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The Brainerd Lakes area plays host to a full slate of Halloween activities leading up to the big day and of course, on October 31st as well. With fall colors all around and typically mild temperatures, it’s fun to check out all the Halloween happenings, from family-friendly, candy-filled events to those more on the spooky side!

This time of year in Central Minnesota is bursting with excitement for crisp, cool air, the return of crackling fires, and enjoying the seasonal bounty of apples and pumpkins. From hayrides to harvest festivals, the best of fall can be found around Gull Lake.


Copper Creek Garden Center on Hwy. 371 will host a pumpkin carving workshop on October 23 from 2 to 4 p.m. Pick your pumpkin, carve it while enjoying hot cider or chocolate, and leave the mess! Take a photo of your creation at the onsite picture station and post it on social media to enter the center’s contest. Prizes range from $50 to $150!

Also on the 23rd, Historic Hauntings, sponsored by the Nisswa Area Historical Society, features an evening of games, candy and prizes for kids under 10 from 6 to 8 p.m., followed by a scary tour of the buildings and grounds of The Nisswa History Center and Museum from 8 to 10 p.m.

On October 30, the Nisswa Fire Department will hold its 23rd annual Haunted Barn and Hayrides. With not-so-scary activities from 5 to 6 p.m., followed by scary hours from 6 to 8:30 p.m., attendees will enjoy bonfires, games, concessions, and some friendly tricks and treats.

Gather the little goblins together for the Nisswa American Legion’s annual Children’s Halloween Party on October 31 from 1-3 p.m. in the Legion parking lot. Specifically for kids 10 and under, the event will provide hot dogs, trick-or-treat bags, and prizes.

Later that day from 3 to 4:30 p.m., Lutheran Church of the Cross will host a costumed Truck-or-Treat in the church parking lot, complete with treats, decorated trunks, and carnival games hosted by the church youth.


Brainerd welcomes all guys and ghouls to its annual Trick-or-Treat Spooktacular on October 30 across the downtown area. Kids come in costume to enjoy treats and more. At 11:30 a.m., the costume parade and contest kicks off, followed by trick-or-treating at participating businesses from 12 to 2 p.m. From noon to 3 p.m., the Halloween celebration settles on South Seventh Street for live music, food, and kids’ activities.

If you’re looking for something a little different, Minnesota School of Diving will hold its 23rd annual Underwater Pumpkin Carving Contest on October 30. BYO gutted pumpkin and carve it underwater for a chance to win a prize. Be sure to stick around for the post-dive barbecue.

For your furry friends, check out Howl-O-Ween at Buster Park, a playground for dogs. On Halloween day from 1 to 3 p.m., dress up your pampered pooch for this canine costume contest, complete with prizes, not to mention treats for dog tricks.


Check out the Haunted Hollow Haunted House and Hayride over at Holst Acres in neighboring Staples. Running October 22-23 and 29-30 from 7:30 to 10:30 p.m., this event is recommended for ages 13 and up. Take a hayride through the woods and explore the haunted house, at your own risk, of course!

Over at Northland Arboretum in Baxter, a signature scare event on October 23 (6:30 to 7:30 p.m.) features both low-scare and high-scare haunted trails, so there’s something for everyone. On October 30 (4 to 6 p.m.), the arboretum will host its low-scare trail along with Trunk-or-Treat for the younger set. The Great Pumpkin and other themed attractions will make appearances at this popular outdoor event.

Mission Tavern in nearby Merrifield will put on a Halloween bash from noon to 5 p.m. on October 30. Festivities include Trunk-or-Treat in the parking lot, “corn grab” with free prizes, photo opps on the Tav Truck with the skeleton crew, outdoor beer tub, campfire for BYO s’mores, and costume contest with cash prizes and gift cards.

On Halloween evening, Cuyuna Regional Medical Center in Crosby hosts its annual Trick-or-Treat Parade for kids 10 and younger. Participants will roam along the candy trail to the main Care Center and will be able to greet the center’s residents through their festively decorated windows.


After taking in all the Halloween happenings, come back to your peaceful cabin on Gull Lake to pour a glass of wine to go with all that holiday candy. At Gull Lake Beach Resorts, we pull out all the stops to create the perfect home base for enjoying all the activities of the season. Whether you’re looking for family-focused fun or more intense chills and thrills, you can find a range of festivities in the Gull Lake area. Contact us today to book your fall getaway!

