If you wanted to go someplace that felt like home – well, you’d go home. But trust us, our No. 1 resort not only puts you at ease the moment you reach its doorstep, it also has all the creature comforts required of a Minnesota luxury experience.
The first obstacle that Nelson’s Resort tackles is feeding the family. Before you get visions of staff members putting bibs on everyone and asking you to “Open up for the plane,” just take a peek at Nelson’s menu. For breakfast, your angler can have the Fisherman’s Platter with a walleye fillet, eggs and more. At the dinner bell, the whole gang will rush to the table for honey pecan crusted halibut, Ruben rolls and ribs. There’s even a kids’ menu for tikes still attached to mini-corndogs and chicken strips. When it’s not meal time, it’s water time. Crane Lake is right outside your door and teeming with walleye, northern pike and smallmouth bass. Or, take a canoe trip complete with swimming in the sparkling lake waters on the American/Canadian border. No matter which you choose, a perfect end to your Northwoods day is a Northwoods night beneath the colorful Northern Lights.
7632 Nelson Road, Crane Lake, MN 55725
Another home-like feature you and the kids can both enjoy at Nelson’s is Millie’s Garden. Breathe in the sweet scent of cabbage, lettuce, asparagus, orange marigolds and more.
Related Onsite Offerings
Fish wrapping and freezing services, sauna, playground, hiking trail, game room, volleyball, canoes and a boat launch.
Families will flock to Pine Terrace Resort, where an untainted Minnesota utopia awaits! Whether you're in search of lake activities or hiking adventures, this resort is more than willing to showcase its breathtaking natural splendor. And, luxury cabins welcome vacationers of all ages!
Your family fun begins on the sparkling shores of Star Lake. Bring your own boat or cast off the dock for various species of fish like largemouth bass, northern pike, sunfish, and crappies. Explore the shores while canoeing, kayaking, paddleboarding, or water biking. Stay dry on the beach, hiking through the trails of this 36-acre paradise, or crawling on the playground. Exchange exploration for relaxation onsite, where 13 cabins await with modern amenities and stunning scenery. Step out onto your deck and soak in the lake views, stretch out on the sun deck, and stay connected with wireless internet access. Fry up the catch of the day on the charcoal barbecue grill and dig in with your loved ones on the picnic table. Some cabins even showcase wood-burning fireplaces for those crisp days. Families will love Pine Terrace Resort, where luxury and leisure unite!
35101 Pine Terrace Road, Crosslake, Minnesota 56442
Families can explore more than 30 acres of wandering woodlands. These lush trails feature various forms of wildlife like deer, beaver, painted turtles, snapping turtles, and ducks.
Related Onsite Offerings
Fishers will find everything they need for a successful trip here. Set off from your private boat launch in the morning and bring your catch the fish cleaning facility afterward!
Since 1947 Campfire Bay Resort has been welcoming families to the secluded and rustic surroundings of Fish Trap Lake. Come and see why generations of families have been making a vacation here an annual ritual.
Stunning forests and the calm cool waters of Fish Trap Lake welcome all families to the Campfire Bay Resort. Only a short two hour trip from the Twin Cities, this is the perfect location for your family to relax and reconnect. They have two, three and four bedroom cabins, perfect for almost any sized family. The cabins have amenities like a/c, full kitchen to easily prepare all meals, decks, comfy outdoor furniture and a community bonfire pit where you can get to know other visitors. Your family will love the clean shore line and the abundant water sports. Rent a pontoon from the resort and set out your own private family adventure. The lake is a great place to fish because of the high population of walleye, crappie and large mouth bass. Your kids will enjoy the extensive list of on site activities that include painting, tie-dye shirts, jewelry making, pop bottle rockets, nature trips, woodworking, game room and an ice cream social. Outside the resort you will find activities like golf at Pine Ridge Golf Club, horseback riding at two local ranches, local niche shopping locations and the Pine Grove Zoo. With something for everyone Campfire Bay Resort has a rustic charm that will leave unforgettable memories for you and your family.
