One of Minnesota’s top vacation destinations, tourists choose Brainerd for its beautiful lakes, world-class recreation, and exceptional lodging and events.
With a history that includes Indian battlegrounds and logging camps, Brainerd Lakes is an area of legends and folklore. The North Woods community has Paul Bunyon Trails, nationally-ranked golf courses and freshwater fishing. The host of lodging and resorts, recreation and restaurants in the heart of Minnesota make Brainerd the quintessential tourism destination.
Lodging and Resorts
The Whitefish Lodge and Suites in Crosslake offer a unique lodge-like hotel experience. Located on the Crosswoods Golf Course and adjacent to the new Crosslake Town Square, it’s only minutes from the area’s 450 holes of championship golf courses, pristine lakes, Crosslake Historical Village, and Paul Bunyan biking trails.
“The 54-room modern lodge with a banquet/retreat center and enhanced pool and spa area gives you the ability to play and stay right in the city of Crosslake,” says Kista Brunkhorst of Whitefish Lodge and Suites.
Whitefish Lodge offers free high-speed wireless Internet, and corporate meeting rooms for business retreats.
“The 6,600 square-feet of meeting space for corporate and social groups is perfect for any wedding or family reunion,” Brunkhorst says.
Ruttger’s Bay Lake Lodge is also the ideal place for a family or business vacation.
“Play our golf courses, visit the new Fine Line Salon & Spa, and enjoy a cold beverage on the deck at Zig’s overlooking the 18th green and Bass Lake,” says Todd Bymark, assistant general manager for Ruttger’s. “Utilize our conference facilities, and when the meetings are over it’s time for ‘leisure networking’ while golfing, relaxing at the spa, or just enjoying the view.”
Relaxation can also be found on the shores of Breezy Point Resort on Pelican Lake. Both the swimming and tanning beaches have bonfire facilities and sand volleyball, and the swimming beaches offer a playground and grassy areas to lounge.
The resort’s boat marina provides watercraft such as canoes, kayaks, paddleboats, fishing boats and motors, hydro bikes and pontoons.
And similar to other Brainerd Lakes resorts, there is an opportunity to play golf or fish at some of the areas best destinations.
“New at Breezy Point Resort is the ‘All-Inclusive Package’ that wraps golf, lodging, food and cocktails in one simple wrapper,” says Bonnie Tweed of Breezy Point. “It’s is the only resort in Minnesota offering this special deal.”
After a day of summer sun, enjoy the restaurants and music in the area.
“We have terrific nighttime entertainment May through September six nights a week,” Tweed says.
Nearby is Grand View Lodge, one of Minnesota’s premier family, golf and spa resorts.
Grand View Lodge was named one of the “Top 100 Golf Resorts in the World” by Conde Nast Traveler. Enjoy massages, body treatments and facials for ultimate relaxation at the world-class Glacier Waters Spa.
Madden’s on Gull Lake is also among the finest resorts, recently named a member of the Historic Hotels of America (HHA).
“HHA promotes historic travel to the general public and the 200,000-plus members of the National Trust for Historic Preservation by identifying quality hotels that have faithfully maintained their historic integrity, architecture and ambiance,” says Kathy Reichenbach of Madden’s.
Madden’s offers excellent recreation and dining on the Gull Lake shore. Sign up for water-ski school or take fishing and boating lessons. Tennis, volleyball, badminton and basketball courts, bowling lawns, shuffleboards and horseshoes are other recreation options.
And the resort is continuing to expand its amenities, with a new spa and coffee bar.
“Our new ‘Madden Bros. Market’ will be opening the end of May,” Reichenbach says. “It will feature a coffee bar, gourmet food snacks, and gifts.”
Located in the heart of Minnesota, Brainerd Lakes is the summer tourist destination for summer recreation. The hundreds of miles of woodland trails make for excellent hiking and biking, the freshwater for fishing, and the greens for golfing.
Brainerd’s 465 freshwater lakes offer a world-class fishing experience. Take out the boat, drop a line and hope the walleye, northern pike, muskie, bass or panfish bite.
Some of the best places to fish include the area’s resorts: Breezy Point, Ruttger’s, Grand View Lodge, Madden’s or Whitefish Lodge & Suites.
