Every summer, my extended family goes on a three-day vacation somewhere within the state (or within a few hours drive outside of Minnesota’s borders). Every spring we start brainstorming about our next adventure. We’ve gone to the North Shore three times, the Alexandria area once, Okoboji, Iowa once, and Grand Rapids, Minn. once. My dad and brothers want a fishing destination, my niece and sister-in-law want boutique shopping options, and my husband and I want family-friendly activities. We’ve lucked out and been fortunate to have all of those on past vacations.
This year, we’ve been talking about staying at a resort or lodge in the Brainerd Lakes area. I’ve only been to the area two other times—once to stay at Breezy Point Resort with friends, and again a handful of years later for my friend’s bachelorette party at her parents’ cabin. I’m actually kind of amazed that it’s taken this long for this part of Minnesota to show up on our vacation radar.
Once we started researching the area, I kept stumbling across reviews for Black Pine Beach Resort in Pequot Lakes.
“Nothing can beat watching the sunset from the dock’s end,” wrote one reviewer. “The lake view is unbelievable.”
“The cabins are modern yet rustic (now with air conditioning!), and the grounds immaculate and beautiful,” wrote another.
I read that the owners are fantastic (always important), the resort has a fishing guide (check), a park/play area (check), beach toys, and—for me, the kicker—a secret garden for the kids, complete with a tiny mailbox where kids can leave letters for an elf. Not only can they leave letters, but the elf replies to the letters with a rhymed answer, photo, or comment. I honestly think that would blow my five-year-old’s mind. “Remember when I wrote a letter to that one elf and he answered my letter!?”
Within the area there is awesome boutique shopping, a variety of restaurants, biking/hiking opportunities, Paul Bunyan Land in Brainerd, and the Fire Tower in Breezy Point where you can climb to the top and see for miles and miles.
I’m totally sold. Now to get the rest of my family on board, and book that vacation!