Stay at our hotels and indoor water parks and explore Minnesota’s premier winter destination.
Do Winter Differently.
Brainerd, Baxter, and the Brainerd Lakes Area truly are Minnesota’s winter playground. This year round Minnesota family destination offers a wide variety of winter activities for everyone. Visitors enjoy activities like winter mountain biking, snowmobiling, skiing, tubing, and arts and cultural activities just to name a few. The Brainerd Lakes Area is also home to events like the largest Ice fishing contest in the world, The Winter Jubilee, Winter Fest, Frozen Fore Winter Weekend, Cuyuna Whiteout, and more. These events and activities are the reason that the Brainerd Lakes Area is a world class Minnesota vacation destination even during the cold of winter.
Even when the weather turns the area has much to offer your family or group including three of Minnesota’s best indoor water parks. The Paul Bunyan Water Park, Three Bear Water Park, and the Rapid River Lodge serve up great memories every year to thousands of visitors. Enjoy a variety of tube and body slides, lazy rivers, splash pools, indoor/outdoor hot tubs, arcades, and even snack bars that offer choices for both kids and adults. Want to warm-up somewhere other than a water park? Several hotel properties have indoor pools and hot tubs to help you melt away the cold.
Stay with our Brainerd/Baxter Hotels & Waterparks for centralized access to all that the Brainerd Lakes area has to offer, all of the comforts and conveniences that your family or group deserve, and special and discounts at local businesses.
OVER 460 LAKES AND RIVERS TO EXPLORE
Brainerd Minnesota has long been a fishing destination and the winter months are no exception. With over four hundred lakes and rivers within twenty five miles you are sure to find the species and ice fishing experience you are looking for. We have lakes that offer Trout, Walleye, Northern Pike, Panfish, Bass, and more. Explore one of our small quiet lakes for big pike and Panfish or chase Mr. Walleye on Round Lake, North Long Lake, or Gull Lake just to name a few.
Want a story to tell friends for a lifetime then you need to join over 10,000 people on the ice at the at the $150,000 Ice fishing Extravaganza, the world’s largest ice fishing contest held on Gull Lake. This is one experience that you and your group will never forget.
Even if you do not have your own equipment fish house rentals are available with all of the gear and bait you need for a great winter Minnesota Fishing getaway. Or if you prefer there are many great local fishing guides available to take you and your group out to the ice and put you on fish. You can even take a break from the fishing action and enjoy lakeside dining on Gull Lake.
Be sure to keep an eye on our Brainerd fishing reports . That way you will know when the fish are biting so you can head our way to experience a great Minnesota fishing getaway, Brainerd Style!
When you visit Brainerd be sure to stay at one of our Brainerd hotels, Baxter hotels, or Brainerd/Baxter water parks which give yu centralized access to everything that the Brainerd Lakes area has to offer, all the comforts and conveniences that you deserve, and a special discount on half day or full day guided fishing trips from our partners Leisure Outdoor Adventures and S & W Guide Service.
5 Parks to enjoy
- Mill Avenue – located at 1401 Mill Avenue, Brainerd, MN 56401
- Gregory Park – located at 511 N 5th St, Brainerd, MN 56401
- Bane Park – located at 1701-1799 S 7th St, Brainerd, MN 56401
- Oscar Kristofferson Park – located at 5672 Baxter Lions Rd N, Baxter, MN 56425
- Loren Thompson Park – located at 13015 Kingwood Dr S, Baxter, MN 56425
Brainerd Ice Rink Hours:
- Monday-Friday 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
- Saturday 12 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
- Sunday 1:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Baxter Ice Rink Hours:
- Monday-Friday 3:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
- Starting hours will vary on the weekends.
SKIING & TUBING
Excellent Minnesota Downhill Skiing and Tubing
The Brainerd Minnesota lakes area has long been a summer destination for all ages due to it’s senic lakes and rivers and wide variety of activities. Once the temperature dips Brainerd also offers excellent Minnesota Downhill skiing, snow boarding, and some of Minnesota’s best tubing with one of the largest tubing hills in Minnesota at Mount Ski Gull located just a short drive north of Brainerd and Baxter.
This is in addition to the many other Minnesota winter activities available to visitors including Ice fishing, mountain biking, cross country skiing, indoor water parks, winter events, and winter festivals just to name a few. This combines to make the Brainerd Lakes Area an excellent choice for your family or groups Minnesota Skiing getaway.
