MN Travel Guide: Where to Stay

spider lake lodge, photo by max haynes, courtesy of spider lake lodge


Bluefin Bay      
Pamper yourself at Bluefin Bay Resort, situated on the North Shore of Lake Superior. Surrounded by the Superior National Forest and the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, Bluefin Bay and its vicinity provide some of the most diverse and unique recreational opportunities anywhere, from mountain biking and hiking to golf and tennis. Accommodations range from suites to townhomes, and on-site amenities are abundant to provide a perfectly relaxing vacation. • 7192 W. Hwy. 61, Tofte, 218-663-7296,

Burntside Lodge    
Situated on the crystal-clear Burntside Lake, the century-old Burntside Lodge is the closest you can get to the Boundary Waters and still have electricity and indoor plumbing. Although there’s no TV, and wi-fi only in the main lodge, there’s plenty of fun to be had paddling, hiking, and biking. And there’s always downtown Ely’s shops, spas, and restaurants. • 2755 Burntside Lodge Rd., Ely, 218-365-3894,  

Caribou Highlands Lodge    
It may be one of the state’s greatest ski resorts, but the mountain views at Caribou Highlands are no less stunning in the summertime. This family-friendly spot has something for everyone, from kids’ activities to golf and spa treatments, all near the shores of Lake Superior. Accommodations range from lodge rooms to log cabins, all finished in a luxurious mountain style. • 371 Ski Hill Rd., Lutsen, 800-642-6036,

Cragun’s Resort    
Dad likes golf, Mom’s craving a hot-stone massage, and little Susie has been clamoring for a pony since she could talk. What to do? Take the family to Cragun’s, Brainerd’s year-round resort, perched on the edge of Gull Lake. The place offers all the staples of up-north luxury: guided fishing tours, a recently renovated spa, a 45-hole chain of golf courses, and a 22,000-square-foot indoor sports facility. They even arrange horse-drawn trolley rides. • 11000 Craguns Dr., Brainerd, 800-272-4867,

East Bay Suites     
East Bay Suites was built in 1909 and has been a North Shore landmark ever since. In 2005, it was purchased by two women who re-envisioned the property as 30 suites, individually owned but also rentable. The new dog-friendly “condotel” has been completely remodeled and every unit is within 50 feet of the lake. Want the amenities of a hotel, too? Ask the concierge for information about morning yoga on the beach, in-suite massages, and guided hikes. • 21 Wisconsin St., Grand Marais, 800-414-2807,

Larsmont Cottages     
The cottages at this lodge-style resort aren’t as quaint as the term suggests. They feel more like suburban condos, a little impersonal but definitely upscale: full kitchens with granite countertops, two-way gas fireplaces, and sweeping views of Superior, which is right out the back door. Each lakeside unit includes a telescope and one would be remiss not to use it, especially to see a full moon over the lake. The resort includes an indoor pool, an outdoor hot tub, a sauna, and massage offerings. The resort’s Ledge Rock Grille is one of the nicest restaurants in the area, with bourbon-planked sockeye salmon and a robust wine list. • 596 Larsmont Way, Two Harbors, 866-687-5634,

Lighthouse Bed & Breakfast    
If you’ve got a thing for lighthouses (you’re not alone: the lighthouse thing is a thing), you’ll want to stay at Two Harbors’ Lighthouse B&B. In this working watchtower built in 1892, you’ll share the bathroom facilities with the other guests, but you’ll also sleep beneath the mariner’s guiding light with Lake Superior at your side. • 1 Lighthouse Point, Two Harbors, 888-832-5606,

Lutsen Resort    
Though the current owners have significantly expanded Lutsen’s holdings to include additional condos, cabins, and townhomes, they’ve maintained the property’s natural aesthetic and the historic main lodge. The latter is no small feat due to the structure’s age, but the owners are committed to its preservation as part of Minnesota’s rich past. The main lobby lures guests with a roaring fire and oversize burlap checkerboards, and the log cabins are especially cozy—each with a full kitchen and a wood-fire stove. • 5700 W. Hwy. 61, Lutsen, 218-206-8157,

