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When it comes to a well-earned vacation, even a short weekend trip will be impactful when it comes to rest, relaxation, and fun! When you have a weekend to spare, make sure you set your travel sights on scenic Gull Lake, Minnesota. The following are just a few of the many Gull Lake activities you’ll want to be sure to add to make every moment count!

Take a Zipline Tour

When you’re the type of traveler that likes to pair every adventure with adrenaline-pumping fun, time spent enjoying the Brainerd Zipline Tour during your weekend Gull Lake getaway is bound to inspire. This adventure park is located within the parameters of Mount Ski Gull and invites guests to come get a new and thrilling perspective on the beautiful terrain. Brainerd Zipline Tour offers visitors a chance to explore seven different zip lines during a visit as well as time on a soaring suspension bridge and a 50-foot free-fall drop if you’re up for the excitement! No matter what course you’re working on, you’ll be privy to 15 miles of stunning views, giving you a bird’s eye perspective you truly won’t find anywhere else. This is a family-friendly stop that’s sure to please travelers of all ages during your weekend getaway to Gull Lake.

Pirates Cove Adventure Golf

A little friendly competition can go a long way toward turning your fun weekend in Gull Lake into an unforgettable experience every traveler in your crew will love. When you’re up for some weekend fun, head over to Pirates Cove Adventure Golf and make conquering this themed course your goal for the afternoon! Pirates Cove Adventure Golf features pirate-themed décor throughout and offers guests a chance to try their skills on 18 holes during a visit. Complete with water features and caves, this is a mini-golf course that might just be the highlight of your weekend.

Explore Pillsbury State Forest

If you’re the type of traveler that can’t get enough of natural beauty, and you are looking forward to immersing yourself in the great outdoors during a weekend to Gull Lake, time exploring Pillsbury State Forest is a must! This sprawling area of protected and lush terrain is found within the heart of Cass County. Since opening to the public in 1900, this state forest continues to captivate those with a passion for time outside. Head this way to make the most of the towering trees, wildlife spotting, or meticulously maintained trails that offer up adventure and options to photograph beautiful surroundings as well. This is a local and much-loved recreational stop used for hiking, biking, exploring, and enjoying in equal measure. Be sure to check it out while you’re here!

Hike a Trail in Gull Lake Recreation Area

If you’re looking to lace up those hiking boots and enjoy time on the trails, the Gull Lake Recreation Area has everything you’re searching for and more. Situated off of East Gull Lake Drive, this recreation area boasts beautiful trails to explore that can accommodate trekkers of all ages and skill levels. Along the way, you might be lucky enough to spot everything from whitetail deer and otters to bald eagles if you keep your eyes on the skies. This recreation area also hosts designated camping destinations as well as multiple playgrounds for little ones looking to burn off some excess energy! Boating, hiking, fishing, and swimming are all allowed within the Gull Lake Recreation Area.

Spend Time at Roadhouse Brewery

No matter when you make your way to Gull Lake for a fun weekend adventure, including some savory stops should definitely be a part of the experience. That’s where Roadhouse Brewery comes into the picture. Located on Smiley Road in Nisswa, Roadhouse Brewery is a great place to kick back, relax, and sip time away alongside those you love most. This destination is known and loved for its amazing variety of craft beer selections, but they proudly offer much more! Stopping here to enjoy some time away from the grind can include an ax-throwing session when you’re not delighting in the versatile menu options. Whether you’re in the mood for tacos, fish, guacamole, or chips, Roadhouse Brewery has it all. To make things even better, you’re likely to find that there’s a live musical performance underway when you drop by. This makes for a meal that’s not only savory but equally entertaining! Come and choose from a rotating selection of innovative beers or stick with something more traditional upon request. Either way, the choice is yours and you can count on pairing it with friendly service and a great atmosphere.

Book Your Gull Lake Getaway Today

There’s no reason to wait when you’re ready to enjoy the best that Gull Lake has to offer. This scenic and inspiring destination is great whether you have a just a single weekend or multiple weeks to enjoy the fun and activities. Reach out to Gull Lake Beach Resorts today to learn more about our many rental options in the area that will put that luxurious and comfortable touch that you deserve into your Gull Lake adventure.

Heading to Gull Lake, Minnesota any time of year is a treat. That said, for those who are excited to make the most of the changing colors and the views, there’s something special about a fall trip complete with some scenic drives on the itinerary. The following are just a few routes to consider enjoying when you’re next in town!

Enjoy a Tour Around Gull Lake and Savor the Sights

Gull Lake is a gorgeous place to explore by vehicle in the fall and when you’re looking for a comprehensive route to show you the best of it all, begin at Highway 210 and 371 near Brainerd before heading north to County Road 77. This is the road that will take you towards the southern shores of Gull Lake and from here, you can circle the entire area with ease!

