Where precisely “up north” begins and ends is up for perennial debate, however few would argue the Brainerd Lakes Space falls smack dab in the midst of the controversy. With its sprawling lakes, award-winning golf programs, charming downtowns, and thrilling points of interest, this central-Minnesota trip vacation spot continues to attract new and repeat guests for timeless summer season enjoyable.
The world’s latest attraction is devoted to one among its oldest attracts: the widespread loon. Situated in downtown Crosslake, the Nationwide Loon Middle will probably be house to an interactive museum scheduled to open in 2024. Till then, guests can take a look at the non permanent out of doors displays, cease by The Nest customer middle, and take an academic boat tour on the Loons & Lakes StewardShip, the brand new floating classroom.
The loon’s name is a quintessential a part of the Brainerd Lakes Space expertise, whether or not you keep on an enormous lake like Gull or Pelican, or one of many smaller lakes on the Whitefish Chain. These lakes are house to quite a lot of lodging choices, lots of which have been household owned and operated for generations. Whether or not you favor hotel-style lodging, a small log cabin, or an expensive townhome, you will discover it right here.
One resort that gives the entire above and extra is Grand View Lodge on Gull Lake. The sprawling property just lately accomplished a $50 million enlargement that added a brand new 60-room boutique resort, indoor/out of doors pool, and what it claims to be the most important out of doors Jacuzzi in Minnesota. Friends and space guests can benefit from Grand View’s many facilities, together with the full-service spa, a number of eating places, two championship golf programs, and the summer season live performance sequence.
Talking of golf, the Brainerd Lakes Space is one among Minnesota’s high spots for teeing up. The Classic at Madden’s, Deacon’s Lodge at Breezy Point, and the Legacy Programs at Cragun’s all made Golf Digest’s high 25 checklist this 12 months based mostly on the journal’s seven scoring standards: shot choices, problem, structure selection, distinctiveness, aesthetics, conditioning, character, and its latest class, enjoyable. Minnesota golf legend Tom Lehman is behind a $10 million renovation and enlargement mission at Cragun’s that’s set to be accomplished in 2023.
Able to seize a drink after your spherical? Nisswa’s Roundhouse Brewery boasts one of many space’s greatest patios and has expanded to supply axe throwing and weekly occasions together with bingo and meat raffles, with proceeds benefiting native charities. Two extra breweries—Big Axe Brewing Co. and Main Street Ale House—might be present in downtown Nisswa, and Brainerd is house to the world’s solely cocktail room at 5Rocks Distilling Co.
For household enjoyable, it doesn’t get significantly better than Nisswa’s weekly turtle races. Held each Wednesday afternoon from June by way of mid-August, the races have been a summer season custom for greater than 50 years. Children and adults alike line up and pay $5 for his or her likelihood at choosing the quickest turtle. Just one turtle will win, however everybody may have time.
In case you’re searching for one thing barely speedier, Brainerd International Raceway hosts all kinds of occasions all summer season lengthy, together with drag races, bike and superbike races, energy cruises, and extra. The annual Lakes Jam music festival (June 23-25) options tenting, racing, and performances by headliners Tesla, Jon Pardi, Cole Swindell, and
cowl band Hairball.
Surrounding the cities and vacationer points of interest is what introduced individuals to this space within the first place: the nice outdoor. Common pursuits embrace biking on the roughly 120-mile Paul Bunyan State Path, paddling on the Crow Wing River, boating and fishing on space lakes (fishing guides and boat leases accessible), and zip-lining by way of the bushes with Brainerd Zip Line Tour.
No journey to the Brainerd Lakes Space is full with out a picture with the massive man himself: Paul Bunyan. There’s one outdoors the traditional A-Pine Restaurant in Pequot Lakes, however the preferred Paul sits outdoors Paul Bunyan Land in Brainerd. The 26-foot-tall speaking lumberjack has been greeting guests by identify since 1954.
Prime it off with a scoop from the Chocolate Ox in downtown Nisswa and a memento or two from a neighborhood boutique, and also you’ve acquired your self an Up North trip to recollect.