Five Things You Must Do For Fun This Winter

The Brainerd Lakes Area is Minnesota's premier winter playground and these five things are a must do.

Winter is here and it is time to get out and play in the snow. This year break out of the normal winter routine and head to Minnesota’s winter playground for winter activities and events that will leave you telling stories for years to come.

1. Brainerd Jaycees $150,000 Ice Fishing Extravaganza

On the fourth Saturday of each January more than 12,000 people from around the world will visit Brainerd for the world's largest charitable ice fishing contest. Attendees compete for more than $200,000 in prizes including cash, new vehicles, four wheelers, fishing gear and more. This event is an annual tradition for many and a bucket list item for others. Bring your family and friends, dress-up in a theme, decorate your set-up . . . whatever you want to do. Check out the various vendors selling a variety of gear, food and beverages. This is more than just ice fishing it is a must do winter experience.

2. Frozen Fore Winter Weekend

For those that want all the fun and none of the fishing then you must attend the Frozen Fore Winter Weekend Party on Gull Lake. Join thousands of people for three days of live music from four different bands, food, drinks, events, and activities all out on the ice. Kick off the weekend with a frozen flop and live music inside the huge heated tent out on the ice. Saturday you will shuttle, drive, or snowmobile around the lake from the tent to eight participating restaurant/bars for a lake wide game of ice golf. That evening head on back to the heated tent for more live music. Sunday wraps things up with the very popular food fest where you can sample and vote on food prepared by local chefs. This is a full weekend of partying that you do not want to miss!

3. Take on the Largest Tubing Hill in Minnesota

Mount Ski Gull in Nisswa has long been a destination for skiing families traveling from all over the region for their downhill ski runs. This ski destination upped the game with the addition of an 800 foot dedicated terrain park and the largest tubing hill in Minnesota at over 1,000 feet. Ride the high speed tow to the top, let your inner child run free tearing down this awesome hill, then warm up in the chalet while enjoying a snack and beverage.

4. Fat Tire Mountain Biking on the Cuyuna Trails

Cuyuna is an IMBA certified mountain bike course and one of just a handful in the world. Mountain bike enthusiasts from around the country travel to this scenic area to take on the red dirt trails and the fun keeps going throughout the year with specially-groomed trails at the Sagamore Unit of the Cuyuna Country Recreation Area near Crosby. Work your way up a long, snowy hill, sail down the other side, negotiate around birch trees and rocks, and then stop to take in the beauties of winter. Cuyuna offers seven-and-a-half miles of winter trails, grooming them with a snowmobile and skid to create a four-foot track and a Rokon two-wheel-drive motorcycle with wide tires to pack a track. These challenging and scenic winter trails follow old mining haul roads, railroad grades and a few connections cut through the brush. Be sure to check out the Cuyuna Whiteout Event in February.

5. Craft Beer Brewery Tour

The Brainerd Lakes Area is home to a handful of great breweries. Try one or try them all! With beers inspired by the rich traditions of the area, you'll be sure to find some unique and award-winning brews.

  • Big Axe Brewing is the newest addition to the group and is located in downtown Nisswa. They offer a variety of craft beers and have an onsite kitchen for food service with a variety of items to choose from.
  • Cuyuna Brewing Company is located in downtown Crosby and has several craft beers on tap with selections inspired by the Cuyuna roots.
  • Gull Dam Brewing Company is located a few miles north of Brainerd just outside of Nisswa and offers a variety of craft beers and lots of fun, games and music on the weekends.
  • Jack Pine is located in Baxter and offers a selection of several craft beers including seasonal flavors.
  • RoundHouse Brewery is located in the Northern Pacific Center in Brainerd and offers a great selection of craft beers and fun happenings.

Brainerd in Pictures