The beauty of a trip this way is that while you’re taking in the dynamic landscapes, you’ll also be privy to some pristine landmarks. A few include the area’s famous legacy golf courses that draw in pros and novices alike. If you’re the type of traveler who can’t wait to get out on the greens, these sights may inspire you to expand on your post-drive itinerary!

All of that said, the drive around Gull Lake promises to be an inspiring and scenic one. There’s a maintenance road off of County State Aid Highway 1 along this route that leads to a lookout at the top of Mount Ski Gull. If you’re into panoramic views that have you lingering longer than you planned, this is the place to be. If you’re lucky enough to be here while the leaves are changing colors, this is the ultimate leaf-peeping spot. Once you’ve grabbed your photos, jump back in the car and continue following County Road 77. You’ll make your way through Sherwood Forest and eventually end up at the northern shores of the lake where you can continue sightseeing or stop in at one of the many restaurants for a well-deserved meal.

Explore the Paul Bunyan Scenic Byway

A trip to Gull Lake focused on fantastic sightseeing can’t be considered complete without at least one drive enjoyed along the Paul Bunyan Scenic Byway. In total, this route is 54 miles long and is comprised of pristine country roads that connect Crow Wing and Cass counties seamlessly. While the hiking and walking trails that follow this route are sure to inspire, driving it is a good way to take it all in when you want to cover a larger area or perhaps have less time to spend. Driving along the Paul Bunyan Scenic Byway is a great chance to enjoy views of 14 different area jurisdictions that are dotted with lakes, parks, preserves, and recreation areas alike. This makes it simple to pair your sightseeing with some stopovers in the name of fun—particularly helpful if you’re traveling through with little ones in tow! Along this route, when you reach the intersection with CSAH 66, you’ll find yourself heading north which offers up a glimpse of the Whitefish Chain. A bit further south, you can choose to explore Pelican Lake if you’d like!

Make a Drive Through Pillsbury State Forest a Priority This Fall

Situated along scenic County Road 77, Pillsbury State Forest is a must-see when you’re looking for scenic drives near Gull Lake. Head towards Pillsbury Forest Road, which encompasses the southernmost line along CR 77. Once you’re here, you’ll have three options when it comes to intersections to choose from. That means a customized adventure at every turn! Do note that these routes tend to be minimum-maintenance forest roads, so it’s a good idea to have the four-wheel drive in place before you head in. If you are ready for the adventure, you can look forward to sights like Stump Lake as well as the Assembly Area and Horse Campground. Those with a passion for history will want to be sure to head towards the homestead on site dating back to 1886. Link up with Beauty Lake Forest Road from which explorers can find views of four different lakes during the excursion. Continue on County Road 1 for just under a mile to reach Orchard Park Lane which provides a path to Rock Lake and the campground there too.

Book Your Gull Lake Getaway Today

There’s never been a better time to plan your Gull Lake getaway and no reason to hesitate when you can’t wait to make the most of the fun. Let the property professionals at Gull Lake Beach Resorts handle all the details of your vacation rental so that when you arrive, the only thing left to do is focus on all the fun that awaits. Reach out today to learn more about our many beautiful property options in the area and to start planning. We can’t wait to see you in Gull Lake soon!

Looking to fill your itinerary with fall fun while visiting Gull Lake? There’s no shortage of beautiful fall scenery to enjoy this time of year, either from the land or the water. The area surrounding Gull Lake is bursting with vibrant fall colors this time of year, and the crisp, cool air provides the perfect setting for snuggling by a fire.

Minnesota fall color tours have become a great tradition for many who can’t wait to enjoy breathtaking views of nature’s scarlet sumac and maple, golden oak, and glowing yellow birch. The foliage is much like a painting coming to life, allowing the trees to break free from their uniform greens to reveal their true personalities through the many shades of fall color.

There are several popular routes near Gull Lake that provide terrific views of autumn on display. Some like to circle the lake itself via County Road 77 and Highway 371. Others prefer to go off the beaten path to the Paul Bunyan Scenic Byway or to neighboring routes along Bay Lake and Round Lake.

Another great fall tour is available along the west side of Gull Lake at Pillsbury State Forest, the oldest state forest in Minnesota. The area is home to a variety of colorful deciduous trees, as well as many horse riding trails, hiking trails and picnic areas.

For photographers, fall in the Brainerd Lakes area is the perfect time to capture colorful scenes and unique birds and wildlife. Bike trails often include paths that wind through some beautifully wooded areas, offering a fresh and more intimate perspective. Families will enjoy making a game out of seeing how many different fall colors they can spot, or the number of wildlife unique to the area. Though Gull Lake is by far our favorite, it’s no surprise that in the “Land of 10,000 Lakes” you won’t venture too far without seeing a new body of water encircled by the dazzling hues of fall color.

It’s hard to imagine a vacation to the Brainerd Lakes area without some time spent on the water, whether in your own vessel or someone else’s. Bring your boat to dock with one of our rented boat lifts or rent one of our fleet for the day or the week. Gull Lake Beach Resorts has two new pontoons that can each hold 14 passengers, as well as a state-of-the-art fishing boat for four. Any of these crafts would be a great way to tool around the lake, casting a fishing line or simply leaf peeping from the water.

