12 Top-Rated Resorts in Minnesota
Minnesota offers no end of great vacation options for travelers thanks to its beautiful countryside, and whether your journey is for business or pleasure, the "Northstar State" is also home to an abundance of accommodation choices. Those seeking a stay in a top-rated luxury location couldn't do much better than book into the historic Grand View Lodge on Gull Lake, popular for its elegant rooms and manicured grounds. Those seeking a comfortable stay in a traditional family-run wilderness resort should consider the rustic charm of the well-appointed country cabins at Ludlow's Island Resort in Cook, or Kavanaugh's on Sylvan Lake near Brainerd, both popular with outdoor enthusiasts.
Whatever your preferred style of travel, find the best place to stay with our list of top-rated resorts in Minnesota.
1 Grand View Lodge, Brainerd
Not only is Grand View Lodge on Gull Lake one of the best resorts in Minnesota, it's also one of the oldest. Opened in 1916, this elegant vacation destination in Brainerd offers plenty of great reasons to keep coming back. Much of the appeal is the resort's many excellent amenities. Highlights include a full-service spa that uses mineral waters from local springs as part of its treatment program; a variety of on-site restaurant options, including both casual and fine dining; and two world-class championship golf courses. Fun activities also await at the private beach, along with the heated indoor swimming pool with its waterslide. There are also plenty of kid's programs and activities, and the resort also has meeting and function rooms.
Come bedtime, a popular choice for families are Grand View's fully-equipped townhomes. These spacious luxury units range in size from one to five bedrooms and come with kitchens, separate dining and living areas (the latter with a gas fireplace), and large furnished terraces with barbecues.
Accommodation: Grand View Lodge
2 Ludlow's Island Resort, Cook
One of a number of family-owned and operated resorts that rank highly in Minnesota, Ludlow's Island Resort in Cook offers guests a unique island getaway. Highlights include having your own well-appointed cabin or cottage to enjoy, each offering superb views over Lake Vermilion and plenty of room to spread out. Notable features of the resort's 22 spacious and unique units include multiple bathrooms, authentic wood-burning fireplaces, as well as large screened-in porches and decks with barbecues (cabins range in size from one to five bedrooms).
There's much to do in and around the resort, from wildlife spotting to exploring the lake's 1,200 miles of shoreline and 365 islands. Highlights include a private beach area, boating, sailing, fishing, kayaking, and canoeing, as well as hiking. Numerous kids' programs and activities are also available.
Accommodation: Ludlow's Island Resort
3 Kavanaugh's Sylvan Lake Resort, Brainerd
Another popular choice for a Minnesota getaway any time of year is the family-run Kavanaugh's Sylvan Lake Resort near Brainerd. The resort covers a large swath of shoreline, ensuring great views from almost anywhere on the property. Highlights of a stay include relaxing at the recreation complex, which includes an indoor swimming pool plus a spa and fitness center, a games room, and laundry facilities (there's also a large, heated, outdoor pool). Sports enthusiasts can enjoy tennis, and the resort also boasts an extensive trail network that connects to area trails.
When it comes to accommodations, there's plenty of choice. Popular with groups of up to five people, the one-bedroom cottages come with a master bedroom with a king bed and twin pull-out, a spacious bathroom, full kitchen, dining room, and a living area with a gas fireplace and a queen pull-out. They also include a laundry room, plus a large lake-view deck with a barbecue. A three-bedroom cottage is also available.
Accommodation: Kavanaugh's Sylvan Lake Resort
4 Madden's on Gull Lake, Brainerd
Another popular Brainerd vacation spot, Madden's on Gull Lake offers guests a variety of quality accommodations. It's particularly popular for its stand-alone cabins and cottages, which are well-suited to larger groups. One of the most opulent is a large, four-bedroom, stand-alone perched just feet away from the water that comes with multiple bathrooms, a full kitchen, separate living room with a fireplace (there's an additional fireplace in the screened-in porch), a private dock, and dedicated fire pit (this unit sleeps up to 14 people comfortably).
