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If you’re planning a getaway to the Gull Lake area this year, outdoor and watersports activities may take center stage, but don’t forget about the many shopping opportunities! Quaint downtown areas of Nisswa, Brainerd, Baxter, Crosslake, and others boast unique retail shops filled with treasures just waiting to be discovered.

These Central Minnesota lake towns are booming with cozy cafes and coffee shops, antique stores, bakeries and chocolatiers, and many specialty retailers offering locally sourced and crafted goods that will make the perfect gifts and souvenirs. These are just a few of the many options of things to do in Gull Lake!

In Nisswa

When in downtown Nisswa, it’s impossible to miss the tee-pee-shaped storefront of Northern Gifts & Sweets, where they’re all about Minnesota. From the locally made gifts and sweets to the Minnesota-themed souvenirs and home décor items, the shop carries a large selection of teas, candy, treats, and gift items. Some popular brands include U.G.L.Y. Cheesecake, Canoe Paddle Kettle Corn, and Northern Soda. Located by the turtle racetrack, the unique shop is known for its fudge, taffy, ornaments, jewelry, Minnesota-made signs, engraved tumblers, and locally crafted fishing and hunting brag boards.

Turtle Town Books & Gifts is a truly unique stop in Nisswa. Not only do they offer thousands of books, games, gifts, and toys, their goal is to offer the highest level of knowledgeable, friendly, and personal service. Owners Doug and Mary, along with their canine companion Rainy, are often in the store to greet shoppers. They are devoted to matching customers with the great book, puzzle, game, or gift that will provide hours of entertainment. Because half of the store is devoted to children, they are a great destination for gift buying and vacationing visitors. They choose their games and toys carefully for quality and value, and their puzzle lines are the best. They feature storytimes in the summer that are guaranteed to create great memories.

In Brainerd

Goody’s Gourmet Treats is a place where families can enjoy time together while having a delicious treat. Instantly feel like a kid again in this fun-filled, family atmosphere packed with gourmet treats and gifts for every age. This must-stop experience is a great place to shop for the next family board game or a made-in-Minnesota treat. Located in the historic Northern Pacific train district in beautiful Brainerd, the train yard is still active, creating the opportunity to see working trains daily. The shop’s vintage circus theme is fitting for the era of the building, as well as the smell and taste of fresh homemade popcorn and desserts. Goody’s is home to the Midwest’s finest ice cream and cheesecake made right in the Brainerd Lakes area.

The Olde Open Window has been a hallmark of downtown Brainerd for the last 11 years. Visitors to the store are immediately engulfed in the shop’s vision: “Inspiration for Your Home, Body, and Soul.” Local, one-of-a-kind items for the home include candles, jewelry, handbags, knick-knacks, and antiques. The cozy, relaxing atmosphere is a mix of old, new, and locally handcrafted items. Vintage-inspired clothing, accessories, and primitives abound among a selection of 1803 Soy Candles & Melts and soothing Black Crow Candles. The shop is known for its array of seasonal items and unique gifts, graced by the presence of the boutique’s two mascot kitties, Benny and Junior.


To further celebrate the amazing shopping in the Brainerd Lakes area, locals and visitors alike will enjoy the inaugural Spring Fling in downtown Brainerd on May 7 and 8, 2021. This will be a fun weekend filled with shopping, dining, activities, music, and more!

Hosted by Destination Downtown Brainerd, local businesses will offer great discounts and promotions, as well as a limited number of VIP bags. Shoppers will have a chance to win prizes simply by completing a Spring Fling Passport, which will be available at participating businesses the weekend of the event. Adding ambiance to the event, Lakes Jazz Authority will perform Saturday, May 8 from noon to 2 p.m.

Shopping is just one of the many things to enjoy while in Minnesota. The team at Gull Lake Beach Resorts is here to make sure you have amazing accommodations to match the fun. Contact us today to learn more about our property options and to begin planning your trip!