Explore The Northland Arboretum
Set on 583 acres of nature reserve in Brainerd, the Northland Arboretum is a non-profit arboretum teeming with beautiful flowers and wildlife. The arboretum was founded in 1972 after the closing of the Brainerd Landfill. Today it is a prime outdoor area for locals and visitors that includes a native tree trail, youth gardens, wildflowers, and a pond.
The arboretum focuses on keeping the community involved in preserving the natural environment. Year-round it features displays of nature along its trails, which are also open in the winter for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. During the summer, weekly programs include seminars on plants, animals, and recycling.
Kids love the arboretum for their scavenger hunts, which offer the opportunity to win prizes. It’s a great spot for the whole family to get outside together.
Address: 14250 Conservation Dr, Baxter, Minnesota
Catch The Ski Loons Water Ski Show
Ski Loons Water Ski Show started in 2014.
The Lum Park shoreline in Brainerd is where you may find the skilled and defiant Brainerd Ski Loons.
The Ski Loons put on a spectacular waterski display with pyramids, kids’ ski lines, ballet lines, doubles, and trios.
The ski jump serves as a pivotal point for spectacular aerial feats.
Do yourself a favor and bring some seats, and don’t forget to pick yourself some refreshments.
Make A Splash At Three Bear Waterpark
A post shared by kayla.perlinger on Dec 16, 2018 at 10:54am PST
This charming waterpark of Brainerd offers full-time entertainment for kids as well as adults. It has a number of water rides, like a grand splash pool, tube slide, body slide, and giant hot tubs. For the kids, there are separate slides like tot slide for the toddlers or plunge slide for slightly older kids. For a leisurely ride, float on the lazy river. After a heavy day of fun, grab some food and drink at the parks The Grill & Bar. For a different genre of experience, you can try the multi-level laser tag and arcade games at the park.
Three Bear Waterpark
A post shared by Erin Bormett on Sep 25, 2018 at 5:39pm PDT
The Brainerd Water Tower is an icon of this town. This historic water tower was the first all-concrete water tank that was used by a United States municipality. The tower, for its ornate turret and parapet, looks like a castle. The water tower is almost a century old, built around 1919 to 1922. It was used until 1959 to 1960, after which it served as one of the iconic attractions of the town. Since the last few years, the tower has been in need of serious repair. The tower was originally constructed by eminent architect L.P. Wolff.
Brainerd Water Tower
A post shared by sarah walker on Aug 22, 2018 at 7:34pm PDT
Opening hours: 10am – 10pm
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When Is The Best Time To Visit Brainerd Mn
The Brainerd Lakes Area is truly a year-round destination. You cannot go wrong with visiting Brainerd at any time of the year. But if you are looking for the best time to visit with the most ideal weather, it would have to be between May 21 to September 30 according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area 20 Miles
State Park Permit not needed, except for camping. Trout stamp is required for fishing. Located near Crosby and part of the MN state park system. The crystal clear mine pit lakes provide unbelievable fishing, canoeing, kayaking, and scuba diving opportunities on 27 lakes some up to 500 feet deep with water clarity of up to 90 feet draw a wide range of recreation enthusiasts. 25 miles of natural shoreline can be explored by boat or canoe and anglers can cast a line for trout, northern, bass, crappie or sunfish. Also: A new 24 mile mountain biking course, birding opportunities, paved biking, in-line skating, running, walking and horseback riding. If you like a little drama with your leisure, youll find it at the Cuyuna Range Mine Pit Lakes. Family Friendly Interpretive Exhibit At Croft Mine Historical Park Sat and Sun, between Memorial Day weekend and Labor Day. Additional fee for tours, 218-546-5926.
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Explore Mn Past At The Fishing Museum
Speaking of fishing, Little Falls is home to Minnesota Fishing Museum. It holds a collection of over 10,000 different fishing-related artifacts. Some of these are possessions of Minnesotans that were part of the history of freshwater fishing in the State. This is a must-see stop for any angler in the area.