And if you hurry, you might be able to catch one of the final professionally chartered boat trips of the season with Gull Lake Cruises. An affordable way to experience the lake, these outings add a touch of elegance to any Central Minnesota visit. Offering both public cruises and private charters, two-level yacht is a perfect way to experience the serenity of the lake. The $1.8 million, 65’ long by 22’ wide vessel called ‘North Star’ can accommodate up to 116 passengers.

Typically, the peak fall colors in the Nisswa/Brainerd area can be experienced from late September to early October, but each year the variance of displays depends on location, precipitation and temperatures.


After cruising around taking in the fall beauty, come back to your peaceful cabin and enjoy a glass of wine or hot chocolate and a s’more by the fire. At Gull Lake Beach Resorts, we have everything you need to escape the day-to-day routine and enjoy special time with loved ones – with a front-row seat to the spectacular autumn beauty. Whether you’re looking for seclusion or for a family gathering spot, we have a place for you. Contact us today to book your fall getaway!

Finding time to get away to enjoy a well-deserved vacation in and around Gull Lake, Minnesota is a treat no matter when you arrive. This scenic and inviting stop has a way of turning first-time visitors into those who return year after year in the pursuit of even more adventure and fun. While a summer trip this direction is filled with opportunities to get out on the water, hike the trails, and make the most of outdoor moments complete with fresh air and breathtaking scenery, fall has its fair share of exciting reasons to come to Gull Lake as well.

Among them is the annual Oktoberfest celebration and associated Pub Crawl. This event is a vibrant and flavorful one that beckons to beer enthusiasts from near and far each year. Whether you’re an avid beer connoisseur or you’re just looking to take part in celebrating the season, the Oktoberfest celebration and Pub Crawl promises to be a highlight event and one you just won’t want to miss out on while you’re in town in 2021.

Be a Part of Oktoberfest!

This year, Oktoberfest’s Pub Crawl will be taking place on October 2.  It’s an amazing opportunity for participants to not only get a comprehensive tour of Gull Lake in all its glory, but a flavorful moment to experience the best this area has to offer in the way of German-inspired fare and beverages! You’ll meet up with a group of other participants ready to make the most of the fun as well and will certainly be introduced to savory moments that you won’t soon forget.

Pub Crawl Logistics

Oktoberfest is a well-known celebration that happens across the globe. With origins dating back to 1810, Oktoberfest has managed to grow in popularity through the centuries. While it has its roots in Germany, Oktoberfest is alive and well in Gull Lake, Minnesota in 2021, much to the delight of locals and visitors alike. Recreating this vibrant, savory, and welcoming experience is an honor that the area is excited to be a part of!

Year after year, the pub crawl has a way of being a highlight of the festival that participants look forward to. Every pub crawl participant will be asked to pay a nominal entry fee to get things kicked off. Once you’re signed and paid up, participants will enjoy access to a pub crawl shuttle that will carry you to a series of savory locations around Gull Lake in style. A few of these include Zorbaz, Ernie’s, The Side Track, Cowboy’s, Jake’s, and Roundhouse Brewery, among others.

Every pub crawl ticket purchased gives participants a chance to win prizes at the different locations they’ll visit. Past winners have walked away from the pub crawl as the proud new owners of sample beers, JELLO shots, or discounted future drinks! Every pub crawl participant receives a card that gets punched when they arrive at the various locations on their itinerary. If you’re a participant who manages to get every location stamped, you’ll be eligible to have your name in the raffle for a grand prize pub crawl drawing at the end of the evening.

A Pub Crawl with a Purpose

Yes, the Gull Lake Oktoberfest pub crawl promises to be fun and delicious. That said, it’s also a pub crawl with a specific purpose! Proceeds from ticket sales for the pub crawl go directly to the Confidence Learning Center as well as the local Food Shelf and Soup Kitchen. In this way, participants can have an amazing experience while also feeling great about contributing to these worthwhile causes. Tickets for the pub crawl are available in advance at all sponsoring locations and online at GullLakeEvents.com. The cost is $30 per person and a shuttle runs between 3:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. ensuring patrons can “crawl” safely between locations.

Book Your Gull Lake Getaway Today

Whether you can’t wait to participate in Oktoberfest activities or happen to be in town for other fall fun festivities, the property professionals at Gull Lake Beach Resorts are here to make sure you have the accommodations in place to match the moment. Our rentals pair luxury with comfort and convenience, ensuring every guest who books with us keeps close to the places they can’t wait to explore while living in style. Reach out today to learn more about our many area rental options and to begin planning your next trip. We look forward to welcoming you to Minnesota soon!

The opportunity to pack your suitcase and travel to Gull Lake is always an exciting one. But for every adventure you have on your itinerary, there’s something exciting about those home-inspired brunch moments that are savory and enjoyable too. When your travel plans bring you to town, the following are three Sunday brunch restaurants in Gull Lake that you just won’t want to miss out on while you’re here!

