As we head into the holiday season, there is plenty of hustle and bustle ahead, so how about taking time to slow down?

Get away for a few days and make some memories this winter break. There are ten hotel properties to choose from in Baxter and Brainerd, six have pools, and three have water parks. All the lodging properties follow strict cleaning guidelines and COVID-19 protocols and are ready for your family to come and stay. While you are in Brainerd, here are eight ways to enjoy your get away:

  1. Water Park Fun: There are three water parks in Brainerd/Baxter each offering a fun family experience. There is Paul Bunyan Water Park at Arrowwood Lodge of Brainerd Lakes which has a 30,000 square-foot indoor waterpark with features the entire family can enjoy. Three Bear Water Park at Holiday Inn Express boasts everything from a lazy river to a 1,000-gallon dumping bucket. Rapid River Lodge at Comfort Suites boasts a 240-foot tube slide, 240-foot body slide and a lazy river complete with waterfall and rapids.
  2. Winter Wonderland: Take a driving tour through the Northland Arboretum and enjoy more than 80 colorfully animated lit displays. Open Wednesday-Saturday from Thanksgiving until New Year’s Eve from 5:30-8:30 pm. Cost is $15 per carload.
  3. VR Odyssey: Virtual reality is an experience like no other. VR Odyssey’s selection of simulations and games have been chosen to cater to a diverse audience of varying age and skill level. Experiences can range from intense to relaxing, some frightening, others awe-inspiring. Playing together in VR lets you share the experience with friends and family. Work together to solve puzzles, face down foes, or go head-to-head in a battle of reflexes and wits. Most multiplayer games allow up to four players simultaneously while some can host as many as 10 players at once for a truly epic engagement. All multiplayer games are also playable as a solo experience.
  4. Hiking, Cross-Country Skiing or Snowshoeing: The Northland Arboretum boasts nearly 20 kilometers (12 miles) of trails for hiking, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing with nearly five kilometers lighted for evening skiing. The trails are designed to accommodate all ages and skill levels and are considered among the best in Minnesota.
  5. Minnesota Makerspace: People of all ages have creative ideas and no access to the right tools and training to bring them to life. Minnesota Makerspace is a collaborative for making, learning, and sharing. It is a unique business which offers tools, training, and classes to create new, or improve, on existing things. If you have the curiosity and the willingness to learn you can accomplish just about anything. Attend classes throughout the year to learn how to make various items and learn new skillsets.
  6. Ice Skating at Gregory Park: Once the temperatures drop into typical winter numbers, Gregory Park’s skating rink will open. This is usually in mid-December. Managed and staffed by the City of Brainerd’s Parks and Recreation Department, this rink is in the heart of Brainerd just off Washington Street and 6th There are free skates available to use while you are there. Check the Brainerd Parks and Recreation Facebook page for the most current skating rink hours.
  7. Indoor Bounce House: UpNorth is an indoor bounce house designed for children up to 12 years old. Kids will enjoy giant bounce houses, a double slide, and an obstacle course. There is even a special toddler area designed especially for your youngest bouncer.
  8. Mount Ski Gull: Visit Mount Ski Gull located just outside of Brainerd on County Road 77. Open from November through March, there is skiing, snowboarding and tubing in one convenient location. There are day and weekend rates for lift tickets and equipment is available for rent.