The Willmar Lakes Area is “where the lakes begin” in West Central Minnesota. Located just 90 minutes west of the Twin Cities in beautiful lake country, the Willmar Lakes Area is the perfect place to get outdoors and make memories with your family this summer. The options are endless, from outdoor fresh adventures to exciting attractions, and of course delicious local food!
The Willmar Lakes Area has some of the best trails in the state. Local favorites include the Glacial Lakes State Park, Eagle Lake Trail, Robbins Island Trail, and the scenic road route around Green Lake. Load up your bike to make the most of the fresh air and sunshine, surrounded by lakes, native trees, and grassy vistas. If you don’t have your own, take advantage of the BikeWillmar bike share to get out on the trails quickly and easily. You can also rent fat tire bikes at Prairie Woods Environmental Learning Center and enjoy their 4.5 miles of mountain bike trails, or rent a kayak and get out on the area water trails. With 100-plus lakes in addition to the Middle Fork of the Crow River, the Willmar Lakes Area provides you with a wide variety of paddling opportunities.
A must see attraction while visiting the Willmar Lakes Area is the award-winning Little Crow Ski Team. This aquatic show takes place most Friday nights at Neer Park in the vibrant community of New London. Spicer’s Big Kahuna Fun Park offers up go-karts, bumper boats, mini golf, and an arcade to burn off energy for the younger set. The Robbins Island Destination Playground in Willmar is one of the largest fully accessible playgrounds in the country, all built by community volunteers. And for a memorable summer night of baseball under the lights, be sure to catch a Willmar Stingers game.
Festivals and community events fill the days of summer in the Willmar Lakes Area. Willmar Fests is celebrating its 75th anniversary with events taking place June 23–27. There is a block party, parade, games, and other fun activities taking place throughout the week. Spicer is the place to be July 1–5 as they celebrate the Fourth of July with kids events, a street dance, parade, and fireworks. New London Water Days will take place July 12–18 and Rockin’ Robbins runs four Tuesdays in July and August in Willmar, with free concerts, food vendors, a beer and wine tent, artisan market, and events tailored just for kids.
Willmar’s Foxhole Brewhouse, New London’s Goat Ridge Brewing Company, and Spicer’s Glacial Ridge Winery are great options for grabbing an adult beverage and cooling down from the summer heat. For dining, visit one of the area’s local eateries or grab some international cuisine reflecting Willmar’s diverse and dynamic population. You won’t be able to see everything in one day, but no worries—there are many great hotels, campgrounds, and resorts where you can stay. Visit Willmar Lakes Area’s website for more information and to plan your next getaway to the area.