Front Street Café

Finding time to relax and unwind in Gull Lake, Minnesota isn’t hard to do, but having a brunch planned at Front Street Café at least one day of your stay is sure to elevate the experience even further! Situated at 616 Front Street in Brainerd, Front Street Café is just the right place to curb a craving in good company. This inviting and cozy café is well-loved by local and visiting brunch enthusiasts alike. Step inside with the entire family in tow and take a seat in a dining room designed to inspire feelings of home-comfort and welcome at every turn. Tables are cozy and paired with wood paneled walls complete with whiteboards listing daily specials. Overall, the ambiance is one that inspires feelings of nostalgia for an era of simplicity gone by. Front Street Café is a place where it’s simple to settle in next to family and friends or make new acquaintances sitting at the table right beside you. The atmosphere is friendly, the color palette is warm, and the service is top-notch, making it a place people are happy to return to time and again.

The menu at Front Street Café is versatile and vast, offering up something savory for everyone. Those that can’t wait to dig into delicious breakfast fare will find they can easily order up everything from pancakes and waffles to cinnamon rolls, French toast, eggs, bacon and beyond. For the brunch goer who is more inclined to lean towards lunch-inspired fare, the menu features options like sandwiches, burgers, and corn dog baskets too! Pick and choose or order up a platter with a little bit of it all. Either way, your tastebuds are sure to thank you.

Flame Nutrition

Enjoying a delicious brunch near Gull Lake doesn’t have to be an experience in sabotaging your diet. For those who are excited to enjoy a savory, yet equally nutritious brunch while they’re in town, heading over to Flame Nutrition promises to be a great idea! Located at 15175 Edgewood Drive N. Suite 140 in Baxter, Flame Nutrition is a popular health food restaurant that serves up savory and memorable options guests can always feel good about. From shakes and smoothies to teas infused with healthy goodness, guests will find it easy to sip their way through brunch, feeling proud of their healthy choices too! Settle into charming and decidedly green-themed surroundings when you head to Flame Nutrition, and if you’re not sure where to start on the menu, the on-site staff are well-versed and happy to help. The menu here includes options like pomegranate and raspberry teas, or full meal replacement shakes packed with protein and flavor. If you’re headed out for a day filled with outdoor fun, Flame Nutrition is a good place to fuel up so you can sustain well on the trails or slopes. This is definitely not your traditional brunch stop, but it’s bound to be a highlight of your brunch experiences while you’re in town. Fueling up for success is what they do best at Flame Nutrition.

Iron Waffle Coffee Company

When brunch brings that traditional pancake and waffle moment right to mind, there’s no better place to find yourself than the Iron Waffle Coffee Company in Nisswa. Located at 8785 Interlachen Road, the Iron Waffle Coffee Company is open to the public between 8:00 am and 3:00 pm every day of the week! All they ask is that you bring your appetite because the menu here is designed to impress. While the coffee and espresso lineup is sure to delight those who could use a serious caffeine kick, the specialty waffle section of the menu is where the savory moments start. From the waffle ice cream sandwich to the peanut butter cup stack, there’s truly something for every waffle enthusiast out there! If you feel the need to sprinkle a bit of salty in there, try the breakfast sandwich or a fully loaded bagel too.

Reach Out Today

There’s something for everyone to enjoy in Gull Lake, Minnesota and knowing you have accommodations in place that keep you close to the fun makes it all the better. Reach out to Gull Lake Beach Resorts today to learn more about our many rental property options in the area and to begin planning your next trip. We can’t wait to see you in Minnesota soon!

The beauty of a Gull Lake, Minnesota getaway often lies in the versatile options for fun that this dynamic destination offers up. Whether you’re one for time spent in the great outdoors, love live entertainment, or can’t wait to savor time relaxing and resting up, Gull Lake is a great place to do it all. This Labor Day, there’s no better place to find yourself than Gull Lake. Whether you’re in town solo, as a couple, or with the entire family, Gull Lake is a sensational destination to make the most of time dining, shopping, exploring, and enjoying your surroundings every step of the way. The following are a few Labor Day activities you won’t want to miss when you’re here this year!

Mark Mraz Live at Ernie’s on Gull Lake

If you’re the type of Labor Day traveler that can’t wait to pair fun and flavor with some fantastic live entertainment, you’ll want to plan on heading over to Ernie’s on Gull Lake on September 6th between 1:00 pm and 4:00 pm. This popular eatery is hosting Mark Mraz live on Labor Day much to the delight of the dining and listening public! Ernie’s on Gull is located at 10424 Squaw Point Road in Brainerd and it’s sure to be a well-attended holiday weekend event. Arrive early to get good seating and order up something savory to pair with the great sounds. Ernie’s on Gull Lake is a good place to order everything from steak and soup to burgers or lobster bisque. Pairing your plate with a beer, wine, or handcrafted cocktail is sure to top off your Labor Day fun in savory style.