Sports fans will love the on-site facilities. These include a golf course, tennis courts, badminton courts, croquet lawns, lawn bowling, and volleyball. For watery fun, there are three heated, outdoor, swimming pools (plus one indoor pool) to choose from, as well as a kid's wading pool, a hot tub, and a number of fun water toys on the lake, including trampolines and slides. The resort also has its own marina and offers rentals of motorized and people-powered watercraft.
Accommodation: Madden's on Gull Lake
5 Best Western Premier The Lodge on Lake Detroit, Detroit Lakes
One of the few big hotel brands to make our list of top-rated resorts in Minnesota, the Best Western Premier The Lodge on Lake Detroit owes its popularity to its idyllic location. Set on 550 feet of shoreline, this lovely lakefront property consists of a modest 54 rooms, thus ensuring crowds are never an issue. Rooms come with one or two queen beds, a handy mini-fridge and microwave, a wet bar, patio, and great lake views. An upgrade to consider is the king suite, which also comes with a jet tub, fireplace, and balcony. A number of easy-access units are also available for those with mobility issues.
On-site amenities include a private, 150-foot-long beach for guest use only, boat slips, kayaks, as well as fire pits to enjoy as the sun sets over the lake. There's also a large, heated, indoor swimming pool, along with a steam room, hot tub, and full-service spa. Other notable features include a 24-hour fitness center, dining, and live entertainment.
Accommodation: Best Western Premier The Lodge on Lake Detroit
6 Chase on the Lake, Walker
Popular for its proximity to great shopping, dining, and entertainment in the quaint town of Walker, Chase on the Lake offers guests a relaxing lakeside vacation. It's also popular for the high quality of its accommodations, which consist of a variety of options, ranging from standard hotel rooms to spacious condo suites. Whatever size unit you book, you'll enjoy features such as microwaves and mini-fridges, large bathrooms with stand-alone showers and bathtubs, and HDTVs. The condo suites come in one-, two-, and three-bedroom configurations and include such additional features as a master bedroom, a full-kitchen, plus a separate living room.
There's much to keep guests occupied at the resort. Highlights include enjoying a meal in the on-site restaurant, a massage or other treatment in the spa, or even taking in some family fun at the resort's private bowling alley. Other features of note include an indoor swimming pool, hot tub, as well as a private beach. Water activities include fishing, kayaking, and sailing.
Accommodation: Chase on the Lake
7 Lutsen Resort on Lake Superior, Lutsen
Minnesota's magnificent Lake Superior shoreline is a big draw for guests staying at the family-owned and operated Lutsen Resort. Built in 1885, this elegant historic resort is the oldest in the state and continues to provide visitors with a high-end vacation experience. The emphasis is very much on fun activities and events for the whole family, including live music, nature hikes, as well as guided kayak and canoe adventures. Other summer activities include golf, biking, swimming, and fishing, and in winter, it's all about skiing (downhill and cross-country), snowshoeing, and snowmobiling. On-site dining is also available, as is a full-service spa; large, heated, indoor swimming pool; games room; kids' play area; and restaurant.
Popular accommodation choices include spacious one- and two-bedroom suites (some with lofts). Features include full kitchens, living rooms with pull-out couches, real fireplaces, and large furnished decks with barbecues. The larger two-bedroom units come with an additional bathroom and can sleep up to eight people comfortably. Some pet-friendly units are available.
Accommodation: Lutsen Resort on Lake Superior
8 Quarterdeck Resort, Nisswa
One of the top boutique-style getaway destinations in Minnesota, the Quarterdeck Resort in Nisswa offers couples and families alike no end of great reasons to visit. Situated on a 27-acre property on beautiful Gull Lake, the resort is especially popular for its charming and well-appointed accommodations. While couples like the main lodge suites with their king beds, families will book the two queen bed option. In either case, you'll enjoy standard features, including good-sized bathrooms with jet tubs, kitchenettes, fireplaces, and balconies. Some larger suites are also available that include master bedrooms, full-kitchens, pull-out couches in the living areas, and a dining area.
With its focal point being Gull Lake, there's many things to do on the water. Highlights include swimming, fishing, boating (rent or bring your own), and kayaking, as well as enjoying the abundant wildlife, which includes eagles and loons. Notable on-site amenities include dining, a full-service marina, gift shop, heated swimming pool with hot tub, and a fitness center.
