1 . Nelson's Resort

Crane Lake, Minnesota

CALL DIRECT: +1 (855) 762 - 9360

WEBSITE

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.

Address

7632 Nelson Road, Crane Lake, MN 55725

Related activities

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.

2 . Tamarack Resort

Ely, Minnesota

CALL DIRECT: +1 (866) 452 - 8661

WEBSITE
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From $66

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!

Address

P.O. Box 303, Ely, Minnesota 55731

Highlights

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!

Related activities

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!

3 . River Point Resort

Ely, Minnesota

CALL DIRECT: +1 (800) 456 - 5580

WEBSITE

As a parent you’ve had encounters with the unnatural, however, our No. 3 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!

Address

12007 River Point Road, Ely, MN 55731

Related activities

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.

4 . Fair Hills Resort

Detroit Lakes, Minnesota

CALL DIRECT: +1 (866) 920 - 6330

WEBSITE

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. 4 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.

Related activities

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.

Address

24270 County Hwy. 20, Detroit Lakes, MN 56501

5 . Lakecrest Resort

Detroit Lakes, Minnesota

CALL DIRECT: +1 (866) 452 - 8636

WEBSITE

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. 5 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.

Related activities

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.

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.

Fun facts

Lakecrest is open for the winter! Enjoy cold-weather sports like cross country skiing, snowmobiling and ice fishing.

6 . Kavanaugh's Sylvan Lake Resort

Brainerd, Minnesota

CALL DIRECT: +1 (866) 562 - 8458

WEBSITE

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.

Address

1685 Kavanaugh Drive East Gull Lake, Minnesota 56401

Highlights

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!

Fun facts

Kavanaugh's has been family owned and operated since 1969!

7 . Cedar Valley Resort

Whalan, Minnesota

CALL DIRECT: +1 (866) 562 - 7205

WEBSITE

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. 7 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.

Related activities

Cedar Valley Resort is also close to area attractions such as Amish tours, the Commonwealth Theater, a valley winery, Cornucopia Art Center and more.

Getting there

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.

8 . Dickerson's Lake Florida Resort

Spicer, Minnesota

CALL DIRECT: +1 (866) 522 - 5428

WEBSITE

Flowers peek out of window boxes beneath the windows of cocoa brown cottages. The kids race to be the first on the bicycles as you drop the suitcases by the door. The cool breeze blows off the lake. Classic family fun awaits you at Dickerson's Lake Florida Resort near Spicer, Minnesota.

Dickerson’s has been family owned and operated for four generations. With that kind of history and experience, you can be sure that your stay at Dickerson’s will combine all the comforts of home with the amenities of a vacation. Just outside your cabin door, you will find a wealth of great family fun. Ride around the resort on Dickerson’s tricycles, bicycles and wagons or take a ride down the Glacial Lakes State Trail. Blaze a trail of your own across 674-acre spring-fed Lake Florida on a hydro-bike, canoe or paddle boat! You can also go fishing, play mini golf nearby, and much more. Bob and Connie Dickerson host mixers for everyone to get acquainted. On Sunday mornings, you can amble down to the Dickerson’s kitchen for homemade doughnuts and juice. Monday is pizza party night and Thursday night is the hayride for children followed by s’mores around the campfire.

Address

13194 2nd St NE, Spicer, MN 56288

Related activities

Dickerson’s Lake Florida Resort is located in Kandiyohi County, which has more than 40 marked historical sites and several museums, such as a boat museum and a car, truck and tractor museum.

Related Onsite Offerings

Wireless Internet, paddleboats, kayaks, hydro-bikes, sailboats, canoes, rowboats, hot air popcorn popper, drip coffee maker, picnic table and more await you at Dickerson's Lake Florida Resort.

9 . Ice Cracking Resort

Ponsford, Minnesota

CALL DIRECT: +1 (218) 573 - 3631

VIEW

Discover an all seasons resort for all ages at Ice Cracking Resort! Surrounded by idyllic Minnesota wilderness, vacationers are treated to a rustic stay with an oasis of outdoor adventures at their fingertips. Slip into the simple life with your family at this wilderness retreat!

Founded as a family fun center in 1934, this year-round resort has been perfecting the craft of rustic recreation and relaxation for decades. From families roasting marshmallows around the campfire to friends hiking through the lush woodlands in search of wildlife, there are so many bonding moments. For additional adventure, set off on Ice Cracking Lake for an afternoon of fishing. When the winter wonderland arrives, snowmobile through the powdery white landscape. Once the adventures come to a close, kick up your feet in a cozy cabin, many of which feature spacious living rooms with welcoming fireplaces, private decks, and large dining rooms for family meals. The main lodge keeps the entertainment rolling with arcade games, a pool table, and delicious food. Grab a frosty mug of beer and enjoy the company. Four seasons of family fun await at Ice Cracking Resort!

Address

30388 Cty Hwy 35, Ponsford, MN 56575

Highlights

Stay at the four-cabin complex that are completely set up for housekeeping and rest on the shimmering shores of Ice Cracking Lake.

Related Onsite Offerings

An onsite playground is fun for little ones while complimentary barbecue grills are perfect for whipping up a family meal!

10 . Royal Starr Resort

Nevis, Minnesota

CALL DIRECT: +1 (800) 822 - 0701

VIEW

An idyllic Northwoods nook, Royal Starr Resort employs Minnesota's lush wilderness to ensure an unforgettable family vacation. Cozy cabins put you in close proximity to three fun-filled lakes and acres of tree-lined natural splendor!

Located on the 6th Crow Wing Lake between Park Rapids and Nevis, the aquatic adventures abound here. Cast off on a family fishing expedition, bounce on the Bongo Raft, or dive in for a swim. Kayak up the nearby river or just relax on the onsite beach and catch a tan. For those who prefer to stay dry, hike the lush nature trails, serve up a game of volleyball, or roast marshmallows over the bonfire. These 13 rustic cabins offer a classic up-north stay with all the comfort. Knotty pine interiors and views of the sparkling lakeshore make you feel connected with nature while amenities like fireplaces, private decks, and more make you feel at home. Prepare a delicious meal on the complimentary barbecue grill and then sit together as a family at the picnic table. Outdoor recreation and onsite relaxation make the Royal Starr an unforgettable family stay!

Address

19222 Echo Ridge Drive, Nevis, MN 56467

Highlights

Weekly kids craft time allows the little ones to use their imagination while holey board tournaments inspire a little healthy competition.

Related Onsite Offerings

Rent kayaks, canoes, and paddleboats from the resort and explore the waters any way you wish!

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