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!

For some travelers that can’t wait to take to the roads and skies in search of amazing vacation destinations each year, there’s nothing better than the time set aside to explore mountain slopes and ski their way through a stay when the fresh powder falls. For others, a spring getaway to a desert destination complete with red rocks and sprawling canyons is the ideal captivating moment to be enjoyed. However, for those who have time to explore and discover something new in the summer or fall, there’s no better place to find yourself than stunning Gull Lake, Minnesota.  

This inviting and exciting vacation destination is just as well suited for the solo traveler and a romantic getaway as it is a family-focused adventure that visitors of all ages will love. It’s a place that’s long been loved for the fact that it’s as scenic as it is welcoming, making it a great option for those looking to pair outdoor adventure with time to simply settle in, relax, and savor the view.  

Gull Lake encompasses nearly 15 square miles, making it one of Minnesota’s premier lake destinations for the visitor who loves to enjoy on-the-water fun and explore the many communities that sit along the shoreline. While Gull Lake beckons to those with a passion for time in the great outdoors, its intriguing natural beauty also makes it a perfect place to admire from a beach chair or the comfort of a luxurious rental home deck. No matter what Gull Lake travel plans entail, there are a few stops, attractions, and activities that you’ll be want to sure to include when you’re putting the finishing touches on your plans this summer or fall in Gull Lake. Finding time to do them all is a great way to elevate your stay from good to unforgettable!

Activities in Gull Lake

Things to Do While You’re Here: From Boating and Fishing to Time on the Greens

With so much water just waiting to be explored, a trip this summer or fall in Gull Lake simply wouldn’t be complete without some well-spent time on the waves. While swimming is a popular activity to enjoy from any of the beautiful and inviting beaches this lake hosts, boating is just as appealing! Not to worry, you don’t have to own your own boat to make the most of the on-the-water fun. 

For many travelers with their sights set on Gull Lake for their summer or fall getaway, time here is best spent casting a line and waiting for something exciting to bite! Avid anglers have always found Gull Lake to be a particularly appealing vacation destination thanks to the water’s teeming population of largemouth bass, bluegill, white sucker, black crappie, and walleye. In fact, trophy walleye are regularly caught in these waters, some coming in between 8 and 10 pounds!  

While experienced anglers will inevitably enjoy their time out fishing on Gull Lake, those without as much experience can still get in on the fun with ease. There are several fishing charter companies in the area that are happy to help newcomers make the most of their time and experience. Many of these companies cater to all skill levels and offer up family-friendly excursions too. Among the options, Blong’s Brainerd Guide Service stands out as a fan favorite thanks to their flexible scheduling, customized service, and options to enjoy fishing charters that include all of the gear and equipment you might need for a great day! They’ve been a staple for full-service fishing charters in the area for more than 25 years, giving their guests the confidence they deserve when heading out to learn a new skill and potentially, a lifelong hobby! If getting to a departure point isn’t an easy task, the team at Blong’s Brainerd Guide Service is happy to offer pick-up services as well. What could be more convenient? 

While on-the-water moments feel essential when booking a summer or fall stay around Gull Lake, those that have a true heart for time on the greens won’t want to miss out on booking a tree time at The Pines Golf Course while they’re in town. This inviting and scenic course is located at 23521 Nokomis Avenue in Nisswa and is open daily from 7:00 a.m. until 9:00 p.m. This lush course offers golfers a chance to enjoy a rich, forested landscape that is home to 27 holes. In addition to tantalizing fairways, The Pines offers up a chance to make the most of multiple putting greens, a practice area, and an impressive driving range too. When golfers are done playing outdoors, they can make their way into the clubhouse and enjoy a savory bite at Freddy’s Sports Grill or browse the products stocked up in the award-winning pro shop. 

Fall in Gull Lake

Get into Nature

Natural beauty and wonder are on full display everywhere one looks when visiting Gull Lake. During the summer and fall months, captivating colors, wildlife, and amazing vistas are certainly easy to encounter. If you and your traveling crew are the types that appreciate as much time as possible in the great outdoors, heading over to the Gull Lake Recreation Area is a must. Situated near Brainerd, the Gull Lake Recreation Area is a great place to bring the kids as it hosts fun playgrounds, but it’s also home to a wide variety of hiking trails that can be customized to fit skill levels and time preferences. These trails loop through lush surroundings and waterways where you can take time to spot a plethora of bird species if you have your binoculars on hand. As far as wildlife goes, this recreation area is home to bald eagles, river otters, white-tail deer, and loons. 

