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11 of the Best Winter Resorts in Minnesota

Skis, snowboards, snowshoes…that’s what winter is about, isn’t it? What about crisp, sunny mornings, blankets of snow, and trees crowned by icicles? Then there are the frozen lakes, late winter bird visitors, and perhaps a snow tube hill.

Now, let’s move indoors where you will find cozy rooms, enticing fireplaces, and the invigorating experience of sitting around the fire pit at night. Of course, while you are enjoying your winter experiences, you will need to stay at one of the eleven best winter resorts in Minnesota. 

Lake in winter with snow
Enjoy the peace and quiet of winter

1. Cragun’s Resort in Brainerd

First on the list of best winter resorts in Minnesota is Cragun’s Resort. On Gull Lake, Cragun’s offers a variety of options for accommodation, including a lakeside cabin, or a room right in the action. There is also a large Northwoods residence, where you can take your family and friends. After a day out in the crisp winter air, there is wonderful fare in the dining room with a view of Gull Lake.

Take a cruise around the beautiful lake, or keep warm next to a bonfire on the edge of the lake on a winter’s afternoon. Then, retire to the Bear Trap Lounge for a cozy drink.

Have you ever fancied yourself a champ at winter sports? You can prove your worth at broomball, which is a gentler form of ice hockey. Or why not try a bit of cross country skiing, along the Pine Beach Ski Trail? You may just find your niche!

You can also take a chilled snowmobile ride along the Paul Bunyan Trail. Choose which section of the 75-mile trail you want to explore.

If the slap of the winter wind and the rush of snow and ice are not your style, then there is always the indoor pool that is perfect for swimming laps or relaxing in the whirlpool. At the end of the day, all you will need is a mug of hot chocolate and your cozy bed.

2. Angle Outpost Resort

If you are fond of fishing, then this is the resort for you, with its year-round fishing opportunities on Lake of the Woods. The cabins are quite rustic but offer all the modern amenities, including WiFi and television, so you can stay in touch with the outside world if you want to.

In Winter, come home to warm yourself in front of the fire in your cabin. The crisp air and views of the lake will call you to take your chances against the creatures of the lake yet again.

3. Cedar Valley Resort

Imagine sitting on the porch of your cabin watching a bald eagle soaring over the Root River Valley. This is the view you will enjoy at Cedar Valley Resort, where Larry and Sheryl Johnson will be happy to welcome you.

Enjoy the winter days exploring the valley, with endless opportunities for exploring on foot, or snowshoes that are available for rental. Bundle up warm and keep an eye out for a Dark-eyed Junko, or a Black-capped Chickadee. If you are feeling intrepid, you can hire skis, too. For the experience of a lifetime, take a ride on a horse-drawn sleigh.  

There are a range of activities for the whole family to enjoy here at one of the best winter resorts in Minnesota. Have a snowman building competition with your kids, or go on a scavenger hunt in the icy landscape. You can also visit the tubing hill and slide down in glee won the snow tubes that are free for your use. In the evening, enjoy a mug of hot chocolate around the bonfire.

4. Ballard’s Resort

For year-round fishing, Ballard’s Resort is the place to be. Winter brings with it the challenge of ice fishing. Everything you need for an unbelievable experience is available from the resort, including bait, jig sticks, and all necessary tackle. Take the opportunity to enjoy chasing the sometimes elusive walleye.

Ice fishing is one of the most exciting activities to take part in during the cold winter months. It is an opportunity to bond with friends and family, sitting in an ice-house with your lines heading through the ice hole into the water below.

There is always your cabin to go back to when your fishing is done. They are all air-conditioned, which keeps the temperature consistent all year round.

Journey through the mountains in winter while staying at one of the best winter resorts in Minnesota

5. Solbaken Resort on Superior

Perhaps the gem of the lakes in Minnesota is the imposing Lake Superior, where you can unwind with a drink while overlooking the wind and waves on the lake. Just five minutes away are the Lutsen Mountains, where skiing is what people do.

Solbaken Resort was established in 1928 and the lounge still has the stone fireplace, the heart, and warmth of the resort. Each cabin also has a fireplace, so you will always be welcomed from a day out on the slopes by the warm fingers of fire.

6. Lutsen Resort

If the Lutsen Mountains mean skiing, then Lutsen Resort means being near the heart of the mountains. The ski trails are only two miles away, so you can be on the runs within a matter of minutes after you surface for a new day. If you do not want to tackle the speed of the skis, then you can hire snowshoes and go out into the rather flatter parts and see how far you can go.

