With nearly two-dozen distinctive communities all within a 30-mile radius, it can be hard to pinpoint which part of the Brainerd Lakes region to visit. While all of the areas are certainly close enough to hit all in one trip, I would suggest planning a couple different weekends to fully take advantage of what each area has to offer. This weekend’s destination? Pequot Lakes.
Photo Courtesy of Paul Bunyan Trail
Located just north of Brainerd, Pequot Lakes is known for its recreational offerings, unique shops, Paul Bunyan-themed attractions (when driving in, you’ll notice he left his fishing bobber resting on top of the water tower), and the many festivals that attract more visitors than year-round residents.
One of the area’s most popular festivals, the Taste of Pequot, takes place for the 18th year this Saturday. Head to Trailside Park and browse through an array of handmade arts and crafts, sample food from local restaurants, enjoy children’s activities and various other forms of entertainment. The festival will also host the second annual Tailgate Cook-off, in which four area restaurants will compete against one another.
Photo courtesy of Explore Brainerd Lakes
While you’re in town, take a seat (if you can climb that high) in Paul Bunyan’s oversized chair before heading out and exploring his other themed attractions. The Paul Bunyan Scenic Byway runs through the area and is made up of 50 miles of paved, wide-shouldered county roads that circle around the Whitefish Chain of Lakes. The Paul Bunyan Trail also runs through the area, which in its entirety spans 112 miles from Brainerd to Bemidji. The paved trail ranges from open and flat to scenic and hilly and is a great way to see the fall colors and picturesque views of the water.
For some family fun, check out Wildwedge Family Golf Park. Here you can hit the green on the 9-hole short game course, or try your luck at the challenging mini-golf course. After you’ve finished teeing off, see if you can master the Amazing Mystery Maze, a 10,000 square foot maze made up of more than 450 wooden panels and more than 500 wooden posts. For the more serious golfer, make your way to Whitefish Golf Club. The club’s 18-hole, par-72, classic-style course is located in a heavily wooded forest, offering a scenic and secluded golfing experience.
Need more to do? While you’re at Trailside Park, make a stop at the Chamber’s Pequot Lakes Welcome Center and let them guide you to some of the area’s other great spots.
Taste of Pequot
Sept. 15, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.
Trailside Park, 31095 Government Drive, Pequot Lakes