Brainerd Ski Loons Water Ski Show Team
Location: 501 Laurel Street, Brainerd, MN 56401More Info
Have you ever seen a water ski show in person? Throughout the season, the Ski Loons get together and put on Free Shows throughout the community.
With pyramids, jumps, and more, your kids will love it. They regularly appear at Lum Park and at Ruttgers Resort. Love water skiing? You should find out how you can join the team. They are always looking for new members. If you are looking for some fun things to do in Brainerd Minnesota, check them out!
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Best Places To Stay In Brainerd
There is no shortage of lodging in the Brainerd Lakes Area. There are hotels, vacation rentals, cabin rentals, resort living, and camping. There is definitely something for everyone and the budget.
If you want to enjoy lake living with all the amenities that comes with, check out some of these popular resorts. The resort options in the Brainerd Lakes Area are as endless as the sunsets here. It does range from size and choices of amenities. We have stayed in many of these places throughout the years and loved them all.
Mille Lacs Kathio State Park 45 Miles
Located near Onamia. The parkâs 9000 years of human history and archaeological significance at Petaga Point Archaeological Site has made it a National Historic Landmark. Climb the 100 foot observation/fire tower and look across the majesty of Mille Lacs Lake. Take part in Mille Lacs Kathio State Parks extensive interpretive/nature programs or get out by yourself and hike on the parks varied trail system. Kathio has a wonderful swimming beach and playgrounds, plus canoes or rowboats you can rent for a trip on the historic Rum River and Ogechie and Shakopee lakes. The river, lakes, and park trails offer visitors excellent opportunities to watch waterfowl, bald eagles, osprey, beaver, loons, deer, coyotes, and many others. Interpretive Center open Sat, 10 am to 4 pm, call 320-532-3523 Fri â Sun, leave message.
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Crow Wing Viking Festival
The Crow Wing Viking Festival celebrates the Viking age and its history with authentic Viking costumes, crafts, weapons, and games. Think Renaissance Festival but with Vikings!
The festival is family-friendly and features reenactments that are historically accurate but still appropriate for all. Parking is free and gates open at 9:30 am.
Craguns Laser Tag And Three Bear Waterpark At The Brainerd Holiday Inn
This next item on our list of things to do in Brainerd offers two great ways to blow off some steam. Adults and children can really let loose at Craguns Laser Tag Park and Arcade and the Three Bear Waterpark located at the Brainerd Holiday Inn Express & Suites. You can stay at the hotel for a family vacation or simply visit for a few hours to enjoy one or both of these attractions. The multi-level laser tag arena is state of the art and the waterpark features tube slides and body slides. Theres also an arcade where you can play challenging games.
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Pirates Cove Mini Golf
Mini golf and family vacations were made for each other, which is why this next item appears on our list of thing to do in Brainerd. Everyone in your family can have fun playing mini-golf and touring a legendary world where 18th century buccaneers dwell. Enjoy playing a course with some surprisingly challenging holes among cascading waterfalls, footbridges, a full-scale pirate ship and other pirate-themed features.
Hike The Paul Bunyan State Trail
Paul Bunyan and his blue ox, Babe, are important parts of American folklore, but this is particularly true in the state of Minnesota, from which Paul Bunyan is said to hail.
What better way to pay homage to this hero of American legend than by taking a walk down the Paul Bunyan State Trail, which starts at Crow Wing State Park in Brainerd and runs all the way to Lake Bemidji State Park. It is the longest Minnesota state trail, as well as the longest continuously paved rail-trail in the country.
Granted, much of the year the trail is covered in snow, but in summer, it comes alive with runners, cyclists, hikers, rollerbladers, and more. But don’t let the winter dissuade you this is prime snowmobiling season, and the trail is buzzing with winter activity.