Campfire Bay Resort 31504 Azure Rd, Cushing, MN 56443
Check out the Minnesota Military Museum that is only 15 minutes from the resort on the grounds of Camp Ripley. You'll find 9,000 square feet of indoor exhibits and an awesome outdoor display of tanks, jeeps and other various heavy equipment.
Related Onsite Offerings
There is an on site spa program that features a licensed massage therapist. Contact the resort to check availability and to schedule you massage, manicure or pedicure.
If our next resort had its own slogan, it'd probably go something like this: "Ruttger’s Bay Lodge, where the fish are always biting and the staff is always alarmingly hospitable." If that doesn't make you want to scamper to your car and drive to Ruttger's, nothing will!
Regardless of your family's size, age, or attitude, Ruttger’s is the place for you. The small town of Deerwood brings untold charm- lots of shops, and plenty to farm. The cabins are rustic and full of all the modern amenities kids expect in our technologically-driven age. Get outside and fish, hike, bike, or simply relax next to the lake. Long story short, you’ll be glad you came and hosted your event at Ruttger’s.
25039 Tame Fish Lake Rd, Deerwood, MN 56444
525 as of 2013
The Ruttger family opened the resort all the way back in 1898!
Does your family have the attention span of a goldfish? Is it an absolute chore to find something to do that everyone can agree on? Perhaps you should take a vacation somewhere where there are so many things to do they can’t possibly complain. Perhaps you should give Auger’s Pine View Resort a try.
An authentic Minnesota lake experience to say the least, Auger’s is located just minutes from the Brainerd Lakes Area and historic Little Falls, on the banks of the splendid Lake Shamineau. The Resort offers plenty of space for guests, with a dozen cabins of varying sizes available. The cabins are obviously nice, but you didn’t come for the cabins; you came for the great outdoors! A soft sand beach lines the shore, offering an opportunity to kick back and catch some rays. The water is clear, cool, and perfect for swimming on a hot day or grabbing a rod and catching some sunnies. The resorts website says “Launch your boat, unpack the golf clubs, set out your lawn chairs, fill the coolers with ice and get ready for a week of relaxation and worry-free fun!” Does that sound like something your family would be interested in?
34052 Auger Dr, Motley, MN 56466
As of 2013, Motley's population was 652
The town of Motley has no relation to the rock band Mötley Crüe, surprisingly.
Tamarack Resort is your base camp for family fun. Whether you're fishing off the dock, lounging on the beach, or roasting s'mores over a campfire, everyone is sure to be entertained. Come enjoy the rustic charm of these cozy cabins and indulge in an array of outdoor adventures!
Swap city strife for the simple life in the vast wilderness of this outdoor oasis. Burntside Lake awaits just outside your door, teeming with aquatic activities for all ages. Immerse yourself in the enchanting nature of one of the country's most beautiful lakes with more than 150 islands. With the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness nearby, this locale makes for a reviving retreat for families and friends. Enjoy plenty of family activities such as fishing, canoeing, or lounging by the lake. Wander to the quaint and welcoming town of Ely, Minnesota, for a day of shopping and dining. Spend an afternoon at the International Wolf Center or at the underground mine! In the evening, return to your fully furnished cabin with deck that overlooks the lake, and an outdoor grill. All ages are invited to soak in the simple life here!
P.O. Box 303, Ely, Minnesota 55731
Featuring 150 scenic islands, there are so many angling adventures to have on the lake. Fish near a different island every day and discover your new hot spot!
Burntside Lake keeps the water-based fun coming with two beaches and acres of prime fishing real estate. Reel in trophy fish, build sand castles, or just catch a tan!