Mount Ski Gull – Downhill Skiing, Tubing, & Snowboarding
Mount Ski Gull offers excellent downhill skiing, tubing, and snowboard in the heart of the scenic brainerd lakes area. This great facility is just north of Brainerd and only a few minutes from our lodging partners. The tubing hill is considered Minnesota’s largest at over 1,200 feet and offers a high speed tow. Snow boarders enjoy an 800 foot dedicated terrain park with and ever changing array of jumps, lifts, rails, and more. Enjoy downhill skiing on several runs for skiers of all experience levels and beginners can start out on the newly enhanced bunny hill.
MinnesotaTubing at Primetime in Breezy Point
For great dining and excellent family fun just a short drive north of Brainerd Minnesota Primetime in Breezy Point is a great bet.
Be sure to stay at one of our Brainerd hotels, Baxter hotels, or Brainerd/Baxter indoor water parks to get centralized access to everything that the Brainerd Lakes area has to offer with all of the comforts and conveniences that you and your family or group deserves.
1,200 MILES OF MINNESOTA SNOWMOBILING TRAILS
Brainerd Minnesota offers scenic Minnesota snowmobile trails through forest and over our many scenic lakes. With excellent Brainerd area hotels and lodging and Brainerd area dining options the Brainerd Lakes area is your best bet for a memorable Minnesota Snowmobiling getaway.
Minnesota snowmobiling is at its finest in the Brainerd lakes area! With 1,200 miles of groomed trails to explore, this will be your favorite MN snowmobiling spot for sure! There’s plenty of snow-glistening trails that meander through some of the Brainerd lakes area’s most beautiful forests, across gentle slopes and around lakes. There’s even a lighted snowmobile trail that runs the length of Gull Lake—for a spectacular nighttime ride!
Your Minnesota snowmobiling adventure is sure to be filled with fun and convenience! There are plenty of service stations for gas, food, hot coffee and cocoa, food and supplies. Stop in one of our many towns for a hot meal or some fabulous shopping! Then head on to your Brainerd Lakes area lodging destination where you’ll find comfort, a soft bed and relaxing hot tub! Minnesota snowmobiling draws hundreds of sport enthusiasts every season—and since the groomed trails are all connected, you can create a Minnesota snowmobiling vacation that continues for days! The trails are color-coded, there are maps available at almost every convenience store and you can check out trail conditions online before you venture out!
Keep in mind for your Minnesota snowmobiling vacation, that a permit is required for everyone operating a snowmobile on state or grant-in-aid trails. You can obtain a Minnesota snowmobiling permit from the Department of Natural Resources by calling 1-888-665-4236 or if you have questions about Minnesota snowmobiling license requirements call the DNR at 1-888-646-6367. They are available 24/7. You can also order your license online.
Need a snowmobile, no problem, our friends at Boats & Beyond Rental will get you up and running call them today at 218-963-7700 or visit our snowmobile rental page.
Click a map below to view
INDOOR WATER PARKS
Visit Brainerd Minnesota and enjoy three of Minnesota’s Best Indoor Water Parks
Each of our indoor water parks offers a variety of activities for all ages from giant water slides that dive and swirl through well-designed pools and playgrounds—to quiet gentle pools, tree houses and hot tubs. Our Brainerd Minnesota water parks serve up family fun right in the heart of the beautiful Brainerd Lakes Area giving you easy access to all of the other great winter activities available in the area.
Area winter activities include ice fishing, skiing (cross country & downhill) tubing on Minnesota’s largest tubing hill, and of course snowmobiling. Time you Minnesota winter weekend just right and you can catch one of the areas great winter events including the largest ice fishing tournament in the world, the Frozen Fore winter weekend, Nisswa Winter Jubilee, or the Cuyuna Whiteout winter mountain bike races just to name a few.
Some people worry that their Minnesota water park vacation will be noisy. However our indoor water parks are much quieter than you would imagine. That is because our water parks use some of the most advanced water park technology available and the water park resorts have been designed to offer quiet places to relax and retreat.
This is the perfect way to enjoy a weekend family retreat. Enjoy the best water parks in Minnesota, explore greater Brainerd lakes area, dine at our famous restaurants, and enjoy hours of shopping, fishing, snowmobiling and world-class golf! After a busy day you can retreat to your room and enjoy many features including classic Up North Lodge décor and furniture, or unique “themed” suites.
Brainerd water parks are not just for family fun, The also make a perfect business lodging experience for a corporate retreat or meeting, We’ve got great dining, lounges and all the conveniences you need to make a Brainerd water parks lodge your next business destination!
CROSS COUNTRY SKIING
Brainerd Minnesota offers a great selection of Minnesota Cross Country Ski trails in addition to our scenic lakes.
