It’s not a coincidence that the best lodges in Minnesota are situated on lakes, as the state boasts more than 10,000 bodies of water. From taking in the view to spending a day fishing, each of these lodges offers you the perfect opportunity for a beautiful, special getaway.
1. Grey Wolf Lodge
First on the list of best lodges in Minnesota is the Grey Wolf Lodge. John and Matilda Takala walked 24 miles from Cook (then Ashawa) to Pelican Lake, where they settled in 1904. They established a resort on the site in 1937, as ‘Lake Side Resort’. The name ‘Grey Wolf Lodge’ came with new owners and has remained since 1996. The spirit of John Takala still lives on through the developments on the property, including a spa, a mini-golf course, and a Bocci Ball Court. There are ample opportunities for water sports and fantastic fishing. Expect to reel in crappies, walleye, and northern pike.
Find the perfect match for the accommodation you are looking for in one of the individual Minnesota cabins that cater to couples and families. All the cabins have fully equipped kitchens and are well-situated to make sure you are close to the action at Gray Wolf. Look out for deals based on the length of your stay.
2. Clearwater Historic Lodge
The Clearwater Historic Lodge has the perfect location for outfitters on the Gunflint Trail — right on the edge of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area of Northeastern Minnesota. The original lodge on the site was built by Charlie Boostroom in 1926. Today, it keeps both this look and spirit in what is the oldest whole log building in the area.
With Clearwater Lake right on your doorstep, the attractions of the water are literally there for the taking. Take a paddle, or a motorboat trip, hang a line into the water, or just splash in the shallows. Just around the corner is the Gunflint Trail, with ample opportunities for hiking, so you really will have the best of many worlds.
3. Cross River Lodge
When you’ve spent every summer of your life on the Gunflint Trail, what do you do but buy a lodge? And this is what the present owner did. Cross River Lodge dates from the 1920s and has been tastefully remodeled and refurbished to give you the perfect sense of the Northwoods. The native stone fireplace, from the original building, is the essence of the sense of history that permeates the lodge and the personal attention you will receive.
The nearby Gunflint Lake offers sunny views of the water and the perfect place to recharge your batteries and get back in touch with nature. Look out for a variety of birds and abundant animal life, including deer, timber wolves, and foxes, or just take in the glorious view of the lake. If you are feeling energetic, then why not take advantage of canoeing, kayaking, horseback riding, and fishing in summer; and cross country skiing, and dog sled rides in winter.
4. Naniboujou Lodge
On the edge of Lake Superior, you will discover the elegant world of Naniboujou. Originally built in 1927 as the Naniboujou Holding Company’s club, the lodge has grown into an elegant place to stay, or just to eat. The well-appointed, historic dining room, is dominated by a fireplace that is over twenty feet tall. Take in the elegant atmosphere while enjoying a superior feast of home cooking.
Naniboujou is not only the place to feed your body but also your soul. It is the quiet heart of Minnesota’s north shore. Escape your busy life for just a moment in the nurturing peace and charm of this historic lodge, with views of Lake Superior that are unsurpassed.
5. Arrowhead Lodge
Get a jump on the fishing in Lake Kabetogama by booking into the original log lodge in the Voyageurs National Park, Arrowhead Lodge. Take to the water in your own boat, which you can moor in the protected harbor, or rent one. You have the option to stay in the lodge itself, or in private cabins. All the accommodation has Wi-Fi available.
This lodge is the best place to take your family on a visit they will always remember. Explore the attraction of the National Park by tramping the Northwoods. Swim in the lakes, jumping on and off your own rented pontoon, or relax on the private beach. End the perfect day with a tasty, home-cooked meal in the dining room, while enjoying a lake view. Because it is owner-operated, Arrowhead Lodge offers you the complete family experience.
6. Timber Bay Lodge and Houseboats
On Birch Lake, near the Boundary Waters Canoe Area, Timber Bay Lodge and Houseboats offer the true family-owned and run, home-away-from-home. There is a full-service marina, which means you can take your own boat and enjoy the lake, or hire any vessel, from a canoe to a fishing boat. With no commercial fishing or netting allowed in Birch Lake, you are assured of some of the finest fishing in Minnesota.