While hitting the trails on foot is sure to inspire enthusiastic hikers, for those with more of a love for exploring on two wheels, biking in this area of Minnesota is just as popular and exciting! The Gull Lake area in general is home to a wide variety of tantalizing bike trails that can be enjoyed at a leisurely pace or as a challenge to existing cycling skills. No matter how you plan on getting out and about, you won’t have to worry about finding the right bike to meet your needs as there are plenty of options when it comes to rental companies. Adventure to Go in Nisswa is a great place to start, while Up North Bike Rentals and Lake Fun Rentals have just as comprehensive a quality inventory waiting to be enjoyed. 

While there are a seemingly endless number of bike trails to choose from, a few stand out from the rest. Those looking forward to a more leisurely ride will want to try the East Gull Lake Trails. For a more extensive adventure, hit up the Paul Bunyan Trail which spans 120 miles in total connecting several cities—but can easily be broken up into sections and traversed in preferred parts. As an added benefit, it’s a paved pathway so you’ll be sure to enjoy a smooth ride no matter how far you go! 

Family Fun Activities

Gull Lake is particularly appealing for summer and fall family getaways thanks to the abundance of options for fun it provides paired with beautiful scenery and surroundings. Of course, it also offers up some adrenaline-pumping adventures where families excited to be far from the daily grind can jump into heart-pounding fun! Among the options available, the Nisswa Family Fun Waterpark often finds its way to the top of the preferred family-focused vacation activities in Gull Lake. Located at 4871 Co Rd 77, this waterpark is a great place to cool off and have a great time on a hot summer’s day. When you’re looking for a thrill, you’re sure to find it here. Nisswa Family Fun Waterpark hosts a variety of seamless waterslides, and high-drop rides, and pools that cater to everyone’s idea of a great time.  

Moving from water to sky, families can head over to the Brainerd Zipline Tour when they find that they’re in the mood for a sky-high perspective on the terrain paired with plenty of fun! Located within the greater Mount Ski Gull area, Brainerd Zipline Tour offers guests a 2.5-hour guided zipline experience where you can not only explore 7-different ziplines alongside a knowledgeable expert but also walk over a thrilling suspended sky bridge and make the most of a 50-foot free-fall jump if you’re feeling the need for even more of an adrenaline rush. 

Bars and Cafes

While the plethora of activities and attractions to be found in the Gull Lake region of Minnesota is bound to please, all of that fun also deserves to come with some savory moments to be enjoyed! Fortunately for those headed this way, there are plenty of options to choose from in the way of cafes and bars that please the palate.  

If you know that you’re going to need to fuel up for a day of outdoor adventure ahead, starting your day off at The Iron Waffle Coffee Company in Nisswa is a must. This popular breakfast and lunch stop is open from 8:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. daily and is the perfect place to settle into cozy surroundings and order up everything from waffles and bacon to a breakfast sandwich and bagel. Of course, no stop here is really complete without pairing your breakfast with a hot cup of coffee. The menu at The Iron Waffle Coffee Company has no shortage of selections when it comes to cappuccinos, Americanos, lattes, and espressos. 

After you’ve been out and about around Gull Lake all day, there’s nothing better than ending your adventures on a sweet note at Sherwood Forest. This inviting gastropub and bar is located at 8789 Interlachen Road and welcomes guests to take a seat inside a space that’s designed to reflect the cozy atmosphere of a forested lodge. While visitors are free to order up dishes that showcase everything from steak to seafood, many are drawn to this 100-year-old destination in search of savory wine, beer, or cocktail selections! Gather around a table with family and friends and cheers to a one-of-a-kind getaway that promises to be unforgettable. 