The design of the resort echoes the Scandinavian background of the original homestead, which was built in 1885 and burned down in the 1950s. If you are interested in fine dining, then the Strand Waterfront Dining room will definitely give you what you need. There is a sense of history that still pervades the whole resort.

7. Good Ol’ Days Resort

The name of the Good ol’ Days Resort says all you need to know: the homestead was first built at the end of the 19th century and the resort dates from the early 20th century. At the beginning of the 21st century, the whole resort was rebuilt, to take it right into the present, while retaining a sense of its rich history. 

There are plenty of amenities and activities at and around the resort to keep you busy all winter. Nearby Lower Cullen Lake offers ample opportunities for some good angling. Fishermen are catered for during the whole year, with a fish cleaning house available for all anglers. During winter, ice fishing on the frozen lake is something to explore.

During winter, the blanket of snow ensures a peaceful and relaxing experience, which you can appreciate as you travel across the snowfields on snowshoes. Close to the resort, you will find a range of activities and facilities you can enjoy during the crisp winter days. Skate across the shimmering ice in the Breezy Point Ice Arena, or take a run along a snowmobile trail.

You can venture into the Pillsbury State Forest, or zip down the runs with some downhill skiing.

Ski trail in winter forest in Minnesota
Grab your skis and let’s go!

8. Timber Trails Resort

A resort with ‘timber’ in its name must have something to do with trees, mustn’t it? The 18 acres of Chippewa National Forest on which Timber Trails Resort is located definitely lives up to that expectation. Right on the banks of Big Boy Lake, you will find ten cabins that will make you feel at home immediately.

When all is covered by a depth of snow and there is a chill in the air, Timber Trails Resort offers special winter rates. Take this opportunity to enjoy the experience of ice fishing. If you are more landbound, then you can simply enjoy the peace of the forest and the wonder of Big Boy Lake in winter.  You could also take a ride through the Winterland on a snowmobile, along one of the trails through the forest.

9. Maple Hill Resort

Between Clearwater Lake and Grass Lake, you will find the cottages and houses that makeup Maple Hill Resort. Every cottage faces the lake, which is always breathtaking, perhaps more so in winter, when the chill creates currents of mist in the air.

Maple Hill is only 7 miles (11kms) from Powder Ridge, THE site for skiing and snowboarding – and the new experience of snow tubing.

Get your winter gear on, grab your skis and off you go to the snowy heights! The other skiing attraction is Lake Maria State Park, where you can enjoy cross country skiing at its most beautiful.

On the other hand, if you prefer to take in the scenery and cozy up with a good book inside in the sun, or out next to the fire pit, then the cabins at Maple Hill are just the place for you.

10. Cyrus Resort

Grab your fishing gear and head to the south side of the Lake of the Woods to find some of the best fishing in Minnesota. You make your base at Cyrus Resort and can explore all your options. In winter, if you are a keen ice fisherman, take your equipment and go on an ice fishing experience at Cyrus Resort. The logistics are covered, so all you have to do is to get down to the art of fishing in the frozen lake.

Ice fishing pole and fish on frozen lake
Ice fishing near one of the best winter resorts in Minnesota

When you return to the resort, good food and a cozy lounge await you, where you can recount your adventures.

The cabins at Cyrus Resort accommodate up to nine people, so you can bring your friends and family, or just your partner. They all have indoor fireplaces and outdoor fire pits, so warmth is always on your winter doorstep. On a crisp and sunny winter’s morning, what better way to spend your time with your cup of coffee on the bench watching nothing and everything go by?

11. Eagle Ridge Resort

Last but not least on the list of best winter resorts in Minnesota is the Eagle Ridge Resort. Winter at Eagle Ridge Resort is not only about cozy firesides and white blankets of snow. It is also about skiing on established trails, soaking in the heated pool, or combining the hot and cold with the outside hot tub.

Set in the Lutsen Mountains, Eagle Ridge Resort is on the doorstep of a whole number of ski runs for all levels of skier. If you are up for the challenge, the highest ski hill in Minnesota is beckoning. If you are feeling a little less intrepid, then the easier runs may be for you.

Winter is calling…

Snow and ice, skiing and fishing, warm fires, and hot chocolate. No matter what winter means to you, you will find it at one of the best winter resorts in Minnesota.

After you have explored one of the best winter resorts in Minnesota, please let us know what your favorite activity was.

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