A unique feature of Timber Bay Lodge is the houseboats. Imagine waking up in the morning and going onto your porch to experience the peace of water all around you. Or imagine cruising slowly along the shoreline, enjoying the quiet and magnificence of the inhabitants of the Superior National Forest. If being out in the isolation of nature, or being busy in and out of the water, then head for Timber Bay.
7. Lost Lake Lodge
It may be the world-class restaurant at Lost Lake Lodge that attracts you, or the sense of history at this 70-year-old site of serenity. Throughout its history, since its establishment in 1946, Lost Lake Lodge has always been the place where old and new friends are welcome. The owners pride themselves on the exceptional service and care you will receive at the lodge.
Lost Lake Lodge is uniquely situated between Gull Lake and Lost Lake, giving you ample opportunities to explore some of Minnesota’s beautiful bodies of water. Dotted around the property are well-situated, immaculate cabins, ranging from one to four bedrooms, so families and friends are all catered for. The lodge offers a special ownership opportunity, where you may purchase a cabin and own a little of the beauty and seclusion for yourself.
8. Boyd Lodge
Last but not least on our list of the best lodges in Minnesota is Boyd Lodge. Boyd Lodge, on both Rush Lake and Whitefish Lake, has been offering its own brand of accommodation since 1934. The most popular time of year at Boyd Lodge is summer, with a myriad of activities available for the guest. You can enjoy activities both on and in the water, or spend long, warm days peacefully by the pool.
The Northwoods has a mood for every season, so fall, winter, and spring all offer beautiful surrounds and another range of activities. Be exposed to cross country skiing, or ice fishing in winter, then spend the evening next to a cozy fire in your cottage, or loft cabin with an elevated view of the surrounding beauty.
9. Gunflint Lodge
Gunflint Lodge has been in the Kerfoot family for three generations, which means that every guest is welcomed with the same brand of hospitality that began the lodge. Since 1927, it has been popular with honeymoon couples and families alike. If your family is just starting out or has already grown, you will find the vacation you are looking for.
There are activities for every season: paddle the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in summer or ride a snowmobile through the Boreal Forest in winter. Spring is the time of hiking and seeing the world reawakening, while fall could be just the time to zip through the changing leaves of the trees on a thrilling canopy tour. You don’t even need to come prepared: all the equipment is available at the lodge for rental. You can even go home in branded gear from the Gunflint Lodge outfitters.
How do I choose the best lodge in Minnesota to visit?
Vacations are all about you and what you enjoy doing, so choosing the best lodge is choosing the lodge that is best for you. Take your pick from the lodges described in this post, making sure that what is offered is what you are looking for.
Is fishing the only activity you can do at a lodge in Minnesota?
Because the best lodges in Minnesota are situated on lakes, fishing is a big attraction and is popular amongst visitors. However, each lodge offers a range of other activities in which you can participate. Equipment for the activities is available for rental from the lodge.
Book your getaway at one of the best lodges in Minnesota
Vacation lake style by visiting one of the best lodges in Minnesota. In summer, enjoy fun in and on the water. In winter, indulge in snowy walks and even some skiing. Every season has something for you, which can be found at the lodge of your choosing.
After visiting one of the best lodges in Minnesota, we’d love to hear about your awesome experiences.
Still haven’t found your perfect getaway? Then keep learning about unique places to stay in Minnesota to book the perfect reservation for your next trip!
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Born in Madelia, MN, to a now 5-generation Minnesota family, Ryan’s MN roots go deep.
A painter by day, Ryan founded Life in Minnesota in 2013 with his wife Kelly to chronicle their musings on everything Minnesota. Ryan and Kelly are raising their 7 kiddos in Maple Grove, MN.
When he’s not shuttling his kids around to hockey practice, you might find him in the shop working on his leatherwork. Undoubtedly, there will be a family trip to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area every summer, and of course weekends at Grandpa’s cabin up north in the summer.