Naniboujou Lodge    
In the historic Naniboujou Lodge’s dining room, the domed, technicolor ceiling painted in bold Cree Indian designs is positively awe-inspiring (be sure to order the famous Danish Cream dessert). You can practically spit to Canada from Naniboujou’s deck—or if you’re nature-inclined, head to the shore’s northernmost state park, Judge C. R. Magney, with its 3,000 acres of trails and the incredible Devil’s Kettle Waterfall, in which half of the Brule River disappears into an enormous pothole. Back at the lodge, keep a deck of cards on hand and avoid any sensitive family discussions, as you won’t find phones, television, or internet in any of the rooms. • 20 Naniboujou Trail, Grand Marais;

Terrace Point     
Whether you’re hiking over the cliffs of Terrace Point Bay or canoeing though the Boundary Waters, the Terrace Point Bay luxury condos are conveniently located just outside Grand Marais. Spend a day exploring the great outdoors, or head into Grand Marais for a day of shopping and dining at one-of-a-kind spots in the little harbor town. And if you’re just looking to take in the view of the world’s largest freshwater lake with a cup of coffee in hand, well, you’re in luck—each condo has a deck or patio. • 11 Terrace Point Road, Grand Marais, 218-387-2500,

Whistle Stop Bed & Breakfast     
The Whistle Stop offers accommodations in its Victorian-era house filled with oak woodwork and antique furniture as well as four retro train cars, restored from their early-20th-century glory days. After spending a day exploring nearby Itasca State Park, soak in a whirlpool or spend time in the sauna in your own private train car or lay back in a four-poster bed in the house. • 107 E. Nowell St., New York Mills, 800-328-6315,


Deutsche Strasse Bed and Breakfast     
New Ulm is Minnesota’s premier destination for celebrating all that is German, so when Oktoberfest rolls around, Deutsche Strasse Bed and Breakfast is the place to rest your polka-weary body. The rooms in this late-19th-century house are in keeping with its Germanic theme (the Black Forest Suite features décor from the actual Black Forest), making it the perfect home base between your trips to Schell’s Brewery and downtown for a little beerhall singing. • 404 S. German St., New Ulm,

Golden Lantern Inn     
A staple of the Minnesota bed-and-breakfast scene, the Golden Lantern is the rare mansion that doesn’t feel like a claustrophobic collection of antiques—it feels like your own house, if you happened to be president of the Red Wing Shoe Company in the 1930s. Instead of Victorian gewgaws, this boot-money abode is outfitted with Mission furniture, simple yet well-crafted, kind of like, well, you get the idea. An unusual abundance of common rooms, including an oak-paneled library, a stone porch, and three quiet patios, means you don’t have to creep up to your room upon arrival and stay there. At night, you could slip into a whirlpool, make s’mores in the garden fireplace, or flick on the flat-screen TV in your room, just as you would at home. • 721 East Ave., Red Wing, 888-288-3315,

The Kahler Grand Hotel     
Rochester’s most historic hotel opened in 1921, and its blazing red sign still invokes a film -noir backdrop after dark. Today, there’s still something alluring about the domed rooftop pool that offers expansive city views, as well as its affordable rates. • 20 SW Second Ave., Rochester, 800-533-1655,

The Scandinavian Inn     
Biking is Lanesboro’s big draw: The bluff-enclosed Root River State Trail links this little town to four others, and the views are stunning. After a long day of pedaling, a quaint spot to rest is the Victorian-style Scandinavian Inn. With five eclectically-decorated rooms, the environmentally-sensitive inn features a rooftop gazebo with a panoramic view. • 701 Kenilworth Ave. S., 507-467-4500,


Dutch Lake Farm Guest House     
If you’re looking to get away from it all for awhile, the mod Dutch Lake Farm Guest House just west of the Twin Cities offers a contemporary spin on country life. Floor-to-ceiling windows in the house offer views of Howard Lake’s fields, and a private dock, canoe, fishing equipment, and fire pit are available for use on this 80-acre lot that’s all yours. If you’re craving a little human interaction, nearby wineries and downtown Buffalo offer plenty of charm. • 6624 Hoyt Ave. SW, Howard Lake, 320-543-2944,

