic adventure for any kid who is just building interest in a few potential careers. And with a trip to the Children’s Discovery Museum, they’re bound to discover far more about who they are.


The Deer River and Grand Rapids area surrounding White Oak Casino epitomizes small-town America. Here, you’ll find plenty of odds and ends attractions, along with history at every turn. And if you’re a fan of Judy Garland and The Wizard of Oz, it should give you even more reason to explore the area.

So take a day to definitely explore nearby Grand Rapids. Immerse yourself in nature over at Schoolcraft, and turn a trip to a small area into a legitimate vacation.

Have you been to White Oak Casino? If so, did you visit any of the attractions listed above? Let us know in the comments section and tell us about your experience. We’re looking forward to hearing from you.