You’re no stranger to lengthy ordeals. You’ve stood, arms crossed, over tantrums that last an eternity. You can recall road trips without reprieve from whining. So, spending your precious vacation time at Long Lake really doesn’t sound appealing. Let us put your fears to rest with our No. 7 resort.
Lakecrest Resort on Minnesota’s Long Lake will only make you endure several hours relaxing in the shade. There’s no catch when staying at Lakecrest. Pure and simple, you can enjoy the Northwoods how you see fit. Rent a pontoon for the afternoon, exercise on a hydro-bike, zip down the waterslide, fish for bass, crappie and walleye or go bird watching. Far from being a feather-brained idea, Lakecrest is the prime spot to catch a glimpse of fascinating prairie chickens, a ruffed grouse, boreal chickadee, great gray owl and more because of Lakecrest’s location in the middle of the Pine to Prairie Birding Trail. Let the others go ahead while you stay behind to rest in peace and quiet. Stretch out on your grassy lawn. Nap on the comfy couch in the air-conditioned cabin. Take a night off from dinner duty and suggest that your sweetie throws something on the grill.
Birding buffs will be thrilled with the abundant area bird-watching spots such as Tamarac National Wildlife Refuge, Hamden Slough, Dunton Locks Great Blue Heron Rookery, Felton and Bluestem Prairies, Itasca State Park and Buffalo River State Park.
Lakecrest is open for the winter! Enjoy cold-weather sports like cross country skiing, snowmobiling and ice fishing.
Related Onsite Offerings
Games and activities provide full-time amusement with horseshoes, sand volleyball, tennis, basketball, swing sets, sand box, game room, shuffleboard, paddleboats, canoes, sailboats and more.
As a parent you’ve had encounters with the unnatural, however, our No. 8 pick only surrounds you with all the natural beauty of the North Woods at "A Naturally Superior Destination"™.
In addition to being located in the midst of more than a million acres of Minnesota wilderness, the award-winning River Point Resort is also the only Ely resort and canoe outfitter on the northern, more intimate half of Birch Lake with direct water access to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area. Along with the impressive title come equally impressive cabins, luxury homes and villas. Inviting Northwoods décor such as knotty pine kitchens and living rooms and a wood-burning fireplace make up the interior of your MN family vacation. Outside, you can get your feet wet on the Aqua Jump Swim Raft or stay on land for a game of bocce ball. Possibilities are endless with kayaks, paddle boats, minnow buckets, an outside fireplace for bonfires, two sand beaches, a marina and more!
12007 River Point Road, Ely, MN 55731
When you feel the need to stretch those legs, try hiking the private “Trail of Reflections” at River Point. Take the kids along, as they’ll enjoy finding all the spots listed in the trail guide. Stop to enjoy a cool beverage at one of the amazing overlooks with sweeping views of the water below.
Related Onsite Offerings
Pontoon boats, pro fishing boats, massage therapy appointments, complete and partial canoe outfitting, fish cleaning houses and services, bait and tackle shop, unlimited firewood, gas grills and more.
The only time you can recall the word “fair” being used, it was in reference to your tan at last summer’s family function. Well, our No. 9 spot gives that pesky aunt something else “fair” to talk about. You just have to find a hammock on the beach and relax.
Fair Hills Resort is a family-owned and operated resort, meaning it remembers the key to a successful Minnesota summer vacation – the lake. We can’t give away the credit – due to Mother Nature – for Pelican Lake, but we can give Fair Hills props for its proximity to Pelican Lake and the aquatic services it offers. No matter what your experience level, Fair Hills will take the time to teach you a sport – for free! During Sports Week, golfing, tennis, swimming and water skiing lessons are taught by a professional instructor. Your older kids are definitely tired of catering to the youngest – the “weakest link,” as they sometimes tease – so spare the tears and participate in Fair Hills’ age-allocated activities! While your youngest is fishing, your 8 to 14 year old will be playing swimming games and you will be on the tennis courts. Afterwards, the whole family can enjoy the Hootenanny.