These trails wind through beautiful Minnesota hardwood forests filled with scenic landscape and abundant wildlife. Explore out the Crow Wing State Park or our favorite the Northland Arboretum right in Brainerd with over twenty miles of scenic trails. After a day on these trails head out to Gull Lake for miles of skiing opportunities on one of Minnesota’s most famous lakes.
When visiting Brainerd Minnesota for cross country skiing be sure to stay in one of our Brainerd Hotels and Baxter hotels or take the family to a Brainerd/Baxter water park. These facilities will give you centralized acces to all the cross country ski trails and everything else that the Brainerd Lakes area has to offer.
Brainerd Minnesota Cross Country Ski Trails
Click the name of the trail for printable cross country ski map
Larson Lake Ski Trail – Ski pass required
Trails go through a predominantly oak forest with large red and white pines also present in several areas. Many trail segments encircle Tamarack and lack spruce bogs. Rolling hill terrain with intermediate sking ability suggested. 6.2 miles of trail
Wolf Lake Ski Trail– Ski pass not required
Located just ten miles from Brainerd this level to hilly terrain winds through a mixture of hardwoods and mature pine.
Northland Arboretum Ski Trails – Ski pass required
Nice winding trails, the Arboretum trails are rated beginer to moderate and are located right in Brainerd. Nearly 5k of the trails are lighted for night skiing. MN ski pass required and a $3.00 parking donation to the Arboretum is requested.
French Rapids Ski Trail – Ski pass required
Offering incredible climbs and descents with stunning views of the Mississippi River. Mainly expert trails.
Forestview Ski Trail – Ski pass required
Forestview contains trails for all experience levels. Trails groomed classic and skate.
Pine Beach Ski Trail – Ski pass required
The Pine Beach Ski Trails are both classic and skate and include trails for all abilities.
Some trails require a Minnesota Cross Country Ski trail pass. These funds are used for Cross Country Ski trail upkeep and grooming. Get a Minnesota Cross Country Ski Pass
Check out our blog for the latest winter trail report.
WINTER MOUNTAIN BIKING
Fat tire winter mountain biking on Minnesota’s world renown Cuyuna mountain bike trails.
The Cuyuna mountain bike trails located just a short drive east of Brainerd Minnesota is home to internationally acclaimed mountain bike trails that wind through some of Minnesota’s newest/scenic forest and lakes. In winter, biking up a long, snowy hill, sailing down the other side, negotiating around birch trees and rocks, and then stopping to take in the beauties of winter aren’t thrills limited to cross country skiers alone.
The Cuyuna lakes Area offers mountain bikers specially groomed mountain bike trails like the Sagamore Unit a seven and a half mile stretch of winter mountain bike trail groomed by snowmobile and a Rokon two wheel drive motorcycle with wide tires designed to pack a track. The well groomed trails and recent mountain bike innovations make mountain biking a sport that all skill levels can enjoy year round.
These scenic winter mountain bike trails follow old mining haul roads, railroad grades and a few connections cut through the brush. There are six plateaus to bike to, with the trails fairly flat on top and below, and circles winding to the top. Like the summer trails, there is work getting up and a nice ride coming down. The trails have fun names with historic links to the mine like the Syracuse, Klondike and Blaster. Buffalo Run Trail refers to a buffalo skeleton found in the park and Copper Nugget refers to an 1,800 lb. copper nugget found on the sight.
Whether you are looking for an adventure, an new sport to try, or a group activity, mountain biking in Minnesota’s pristine Cuyuna Lakes area is a great choice. Stay at any of the Brainerd/Baxter hotels and indoor water parks and you will have easy access to this great Brainerd Lakes Area activity while enjoying all of the comforts and conveniences your family or group deserve.
Trail Maps: Click to start download
Venture out into the wilderness, all while staying on top of the snow.
The Brainerd Lakes area offers plenty of space to roam with a set of snowshoes. If this is a new idea to you, you will want to have a few things to help give yourself the best experience possible. Make sure you have appropriate hiking clothes, boots, a pair of poles if you think you’ll need the extra balance, snacks , drinks, face protection & goggles for windy days. With these items you have a good start on your basic needs for a successful time on the trails.
As far as places to take yourself, here are the names and information on a few of them. You may go to the Northland Arboretum and pay $5 for a day pass. They also have trail maps available & make sure that you do not go on the ski trails. The Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area is also somewhere you may snowshoe. You may use the groomed single track trails and the Sagamore unit trials. Snowshoeing is best on warmer days to help pack down the trails. Check out Crow Wing State Park and Pillsbury State Forest as well for more options!
Easy Riders Bicycle & Sportshop offers rentals, just make sure to call 48 hours in advance to avoid extra fees.