Check Out Paul Bunyan Land

If you happen to be heading to the Gull Lake area over Labor Day with the entire family in tow, there’s something fun waiting for everyone at Paul Bunyan Land. This inviting amusement park is located at 17553 MN-18 in Brainerd and is open Friday to Tuesday between 10:00 am and 6:00 pm. If you’ve arrived at This Old Farm, you’ll know you’re in the right place. Paul Bunyan Land is home to a 26-foot tall, animated statue of Paul Bunyan himself that does plenty of talking much to the delight of guests! While you’re here, you can enjoy time on over 27 rides that are suitable for visitors of all ages. This amusement park has been an icon of the Gull Lakes region since its opening in 1954. A stop here is a great way to spend time with loved ones over Labor Day while also becoming a part of the area’s rich history!

Explore the Safari North Wildlife Park

Labor Day marks the end of the summer season and as such, it’s a great time to make the most of any sunshine and warmth that remains. A wonderful way to celebrate the holiday with family and friends in this area is to head over to the Safari North Wildlife Park while you’re in town. This private zoo and local conservation center is found at 8493 MN-371 in Brainerd and is open to the public daily from 9:00 am until 6:00 pm. It’s an amazing family outing experience that puts you close to nature and some of the most incredible creatures on the planet. Guests will learn about conservation efforts to keep species thriving well into the future while also enjoying options for hands-on experiences with animals while visiting. The Safari North Wildlife Park is a great place to enjoy time feeding giraffes, catch a view of lions, hyenas, and monkeys or see wildebeest and bison roam. A convenient tour train gives guests a comprehensive view of the park while options to book a behind-the-scenes tour are readily available a well. When you’re looking to add a touch of the wild into your Labor Day adventures, this is the place to start!

Get Out on the Water

Before the cold weather rolls in, Labor Day in Gull Lake is a great chance to make the most of on-the-water fun towards the end of the season. We have our very own boat rentals available for guest use, including our Deluxe Premier Tri-Toon and more. If you’re looking to enjoy a day (or more) of water fun, be sure to give us a call and secure your boat rental!

Book Your Adventure to Gull Lake

When you’re ready to enjoy every moment of your Labor Day, Gull Lake, Minnesota is a wonderful place to do exactly that. Let the team at Gull Lake Beach Resorts handle your accommodation details so when you arrive in town, all that’s left to do is focus on the fun! Reach out today to learn more about our many property options that pair luxury and comfort seamlessly. We can’t wait to help you start planning your next incredible trip and see you in Gull Lake soon!

There’s no doubt that Gull Lake boasts some of the best views in the state of Minnesota. Between the beautiful beach and mountain views, Gull Lake is an ideal destination for those looking to photograph every moment of their vacation. For a family vacation or even a weekend away with friends, it’s not difficult to find a beautiful background for some great photos. If you’re spending August 19th in Gull Lake, you’ll want to check out these places for National Photography Day. Located in Nisswa or Brainerd, these locations will all be a short drive from Gull Lake Beach Resorts and surrounded by great places to eat and shop.


Chances are if you’ve heard of Minnesota, you’ve heard of Paul Bunyan. Legend has it that Minnesota’s lakes were created by Paul Bunyan exploring the state with his giant footprints filling with water. While visiting, it is a rite of passage to snap a picture with the famous lumberjack, Paul Bunyan. There’s plenty of things to do in Nisswa surrounding the topic of Paul Bunyan, and one of the most picture-worthy is this popular tourist attraction where many will visit just for a photo with the statues. Built in 1937, Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox are the original Minnesota roadside destination. So, pack your children up in the car and visit Paul Bunyan Park, where Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox stand waiting for a photo with you.


Wall murals have become an Instagram cult favorite, providing an easy but colorful background for pictures. Wall murals are something you can find in any city now, in any design or color palette of your choice. On National Photography Day, wall murals are the coolest way to spice up your photo album. The “You Betcha” mural located on 711 Laurel in Brainerd brings so much color to the street. A popular mural on social media, “You Betcha” has an awesome origin story behind it. Created by a local Brainerd artist, Tony Powers outlined the sketch on the brick wall, but invited community members to color inside the lines. So not only is the mural itself unique, but the story and creation of it is too.

Another mural created by a Nisswa native, Samantha French engineered a truly life-like mural next door to Big Axe Brewing Company. This mural features a girl underwater, like she is coming up from taking a jump into the lake. She is painted with a lifelike color palette and the water around her is full of depth illustrated by deep blues and greens. This mural is perfect for anyone looking to diversify their social medias but it’s also ideal for anyone behind the camera. As a photographer, it is always rewarding to capture a challenging background like this. If you’re the photographer or the photographed, this mural is sure to spice up National Photography Day.