Accommodation: Quarterdeck Resort
9 Fair Hills Resort, Detroit Lakes
Another vacation destination worth considering is Fair Hills Resort in the Detroit Lakes area. Established in 1926, this sprawling resort is excellent value for families and offers a great deal of on-site fun for all ages. Highlights include talent contests and organized sports events including swimming (there's a large private beach, plus a heated outdoor pool), kayaking, and sailing, as well as tennis, basketball, volleyball, and golf. Adding to the relaxation are the inclusion of hammocks and fire pits. There are also a number of function and conference rooms, too. Three meals a day are included with your stay.
With your cabin are standard features such as spacious bathrooms, seating areas, and daily housekeeping services. Sizes range from one to three bedrooms, and come with large private (and furnished) decks with views over the lake. And a note for TV addicts: forget it! Fair Hills is very much focused on outdoor fun, so TVs aren't provided in your accommodations (and quite right, with so many things to do outside, who wants to stay indoors anyway?).
Accommodation: Fair Hills Resort
10 Gunflint Lodge, Grand Marais
Family-owned and operated for three generations (the oldest building on the property dates back to 1928), Gunflint Lodge in Grand Marais offers a variety of great accommodations for those looking to explore and enjoy the beautiful Northwoods area of Minnesota. As a result, guests can expect a warm welcome and friendly service, whether it be when seeking expert advice on area activities and attractions, or when learning how to get the most out of your stay here. Activities provided include nature hikes and guided canoe trips, fishing, and even wolf howls. Watercraft such as canoes and kayaks are available when needed. The resort also has its own spa.
Consisting of stand-alone cabins and cottages ranging in size from one to four bedrooms, you can expect such features as real fireplaces (plenty of wood provided), kitchens, charcoal barbecues, spacious bathrooms, and daily towel service. If so desired, request one of the units with its own sauna and laundry facilities. Larger groups should consider the five-bedroom Pow Wow Lodge, which sleeps up to 10 guests and also comes with three bathrooms, a large living and seating area, lake view porch, and its own garage.
Accommodation: Gunflint Lodge
11 Arrowwood Resort & Conference Center, Alexandria
Situated in Alexandria and an easy drive from Minneapolis, the four-season Arrowwood Resort & Conference Center is a great choice of destination regardless of your reason for a visit. Sports enthusiasts and convention-goers enjoy it for its championship golf course, while families like the resort's huge, indoor, all-season waterpark, complete with three waterslides, a lazy river, and a kid's splash area. Other notable on-site amenities include a full-service spa and a restaurant.
The guest rooms here are spacious and clean, and come with either a king bed or two queen beds, along with an always handy mini-fridge plus microwave. If available, request one of the king rooms with a view of the lake. These larger units come with a master bedroom, separate living room with a pull-out couch, gas fireplace, kitchenette complete with dishwasher and full fridge, spacious bathroom with a jet bathtub and stand-alone shower, and furnished patio.
Accommodation: Arrowwood Resort & Conference Center
12 Lost Lake Lodge, Nisswa
Historic Lost Lake Lodge has been welcoming vacationers to its charming 80-acre property near Nisswa for more than 70 years. In addition to offering first-rate meals in its dining room (included with your stay), guests can enjoy numerous water activities on Lost Lake - a private lake that's linked to the larger Gull Lake chain - including a water slide, boat rentals, rowboats, canoes, paddleboards, and kayaks. Also fun are the many hiking and biking trails waiting to be explored, nightly campfires, sports such as volleyball and basketball, and the use of fishing rods.
Guests sleep in their own charming and cozy cabin, which comes in a choice of one-, two-, or three-bedroom configurations, each with a wood-burning fireplace, HDTV, pull-out bed, mini-fridge, microwave, coffee maker, and dock. The largest three-bedroom units can sleep up to 10 people comfortably and include a loft seating area, a family room with a pool table and pull-out couch, three full bathrooms, a laundry room, full-kitchen, and furnished screened in porch.
Accommodation: Lost Lake Lodge