Weekend Getaway: Detroit Lakes

It may best be known as the home of WE Fest and the 10,000 Lakes Festival now on hiatus, but the Detroit Lakes area—about 200 miles northwest of the Twin Cities (easy to find off Highway 10 East)—also is the perfect destination for a weekend getaway, fun any time of the year, but especially fun in the winter. (Yes, I’m already in winter vacation mode, and there’s not even snow on the ground … yet.) My theory is that if you can’t escape winter, you might as well embrace it, right? 

First off, there’s a downtown area that is absolutely brimming with charming boutiques, restaurants, and small town hospitality. I like to shop. I like to support local businesses. I like to buy unique gifts at local boutiques. I like to eat. I like to drink. Detroit Lakes has it all. 

Secondly, I am a bit of a history buff, and I love that many of the buildings in the area are on the National Register of Historic Places, like the Amtrak Depot, Carnegie Library, Opera House Block, Stovewood Cottages, and Homer House private residence. If only buildings could talk, imagine the stories they’d share! 

Third, there are more than 400 lakes within a 25-mile radius, perfect for ice fishing. (I mention this for those of you who love that particular pastime. Me? I will gladly join you on the ice, as long as I have a thermos of hot chocolate and the proper winter gear, but I most likely will not be jiggling any poles or pulling any tip-ups out of the water. I will whole-heartedly mitten-clap, though, if you pull a lunker out of the hole.)

And last, you can go geocaching in one of three state parks, hike on the nation’s longest scenic hiking trail (extended all the way from New York!), and snowmobile on more than 250 miles of groomed trails. You will definitely not be bored during a Detroit Lakes getaway. 

There are a number of different lodging accommodations in the area, including motels, inns, and lodges, some offering luxurious accommodations, on-site spas, live music, and fun themed weekends, like The Lodge on Lake Detroit’s murder mystery weekend, wine tasting, and scotch tasting dinner. Sign me up!

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