A more traditional and family favorite place to take photos just happens to be something that Gull Lake and surrounding areas have in spades. Whether it be a couples photography shoot or capturing an extended family reunion, a dock is a timeless place for photos. Perfect for any time of year, dock photos capture the loving essence of family without a distracting background. However you want to spend National Photography Day, a dock should be on your list of places to visit for a photo. Right now, the trees are full of beautiful green leaves which would create the best landscape alongside the sparkling blue water. As far as picking a dock for photos, the Gull Lake area is packed with docks that would be suitable for a photoshoot. Just drive around Gull Lake and it won’t take long to find a dock.

If you’re ready to take National Photography Day to the next level, we’d be honored to be a part of that mission. Gull Lake Beach Resorts is located on the East side of Gull Lake, where you can easily make plans to visit all the National Photography Day suggested locations. Contact us today to book your lakeside cabin and make sure to pack your camera for National Photography Day!




While visiting Gull Lake, there’s no doubt you’ll spend time on the water and explore all the nature, shopping, restaurants and touristy things the area has to offer. You can certainly check out the local Minnesota wildlife around the lake, but what about the more exotic varieties? Snow leopards, vervet monkeys, caracals, and a number of lions, tigers and bears all make their home at Safari North Wildlife Park in Brainerd.

Safari North is a unique outdoor park loaded with opportunities to learn more about animals while making lasting family memories. In addition to critter peeping, kids and adults alike will enjoy all the activities the zoo has to offer. The park proprietors, Kevin and Kelly Vogel, have dedicated their life’s work to wildlife care and conservation and have curated quite the collection of animal exhibits for their guests to enjoy!


Feeding Jigsaw and Puzzles, the park’s two giraffes, should be at the top of your list of park activities. The duo always loves a free handout, and it’s a great way to get up close and personal with a zoo resident. Another way is to hitch a ride on the ‘ships of the desert,’ aka, the zoo’s camels! It’s a unique experience, and the camels provide a bird’s-eye view of the grasslands exhibit.

Other close-up opportunities can be found at the park’s Parakeet Encounter where you can mingle with hundreds of birds that hang out in the parakeet landing. Little ones especially love the Barn Yard and Petting Area, a great place to feed and pet all the domestic animals that roam this miniature farm.

Safari North also has a mining sluice for experiencing how miners of the past discovered their treasure. Kids are always enthralled by the Dino Dig and a chance to make the next big discovery, as well as the play area featuring a playground and giant climb-on spider web. At the Jungle Jumpers attraction, see how your jumping ability stacks up against the jumping power of animals around the world.

Finally, brand new this year is the park’s 10-acre Safari Expedition where you’ll see lions, hyenas, monkeys, zebras, wildebeest, bison, eland, nilgai, ostrich, emu and more. Ten acres sounds like a big area, but not to worry, the zoo has a new locomotive train to make it an easy trip for everyone.


Safari North hosts a wide array of mammals, reptiles, primates, birds and even some endangered species within its gates. These animals come from all over the world, specifically Asia, Africa, South America, Australia, and some from closer to our home here in North America.

On the park’s Africa trail, you can see a host of animals that you’d see if you were on safari, including flamingo, addax, hyena, wart hog, monkeys, porcupine, tortoise, jackal, and kudu. The Asia trail takes you on a tour of the greatest continent, with opportunities to view antelope, water buffalo, leopards, macaque, deer, and tiger.

The diversity of climate and vegetation in South America makes those animals unique and often unusual. South American animals adapt to conditions ranging from the rain forests of the Amazon to the mountains and volcanoes of the Andes. On the park’s South America trail, you can view rhea, llama, alpaca, macaw, kinkajou, and brahma.

Most of the zoo’s animals representing Australia are unique to that continent. On this trail, you’ll enjoy seeing the kangaroo, wallaby, kookaburra, parrot and emu. In contrast to those exotic species, the North America trail features more familiar animals such as raccoon, fox, squirrel, bear, coyote, owl, eagle, cougar, alligator, wolf and bobcat.


Unforgettable adventure awaits at Safari North Wildlife Park. Plan to spend the entire day to watch all the animal antics, experience all the activities and attractions, and take lots of photos at the various designated photo spots – don’t miss the giant grizzly and the waterwheel! The park has a “Snack Shack” with some great options for lunch, or just a quick snack and drink, as well as a gift shop with tons of souvenir items to remember the trip.

Don’t forget: no pets or outside food is allowed in the park, which is also smoke free. The zoo closes for the season on October 3, 2021, so plan now to get your visit in before the animals have to hibernate for winter. Contact us today to book your lakeside cabin and begin planning all your fun-filled vacation activities in lakes country. The wildlife is waiting for you!


There are times in life when a vacation booked for a high-energy destination is in the cards. There are other times when a secluded summer rental is the right choice. This year, consider taking a breath and a beat and enjoying the peace, tranquility, and opportunity that awaits in a secluded rental option. The following are just a few of the many reasons you’ll love a secluded rental near Gull Lake—don’t be surprised if it becomes your new favorite vacation mode!