Just for Me Spa     
While the accommodations at Just for Me Spa, located within walking distance of downtown Stillwater, may not be plentiful, they’re certainly convenient. The three lodging options (cottage, log cabin, and two-story house) sleep between four and eight, making them ideal for anything from a romantic getaway to a girls’ weekend away. Plus, there’s something to be said for never being more than a few steps away from a massage or pedicure. • 110 S. Greeley St., Stillwater, 651-439-4662,

Nature’s Nest Organic Farm and B&B     
Open only May through October, Nature’s Nest is a quaint bed and breakfast with elements of a country farm. The property features a barn and greenhouse, and gardens bursting with colorful blooms are spread throughout the grounds, which hold two suites and a log cabin. Should you decide to leave the picturesque porch swing on the B&B’s front lawn, nearby orchards have abundant fruit-picking opportunities. • 5412 Brighton Ave. SE, Montrose, 763-972-6891,


The American Club     
It doesn’t get more blissful than a stay at the Carriage House at the American Club, a five-star destination resort in picturesque and perfectly-manicured Kohler.  Suites are housed in the same building as the spa, fitness center, and glass-enclosed rooftop deck (complete with whirlpool). And as an added bonus, no one looks twice if you plod out of your room in a soft robe and pair of slippers, whether it be for a nightcap or a hydrotherapy treatment. • 419 Highland Dr., Kohler, WI, 920-457-8000,

Cable Nature Lodge     
Cable Nature Lodge, named after the nearby town of Cable, Wisconsin, combines the best of natural beauty—it’s located on 22 acres in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest (pronounce it sho-WAH-ma-gun to sound like a local)—and creature comforts. Opened in 2005, the cedar-and-knotty-pine-paneled lodge houses seven rooms as well as the Rookery Pub, which offers more upscale dining than its name suggests, with a seasonally influenced menu that incorporates fresh fish, steaks, and local produce. • 20100 County Hwy. M, Cable, WI, 715-794-2060,

Garmisch USA Resort     
In 1927, local artisans built Garmisch USA Resort on the shores of Lake Namakagon with Bavaria in mind. Through its towering timber-beam ceilings, massive stone fireplaces, and warm wood paneling, the lodge retains an Old World charm. Each cabin comes with its own personality—check out Blarney Castle, built like an actual castle. (Were Hansel and Gretel to vacation in Wisconsin, this is the place they’d book.) The resort’s Bierstube Lounge features an assortment of hearty German fare, including wurst, sauerkraut, and schnitzel.• 23040 Garmisch Rd., Cable, WI, 715-794-2204,

Hotel Donaldson     
The Hotel Donaldson, or “HoDo,” brings the boutique digs you’d expect of London or New York to downtown Fargo. The hotel features everything you’d expect to find in a major metro, from turndown service to modern, art-inspired rooms to a fitness center, plus a AAA four-diamond restaurant. But it’s touches such as the truffles at turndown and exposed brick walls that set the HoDo apart and keep its Midwestern charm about it. • 101 N. Broadway, Fargo, ND, 701-478-1000,

Journey Inn     
Among the peaceful rolling hills of western Wisconsin, the remote Journey Inn embraces the quiet. The eco-friendly inn is set on 66 acres of prairie and woodland, with country roads and trails for walking and biking. The inn also offers restorative programs including life coaching, meditation, couple’s retreats, or spa treatments. • W3671 200th Ave., Maiden Rock, WI, 715-448-2424,

Spider Lake Lodge     
Time seems to stand still at Spider Lake Lodge. Built in 1923 of sturdy tamarack and cedar logs from the surrounding forest, it started out an outdoorsman’s rustic retreat. Today, under the curatorial gaze of two interior designers, it’s a stylish couples escape. Located at a dead end on the shores of Spider Lake, this adults-only, technology-free haven is the definition of serenity. • 10472 W. Murphy Blvd., Hayward, WI, 715-462-3793,