“Ruttger’s is a family resort where children can experience the thrill of catching their first fish,” Bymark says. “It’s a place where families can spend time on the beach and couples can share an evening of romance strolling along our moonlit lake shore.”
At Breezy Point you can rent a boat and take a fishing lesson from one of the best professional fishing guides in the world.
“Big Pelican Lake is our ‘nature’s waterpark’ all year round with some of the best walleye fishing in the area,” Tweed says.
Brainerd’s world-class golf courses have earned recognition in popular magazines such as Golf Digest, Golfweek and Golf. The Golden Eagle Course, located on the Whitefish Chain, has been ranked among an elite group of Minnesota courses.
“People travel from all over the Midwest to golf at Golden Eagle,” says Brunkhorst.
With more than 450 holes, the Brainerd Lakes area is known for its concentration of top-rated golf courses within close proximity.
“The Lakes, our 18-hole championship course, is a par 72 and was carved from 100 acres of rugged north woods terrain,” Bymark says of Ruttger’s. “Natural hazards abound with two natural lakes. Alec’s Nine is a par 34 designed to challenge golfers of all abilities.”
Golfing at Breezy Point includes the Traditional Course and the championship Whitebirch Course. Both courses provide a complete pro shop, and Class A PGA pro Mark Johnson offers private and group lessons.
“May is a perfect time to come and enjoy the resort when the weather is mild and the courses are quieter,” Tweed says.
Summertime Events and Attractions
Summertime in these lake cities offer many attractions. For a special treat, take a drive along the scenic County Road 77, visit Pirate’s Cove miniature golf or buy tickets for Brainerd’s International Raceway.
And don’t forget to stop in Nisswa.
“Nisswa is a two-and-a-half hour drive from the Twin Cities,” says Susan Mezzenga, executive director for the Nisswa Chamber of Commerce. “We are in the heart of the lakes area and the Paul Bunyan Trail goes through downtown Nisswa.”
Exceptional lodging, dining, and recreation is offered in the Nisswa area. Golfing, biking, fishing, relaxing and shopping are some of the activities you can enjoy.
“The hallmark of the city of Nisswa is our unique shopping experience that you will not find anywhere else,” Mezzenga says.
“We have galleries, antiques, and gifts that are the very best.”
Special summer events include: Nisswa Turtle Races, Stamman Scandinavian Festival, Nisswa Freedom Day, Majestic Arts Festival and Nisswa Crazy Days.
More events, recreation and shopping in quaint downtown areas can be found in Deerwood, home of Ruttger’s resort.
“Find imprinted sweatshirts, hats, colorful children’s books and toys, and wine accessories at The Garage,” Bymark says. “For coffee lovers, Auntie M’s serves up an assortment of hand-dipped ice cream, hot and cold coffee drinks, lattés and fresh baked goods. The Country Store offers a beautiful selection of women’s fine apparel and home decor items.
Restaurants in the Brainerd Lakes area range in cuisine, from ethnic specialties to homemade meals.
“Ruby’s Dining Room’s famous view over beautiful Bay Lake is a serene dining experience,” Bymark says. “Renowned Executive Chef Terry Dox goes to extremes to offer meals you won’t soon forget.”
The Whitefish Chain area also has many offerings. One block from Whitefish Lodge is a large Army Core of Engineer recreational campground, which welcomes over 100,000 people annually, Brunkhorst says. “There is also an active Historical Society which welcomes over 5,000 visitors each year.”
Med Tech and Innovation
“Over 40 years ago, residents of the Cuyuna Range began to make their dreams of community-based healthcare into a reality,” says Theresa Sullivan, organizational support administrator for Cuyuna Regional Medical Center (CRMC). “They worked together to explore the possibilities and acted upon their dreams of keeping high quality healthcare in the community. Today, that dream has evolved into a high tech medical campus that offers an array of services to residents throughout the region.”
In 2003, CRMC formed the Minnesota Institute for Minimally Invasive Surgery (MIMIS). Eleven campus-based surgeons and more than 65 surgical professionals perform a variety of both inpatient and outpatient procedures. CRMC has continued to equip its ever-growing surgery center with the latest in technology allowing surgeons to perform sophisticated minimally invasive surgery.
“Ground-breaking began in October 2005 for a 70,000 square-foot addition and renovation,” Sullivan says. “Technology and comfort are being melded together to provide patients with the best possible care.”