Make the Most of Time in Nature

When life gets busy and stress builds, one of the best routes to resetting your internal sense of calm is to simply take time to get into nature. Booking a secluded rental for summer vacation is a great chance to immerse yourself in natural beauty and step away from triggers that keep tension levels high. As you take time to appreciate your surroundings and connect with the basics, you’ll be able to feel that stress melt away one beautiful view, hike, or stroll at a time.

Enjoy Quality Family Bonding Time

For all of the beauty a secluded rental for summer vacation offers up, it’s also a chance to unwind and spend some quality, uninterrupted time with your family. In an age of endless digital distractions, making the most of quality time with those you love is sometimes easier said than done. Booking a stay that keeps you away from the daily grind, responsibilities, and maybe even the phone is a great way to reconnect with family and enjoy each other’s company. Scenic surroundings also provide endless options for fun activities that can be enjoyed together as a group. From family walks to time on the water, your secluded summer rental is a gateway to refocusing on spending that much-needed time together.

Take an Opportunity to Reset the Mind and Body Without Distractions

Despite what the ads may tell you, you don’t have to shell out the big bucks to attend a high-profile yoga or meditation retreat when you can get the same results by booking a secluded summer vacation rental of your very own. Many group yoga and meditation retreats are designed to help participants enjoy time away and a chance to focus on the internal without external distractions; that’s exactly what a secluded vacation rental can provide! Consider booking a stay this summer that offers up peaceful surroundings far from any bustling city centers. Here, you can enjoy time meditating, practicing yoga, and reconnecting with yourself in the same way you would if you were to reserve your place at a retreat.

Find Inspiration Away from the Crowds

If you’re a traveler who also happens to be an artist dealing with any type of creative block, booking a stay in a secluded rental could be the answer you’ve been searching for. Sometimes, a new destination, peaceful scenery, and a chance to reflect stress-free is all it takes to open the creative floodgates once again. Even if you’re not having any type of writer’s or artist’s block, a secluded stay could offer up some unexpected inspiration that you can carry home with you and include in your next creative project!

You’ll Be Able to Focus on Hobbies You Love

Life is full of distractions. There are a million reasons to focus on work and responsibilities and put those hobbies and activities we’re actually passionate about on the back burner. When you book a secluded vacation rental in the summer, you’ll have an opportunity to reverse that pattern for once! Taking time out of a busy schedule to focus on those activities you love is refreshing and revitalizing. Feel free to make it a stay where you spend time practicing an instrument, listening to music, reading, writing, or exploring the great outdoors. As long as it’s something you’re passionate about, it’s worth your while.

You’ll Be Doing Something Different, and That’s a Good Thing

Breaking out of the routine from time to time is important for personal growth. If you’re a person that tends to stick to rigid schedules, making time to book a stay in a secluded vacation rental where there is no to-do list involved could be an amazing and new experience for you! Getting outside of your comfort zone is a good way to see what else you might enjoy. If you’re someone who always books vacations to bustling city centers, changing things up with a secluded and scenic stay could be a good way to dig a bit deeper and enjoy something new on every level. Give it a try!

Book Your Gull Lake Getaway Today

When you’re ready to turn your Gull Lake getaway plans into a reality, the team at Gull Lake Beach Resorts is here to help. Reach out today to learn more about our many rental property options in the area. We can’t wait to see you in Minnesota soon!

During your visit to the Gull Lake area of Central Minnesota, you’ll likely enjoy countless amenities the area has to offer – the lake, golf, shopping, nature, and of course EATING! Our serene corner of the world is dotted not only by lakes and trees but also some terrific dining spots sure to please any palate.

Sometimes vacationers have a hard time finding good places to eat. After all, the locals tend to want to keep the best spots to themselves. But we’re here to make your visit all that it can be, and that includes sharing this list of our favorite Gull Lake restaurants.


Chances are you’ve not seen anything quite like Zorbaz, the local pizza and Mexican joint. The food is the traditional burrito-pizza-nacho fare served up in a backdrop of loud visual design. Zorbaz has a string of lakeside eateries throughout the state, and the one on Gull Lake has a roomy patio for al fresco dining. Inside, two levels separate the families from the later night crowd.

Claiming the lake area’s best beer selection, Zorbaz whips up homemade pizza dough and salsa on the daily. You can arrive by car, boat, snowmobile or float plane, and there’s always games for kids of all ages. Lunches are served fast and hot, and dinners are relaxed and tasty. Zorbaz knows how to please a crowd, as there’s always a special event, including happy hours, dance parties, trivia, and live music.

If you fall in love with the place and want to check out all 11 locations, be sure to grab your Zorbaz Tour Passport for a sweet prize once you’ve completed the quest. Don’t miss Zorbaz – pizza, Mexican, Minnezotan!