24270 County Hwy. 20, Detroit Lakes, MN 56501
We think it’s near impossible to do all of Fair Hills scheduled activities, but we challenge you to try. Take a morning walk around Pelican Lake, relax in the quiet library, enjoy a boat cruise, play a round on the Wildflower Golf Course and more.
Related Onsite Offerings
Outdoor playground, game room, children’s movies, six tennis courts, a basketball court, volleyball court, executive nine-hole golf course, meal plans and more.
Get back to nature as a family at Kavanaugh's Sylvan Lake Resort in Brainerd, Minnesota.
Kavanaugh's offers you and your family a spacious home away from home at any time of year in the Brainerd Lakes area. Watch a movie together in your cabin's living room, tell stories around the fire, or watch the sun set on your deck. No matter how big your family is, there is a lodging option to suit your need. No matter what time of year, you'll find plenty of activities perfect for family fun at Kavanaughs. When the snow falls, try cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and tube sliding. In the spring and summer, try a family fishing trip on Sylvan Lake. Or, in the fall, take a hike through the fiery colors of the woods. All this and more awaits you at Kavanaugh's.
1685 Kavanaugh Drive East Gull Lake, Minnesota 56401
Kavanaugh's is a year-round resort, so the family fun doesn't have to stop when the snow falls. Try snowmobiling or cross country skiing together!
Kavanaugh's has been family owned and operated since 1969!
There will be parts of the family reunion that you could do without, for example, Uncle Bill’s special goulash recipe. Yet, despite any unappetizing aspects, one thing is certain – it’s time for your competitive streak to shine. Here to appease your annual Olympian spirit is our No. 10 spot.
Conveniently close to Lanesboro, named one of 50 Best Outdoor Sports Towns by Sports Afield Magazine, friendly family contests or simple athletic outings are at your fingertips at Cedar Valley Resort. The 60-mile Root River State Bike Trail runs right through Cedar Valley and opens up to breathtaking views of 300-ft. bluffs and the Root River. If a Tour de Lanesboro is not the family competition you had in mind, Cedar Valley has a nine-hole Frisbee golf course, a volleyball court, basketball court and plenty of green lawn for a bocce ball tournament. When it comes to a time-out, enjoy Root River recreation like tubing, kayaking, canoeing and fishing for smallmouth bass and trout. Or, get your game on with a hunting expedition for deer, wild turkey, pheasants and grouse.
Cedar Valley Resort is also close to area attractions such as Amish tours, the Commonwealth Theater, a valley winery, Cornucopia Art Center and more.
From Minneapolis/St. Paul, take Hwy. 52 to Fountain. Take a left onto County Road 8 and travel east to Lanesboro. At Parkway, take a right and travel about five blocks to a stop sign. Make a left onto Hwy. 16 East and continue for four miles to Whalan. Turn left off of Hwy. 16 and onto Main Street. Travel over the bridge and continue straight until the road dead ends at Cedar Valley Resort.
Related Onsite Offerings
After all those family games, you’ll need to relax those strained muscles with a massage. Prana Healing Center provides therapeutic body work in the comfort of your cabin.
There is simply no better place to reconnect with family and friends than on the shores of Green Lake. Don't believe us? Let the friendly staff at Green Lake Resort show you!
Winter, spring, summer, or fall- regardless of when you visit, Green Lake has it all! The town is filled to the brim with craft breweries, miles of hiking and bike trails, boutique shopping, and local events and festivals, so rest assured there will never be a dull moment. The resort is the perfect combination of luxury and affordability, letting you feel like royalty without breaking the bank. Go enjoy the great outdoors, relax by the cozy indoor fireplace, or take a dip in the indoor pool!
100 Lake Ave. North, Spicer MN, 56288
The population was 1,167 at the 2010 census.
Spicer was platted in 1886, and named for John M. Spicer, the original owner of the town site.