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Nearby Parks & Tennis
Public Tennis Court 2.4 miles. Tennis Court, Playground, Hand Water Pump, Take R onto Co Rd 3, .8 miles, then take a L onto Co Rd 19, go 1.6 miles, on left.Merrifield Lions Park 4 miles. Baseball diamond, sheltered picnic area, playground, and volleyball court Take a R onto Co Rd 3, 2.8 miles, take L to stay on Co Rd 3, go 1.2 miles, on L.Mission Park 5.6 miles. Very Nice Tennis Courts, Playgrounds, Restrooms, Walking Paths. Go N on Co Rd 3, 4.6 miles, take R onto Mission park Dr, go 1 mile.Crosslake Recreational Park 12 miles. Picnic shelter, playground, indoor gym and tennis courts. Daggett-Pine RD off Co Rd 66, Crosslake. 218-692-4271.
Things To Do In Brainerd & Baxter Mn
There is an endless variety of things to do in Brainerd. Outdoor adventures include fishing and boating, world-class golfing, and some of the countrys best biking trails. Fun facts: there are more than 450 lakes in Crow Wing County and more than 450 holes of golf within 30 miles of Brainerd.
Brainerd is an excellent family vacation destination. In addition to the outdoor adventures, there are amusement parks, game shops, go-kart tracks, mini golf courses, public beaches, a wildlife park, a zipline tour, and three waterparks.
Looking for arts and culture options? In the Brainerd-area there is a county museum, military museum, pioneer village and railroad museum. There are a variety of public art pieces and murals in downtown Brainerd and a thriving regional art, music, and theater scene.
As the economic center of the region, Baxter and Brainerd boast a variety of shopping options. From cleverly tucked away boutiques and specialty shops, to national retail chains, there are treasures to be found.
Brainerd also has a growing makers scene. From traveling art classes, to DIY wood-working and candle-making, there are several fun ways to experience Brainerd in a totally different way.
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Merrifield 4 Miles Or So
Andys Bar and Grill Eat in, take out full bar and casual dining. 218-828-9025Uptown Griddle Open Tues Sat 6 am â 3 pm & Sun 7 am 4 pm, 218-454-3463Speedway â Fishing Licenses, Some Groceries and Bait 5 amâ10 pm every day! 218-829-8672Harpoâs Saloon An American style saloon, Open everyday 11 am 1 am, 218-829-0816Paul Bunyan Trail â Inquire at the office how to bike right from the resort! The 110 miles of level, paved trail takes cyclists through one of Minnesotaâs most popular vacation areas Crow Wing State Park south of Brainerd, then heading north through Merrifield, Nisswa, Pequot Lakes, Pine River, Backus, Hackensack and the Chippewa National Forest to Bemidji State Park.The Woods Bar/Restaurant, Event Center, Lodging, Weddings. Offering a free appetizer to our resort guests! 6 miles south of Shing Wako on County Road 3. 218-829-7507
Enjoy Your Time In Brainerd Minnesota
After reading this list, youll likely agree there are plenty of things to do in Brainerd and theres something to appeal to any level of activity you prefer. We hope youll plan a visit to Brainerd, take part in some of the things included in our list, and tell us about it afterwards. If you know of a great activity to recommend in Brainerd that we missed, feel free to share it in the comments section below!
To read about things to do in other Minnesota cities, click here for more blog articles.
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Pequot Lakes 15 Miles
Kendall Candles â Factory & Store â Free Tours Daily! , 218-568-5678, 3506 Kendall CirclePaul Bunyan Lore Free! While in our community we invite you to explore the folk-lore of Paul Bunyan as he left behind his favorite fishing bobber, chair and foot prints for you to see. Start your morning with free Yoga near the new band shelter on the north block of the Trailside Park. Afterwards, wander down the Paul Bunyan Trail for the fresh produce, business booths, flea market, new/used items, and food. Kids will enjoy the Bobber Hunt and Bobber Bowling. Thurs during July and Aug.Fire Tower Free! Climb the Nationally Registered Historic DNR fire tower east of Pequot Lakes, looming above the Jack Pines. It provides a 15-mile scenic view of the area. The foundation of the foresters home still exists at the base of the tower.Fishy Gifts.com â Fishing Gear, Tackle, Cabin DÃ©cor & More, Open Wed â Sat, 2 miles N of Nisswa on CR 107 to #27997, 218-568-2347Sunset Cinema 33040 Aspen Wood Drive, 218-568-4341
Winter Activities In Brainerd: Things To Do In 2022
The Brainerd Lakes Area, located right in the heart of central Minnesota, is a top destination for outdoor enthusiastsyes, even in the winter months! There are so many winter activities in Brainerd to take advantage of and a weekend in the area will be all things adventurous and fun.