Cowboy’s calls itself a family restaurant and watering hole. Since 2011, they’ve been serving customers fantastic food and beverage choices in a friendly, inviting atmosphere. If you like something a bit different and not on the main drag, Cowboy’s is a great choice – all three meals a day.

Named by Expedia as one of Minnesota’s best places to escape, Cowboy’s is not far from Brainerd, and the drive to Lakeshore on Hwy 371 provides an amazing view of Gull Lake. Past diners have highly recommended Cowboy’s apple fritter French toast, fish sandwich (any of them!), and hamburger with egg. Cowboy’s offers a kids menu, weekly specials, and menu items that cater to special dietary needs.


Bar Harbor is committed to providing the best customer service experience possible. Whether you enjoy one of their Certified Angus Beef products such as the filet mignon, or if you are just stopping in for a drink or two at happy hour, the staff is focused on doing everything possible to ensure you have the best experience.

With legendary beginnings as a casino in 1938, Bar Harbor has a long and sorted history that includes a winter-storm roof collapse in the 1940s and an arson fire in the 1960s. It evolved over the years from a hot spot for Minnesota minors to a dinner and dancing destination for locals. Then in 2012, the restaurant underwent a full makeover with a new focus on high-quality food and service. Though the facility itself has undergone many changes, the commitment to the residents of the Brainerd area has continued for decades.

With steady year-round business, Bar Harbor is perched on the shore of Gull Lake, and the “charcoal fine dining” makes it a popular summer resident hangout. There’s usually entertainment on summer weekends, and wine aficionados can enjoy their own bottles or sample from the onsite wine cellar selection.


If you’re looking for a family restaurant with excellent food as well as great service, then Ganley’s Restaurant is the place. Offering a wide assortment of tasty foods, including various dinner specials, hamburgers, sandwiches, salads, ice cream cones, floats, and malts, Ganley’s also features an assortment of candies, fresh baked pies, caramel rolls and muffins.

Located on the corner of Main St. and Hwy 371 in the heart of Nisswa, Ganley’s is close to all the town’s wonderful shops and attractions. Come for breakfast and shop for the rest of the day. Ganley’s serves breakfast all day for those late risers. Enjoy sidewalk dining on Gull Lake’s beautiful warm summer days. And if you want some physical exercise, the restaurant is only a few steps from the famous Paul Bunyan Trail with its scenic beauty suitable for hiking, biking, and (in winter) snowmobiling.


Also located in historic downtown Nisswa, Main Street Ale House is a spot to enjoy authentic dining, 30 tap beers, wine, spirits and much more! This unique dining experience can be followed by a stroll up and down the boardwalk to visit the boutique shops Nisswa is known for. Open beginning at 11 a.m. (or 10 a.m. for Sunday brunch), Main Street boasts gourmet creations designed by renowned local chef Paul Fitzpatrick, who grew up in the Gull Lake area and attended the Art Institute International in culinary studies.

Start with a signature cocktail (cheers to the Main Street Mule and Cucumber Breeze!) and delicious appetizer like the Chicken Curry Meatballs or Grilled Octopus. Then move to one of the scrumptious burgers, sandwiches, tacos or salads. Main Street entrée highlights include the Jambalaya, Walleye, and Roasted Confit Duck. And be sure to save room for the famous Cast Iron Cookie!


A visit to Gull Lake just wouldn’t be complete without a visit to Ernie’s on Gull located on the southeast side of Gull Lake. Offering lunch and dinner in a perfect lakeside setting, Ernie’s has patio seating that is almost on top of the lake, with 10-mile views across the water.

Started by Finnish immigrant and carpenter Ernie Ritari in the early 1900s, the property was founded in a long tradition of family hospitality. Formerly known as Ron’s Steak House, Ron’s on Squaw Point, and the Butcher Block, Ernie’s came back to its roots under the management of Brainerd locals, Chris and Mike Foy. The Foy brothers spent their childhood around East Gull Lake, frequenting the restaurant, which now strives to provide a fun, personalized dining experience.

Now with two venues on Ernie’s property – the beloved Ernie’s on Gull and the new On Point Burger Company – Executive Chef Tower Kruse and his expert culinary team have put together menus that cater to the tastes and trends of today while embracing the items that have been staples here for many years. Ernie’s takes pride in using only top-quality food and the freshest ingredients – from hand-cut Walleye to house made Lobster Bisque, you’ll find a new favorite every time you visit!


If you’re looking for a fun, family-friendly place to escape from reality and soak in the great outdoors, Central Minnesota can’t be beat. Located right on Gull Lake’s best beaches, and in the heart of the best adventures nature has to offer, Gull Lake Beach Resorts is ready to host your next exciting vacation getaway. Great dining options won’t be far away!

Don’t forget that many establishments in the area operate on a seasonal schedule, so be sure to confirm the days, hours, and reservation policies before you go. You can call directly or pick up a local “shopper” or weekly newspaper in the area for the latest updates. Contact us today to book your lakeside cabin and begin planning all your fun-filled vacation and dining activities in lakes country.