International Falls, Minnesota
CALL DIRECT: +1 (855) 776 - 9761
Families will be treated to wilderness on water at Rainy Lake Houseboats! Located in the untainted Voyageurs National Park, you'll have access to an array of aquatic adventures, acres upon acres of natural land, and sun-soaked beaches. Rainy Lake proves that fun floats in International Falls!
This fun is nearly infinite, as guests can explore 220,000 acres of sky blue waters and idyllic forests. Take a plunge into aquatic activities at Voyageurs National Park, the only inland water-based park in the National Park System. Fishing fanatics can cast off on an expedition for a variety of fish species including walleyes, northern pike, smallmouth bass, black crappies, and muskies. Canoe or kayak a bevy of bays set amid stunning scenery. Whether you bring your own vessel or rent from Rainy Lake, you're sure reconnect with nature. Stay dry hiking through the tree-lined nature trails, bird watching, or observing the roaming wildlife. The family fun continues on your houseboat, which features amenities for all ages. Shoot down the waterslide, make a splash with the swim platform, and rock the boat with the stereo system. Once you've built up an appetite throw some burgers on the gas barbecue grill and lounge in the deck chairs. Accommodating anywhere from two to 12 guests, these boats can fit families of all sizes. Come stay at Rainy Lake Houseboats, where family fun floats on!
2031 County Road 102, International Falls, Minnesota 56649
Mother Nature is on full display here. Catch a glimpse of white-tailed deer, black bear, beaver, and moose. Focus your eyes on the skies and observe bald eagles, hawks, and ospreys, and pelicans soaring overhead.
Voyageurs National Park lies on the edge of the Canadian Shield, an exposed outcropping of ancient granite dating back 500 million years.
Sparkling Pelican Lake is home to more than just superb flora and fauna; it also possesses Birch Forest Lodge, a premier (and family-friendly) Northern Minnesota fishing resort. Here you’ll have it all: enchanting accommodations, exceptional resort amenities, and, of course, unparalleled personal service from the friendly staff.
Birch Forest’s more than 1000 feet of pristine lake shore hosts their 11 exceptionally clean cabin rentals. Each and every one is full of homey charms and modern comforts, so as to enhance your rustic lake experience. Outside of your lodgings, you’ll be participating in a number of fun resort activities, including swimming, volleyball, canoeing, and so much more. Experience the prototypical Minnesota cabin weekend at Birch Forest Lodge!
4442 Birch Forest Rd, Orr, MN 55771
This secluded lodge is 50 miles north of Virginia (the city).
Related Onsite Offerings
Other amenities include a boat dock with slips, and a fish-cleaning station.
From the outside, Moore Spring Resort might not look like much. But spend a weekend here and you'll realize that its fine accommodations, incredible hospitality, and undeniable fun all add up to make this man a families go-to family vacation spot.
Set against the verdant Chippewa National Forest, Moore Springs is as picturesque as any other resort in Minnesota. Yes, your lodgings are rustic, cozy, and all you could want, but you're at a cabin for the outdoors fun! Hit the water for fishing, swimming, and canoeing around crystal-clear Howard Lake. Afterwards, you could go hiking in the Chippewa National Forest or bike the Heartland or the Paul Bunyan Trail. It's your vacation- live it up!
5127 Howard Lake Rd NW, Akeley, MN 56433
The resort features 1100-feet of beautiful shoreline!
Related Onsite Offerings
The Lodge also offers camping, with sites that are either lakeside or wooded on the upper tier of the resort.
Come one, come all! Emphasis on the “all”! At Boyd Lodge, families are welcomed year-round with fantastic hospitality, great amenities, and award winning hospitality.
Located on the beautiful Whitefish Lake Chain of 14 Lakes, Boyd Lodge fishing, and lake activities galore! Grab a kayak, paddleboat, or inner tube and zoom off into the great unknown. Or grab some beach and catch some rays in the hot Minnesota sunshine. If the weather isn’t ideal, relax in your spacious loft cabin or cottage.In the winter, cross country ski or snowmobile til the metaphorical cows come home. Whatever fun outdoor activity you can think of, Boyd Lodge can probably facilitate it for you!