The lakes might be frozen overbut that just means Brainerd becomes a winter playground!
How Far is Brainerd from Minneapolis-St. Paul?
Brainerd is 126 miles and just over two hours from the Twin Cities. Make your way on I-94/US-10 and youll be there in no time! People flock to this area for a winter getaway thats far enough away while still close enough to home.
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Get Your Heart Racing At Three Bear Waterpark & Craguns Laser Tag
Fighting with your buddies and trying to protect your base will get your heart pumping in this arena at Three Bear Waterpark & Craguns Laser Tag.
In this state-of-the-art arena with new gaming rooms, take on an energetic, fun challenge for the whole group complemented by thrilling music and lighting.
The experience will surely be a blast for kids and adults alike!
You may reserve a slot for a certain day and time at the Front Desk, and they will walk you through the whole process.
Laser Tag costs ten dollars per participant and lasts for half an hour.
Pirate’s Cove Mini Golf
Pirate’s Cove Mini Golf offers a family-friendly miniature golf experience for all ages set in the 18th-century world of pirates, featuring dreaded pirate dungeons, cascading waterfalls, sunken ships, skull-shaped caves, carousing buccaneers, and more. There are two well-designed mini golf courses consisting of 18 holes and built specifically for providing enjoyment to both children and adults alike. The fun can also continue next door at the Billy Bones Raceway, one of the best go-kart complexes in the area with several different go-kart tracks. Guests can race past buried treasure and pirates as they experience the rush of racing.
17992 MN-371, Brainerd, MN 56401, 218-828-9002
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Take A Cruise Gull Lake
Gull Lake is one of the best things to do in Brainerd on its own, but you can certainly raise the bar on this activity by getting out aboard a Gull Lake cruise. Climb aboard a luxury yacht and spend the day or evening dining and sightseeing out on the lake.
Board the luxurious North Star for a variety of cruise options. Their public cruises include lunch or dinner cruises, sightseeing cruises, dessert cruises, brunch, and live music.
Alternatively, you can even charter the ship for private events and have the entire yacht to yourself. North Star measures 65 feet long and 22 feet wide with a capacity of 116 passengers. The main deck can seat 62 for a seated dinner. An upper deck patio seats 36.
The highlight of the yacht is its observation deck, from which you have the best views of the surrounding nature, and possibly one of the best seats in the house for an epic summer sunset.
Address: 11000 Craguns Dr, Brainerd, Minnesota
Indoor Water Parks In Brainerd
Need a little taste of summer? I dont blame you! And youre in luck because Brainerd holds some of Minnesotas best indoor water parks! Slides, lazy rivers, hot tubs, splash pools, and of course, arcades and snack bars, keep both the kids and parents happy.
- Paul Bunyan Water Park: Located in Arrowhead Brainerd Lodge.
- Three Bear Water Park: Located in the Holiday Inn Express & Suites in Baxter, Minnesota.
- Rapid River Lodge: Located in the Comfort Suites in Baxter, Minnesota.
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The Classic Grill At Madden’s
The Classic Grill at Madden’s is ranked as one of the Most Beautiful Restaurants in All of Minnesota by Only Your State and is helmed by Chef Darrell Lorenz. The restaurant offers a menu inspired by local ingredients, friendly service, and a full lounge. Situated in the heart of Minnesotas lake country, this highly rated restaurant is one of the citys most popular among locals and visitors alike.
11672 Co Hwy 18 SW, Brainerd, MN 56401, 218-855-5921