Places to Stay Around Gull Lake

From the fun stops to the flavorful moments, a trip to Gull Lake, Minnesota is often an experience that has first-time visitors longing to return time and again with good reason. With so much to see and explore, the only way to elevate this amazing experience further is to know that you’re booked into beautiful, conveniently located, and luxurious accommodations that keep you as close to the fun as possible. That’s exactly what travelers can expect who book a lakeside vacation rental with Gull Lake Beach Resorts this summer or fall. Our rentals are designed with spacious open concept living in mind and offer up large windows so guests can make the most of the waterfront view even when they’re indoors. From full kitchens and fireplaces to fire pits, dock access, and delightful outdoor seating areas, rentals booked through Gull Lake Beach Resorts pair the beauty of nature with the modern comforts and luxuries guests deserve. 

Reach out today to learn more about our many property options and to begin planning your fall or summer in Gull Lake getaway! 

When November rolls around on the calendar, people across the country begin setting their sights on the Thanksgiving holiday. This important time of the year set aside to reflect on gratitude and spend time with family and friends is known as loved as a collaborative event that traditionally brings people together in groups. With the arrival of COVID-19 on the global scene, it’s inevitably a bit more difficult to plan this year. While the appeal of a family gathering is firmly intact, those that are looking to keep safety and health top of mind are also considering changing things up.

Instead of hosting a get-together in personal homes this year, it’s worth your while to hit the road and enjoy a holiday away where the open air is plentiful and options for outdoor fun take center stage. If your family loves to enjoy lakeside adventures, make Gull Lake, Minnesota Thanksgiving holiday your destination in 2020. Things might be looking a little different during a global pandemic, but a holiday away could be just the safe, exciting, and still special getaway everyone in your family needs!

Why Gull Lake is a Great Holiday Choice

Minnesota is made up of a collection of inspiring lakes, even earning the name Land of 10,000 Lakes in honor of its many scenic waterways! Amongst them, Gull Lake is known as one of the most popular vacation destinations, sitting pristinely between Crow Wing and Cass Counties. Whether you’re one for fishing, boating, indulging in shoreline moments, or simply taking in the view in style, Gull Lake provides the space, scenery, and options for fun that keep everyone entertained from the moment they arrive. Gull Lake is the largest of 10 lakes in this region that make up the Gull Lake Chain. This provides the perfect setting and plenty of space for visitors to enjoy wildlife watching. Gull Lake is home to everything from majestic bald eagles and river otters to white-tailed deer and Loons. While you’ll want to bundle up by the end of November, Gull Lake provides plenty of opportunities to get out in the crisp fresh air and commune with nature over the Thanksgiving holiday.

Consider Local Restaurants with Takeout Options

For the holiday travelers to Gull Lake that can’t imagine a Thanksgiving away without a savory meal to enjoy, the area is dotted with delicious options that offer take-away options when you’re looking to avoid dining rooms. Be sure to place your order ahead of time, as these services have become quite popular in recent years!

Make It a Home Away from Home Getaway

For the traveling family that can’t wait to cook up their own Thanksgiving meal in the comfort of an area vacation rental at Gull Lake, booking a stay with access to a fully equipped kitchen is a must. Those that book with Gull Lake Beach Resorts will find they have delightful options to choose from that include stylish cabins or sprawling residences complete with gourmet-inspired kitchens that make serving up a holiday meal easier than ever. Pick and choose between properties that feature fantastic collections of appliances, plenty of counter space, and of course, cabinets that are already stocked with the cookware and utensils you’ll need! When it’s time to dine, many of these lakeside stays offer up spacious dining room tables to gather around, or if the weather’s right, patios perfect for an alfresco meal.

Cozy furnishings and properties complete with a fireplace make it simple to settle in after a delicious holiday moment and indulge in everything you’re thankful for this year. When Minnesota Thanksgiving comes to a close, many of these same rentals enjoy spacious rooms topped off with plush mattresses when you’re ready to rest up. Of course, booking lakeside means that if you’re more one for working off those post-Thanksgiving meal calories, you’ll have easy access to nearby hiking trails and lakeside strolls that are designed by nature to be enjoyed.

Make the Most of Your Stay

Whether you’re in town for the Thanksgiving holiday or headed to Gull Lake any other time of year, booking a stay with Gull Lake Beach Resorts is bound to be a delight. Our team of experts is committed to creating one of a kind guest experiences and takes all of your personal and travel preferences into account. Contact our team today so we can get you settled into just the right vacation rental that keeps you close to the fun and places you can’t wait to explore. We can’t wait to welcome you to beautiful Minnesota!