36653 Silver Peak Rd, Crosslake, MN 56442
2,193 as of 2013
The population density of Crosslake is 83.2/sq mi.
Park Rapids, Minnesota
CALL DIRECT: +1 (866) 574 - 0930
A self-proclaimed “Mom-and-Pop” Resort, Bear Paw is the perfect place for families looking for an authentic Minnesota cabin experience. From their gorgeous setting to the unbridled enthusiasm of their staff, Bear Paw Resort will do everything in its power to give you the cabin weekend of your life.
If your kids have the attention span of a rodent, Bear Paw can still keep them occupied all day. Activities range from tetherball and shuffleboard to horseshoes and a huge playground. When they’re not expending energy having fun, they’ll be expending it (and gaining some) by stuffing their faces at the scrumptious snack bar, which serves baked goods, pizza, ice cream sundaes & cones, and more! Of course, peace is important on a vacation as well, and you’ll find few more peaceful places than the shores of Two Inlets Lake in the evening. Roast some marshmallows and reminisce about yesteryear as you listen to the crickets and bullfrogs Who knows- the northern lights have even been known to make an appearance!
31926 Co Hwy 50, Park Rapids, MN 56470
3,903 as of 2013
Minnesota is nicknamed "The Land of 10,000 Lakes" for a good reason: there's a lot of lakes. At the top of the “Best-of” list is Elbow Lake, a glistening paradise that serves as an incredibly fun escape for families from all over the midwest. Get to Cook for an authentic family cabin weekend!
Whether you’re cannonballing into the lake or roasting marshmallows over a crackling fire, the fun doesn’t stop at the Elbow Lake Lodge. All ages will find something to love, from exploring the lake on a kayak to playing 18 on the mini-golf course. All sizes of room suites available, or (for big families) grab a rustic cabin. Even the most scatterbrained kids will be able to focus on just how much fun they’re having!
3975 Kennedy Rd, Cook, MN 55723
Visitors can access Cook by car or even small plane flying into the regional airport 5 minutes outside of the town.
In 1908 the city's name was changed from Little Fork to Cook at the request of the United States Postal Service and in honor of Wirth Cook, an owner of the original railroad that ran through the city.
Sure, you could go on a typical family trip this summer. But why would you do that when you could go somewhere that not only is barrels of fun, but also will bring your family closer together? We speak, of course, of Anderson’s Starlight Bay Resort.
Just south of the quaint town of Nevis, sitting adjacent to beautiful Crow Wing Lake, sits Anderson’s Starlight Bay Resort. There you and your family will find unbridled hospitality, luxury accommodations, and fun up the wazoo. From the cozy interior of your cabin, set out and explore your gorgeous surroundings. There’s plenty of water activities available to partake in, from swimming and boating to fishing for the elusive largemouth bass. Or you could always sample the nearby shopping, sightseeing, and excellent dining!
27155 County Road 33 Nevis MN 56467
The population was 390 at the 2010 census.
Nevis is 1.012 mi².
Other Top Minnesota Family Vacation Spots
- Nelson's Resort
- Pine Terrace Resort
- Campfire Bay Resort
- Ruttger's Bay Lake Lodge
- Auger's Pine View Resort
- Tamarack Resort
- Lakecrest Resort
- River Point Resort & Outfitting Co.
- Fair Hills Resort
- Kavanaugh's Sylvan Lake Resort
- Cedar Valley Resort
- Spicer Green Lake Resort
- Rainy Lake Houseboats
- Birch Forest Lodge
- Moore Springs Resort
- Boyd Lodge
- Bear Paw Resort
- Elbow Lake Lodge
- Anderson's Starlight Bay Resort