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.
VISIT PAUL BUNYAN AND BABE THE OX
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.
POST IN FRONT OF A MURAL
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.
GET ON A DOCK
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!
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!
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.
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!
It’s hard to imagine a better way to beat the summer heat and enjoy a family-friendly vacation than time spent playing in a natural wonderland like Gull Lake in Central Minnesota. Without a doubt, Gull Lake is among the most popular Minnesota destinations for vacationing and recreation – and for good reason. One of the largest lakes in the Brainerd area, Gull Lake spans more than 15 square miles, brimming with all manner of aquatic life and Minnesota water activities.
Minnesota Water Activities
For the adventurous at heart, Gull Lake offers an abundance of water activities such as fishing, boating, skiing, swimming, and more. To get out on the water, bring your own vessel and utilize our docks and boat lifts, or rent our Premier Gemini 220 Tri-Toon, outfitted with a Yamaha F150 engine. Our boat has space for 14 guests and is the perfect choice for fishing, with rod holders, live well, and advanced GPS and sonar.
Gull Lake is home to more than 35 aquatic species, including bass, panfish, walleye, crappie, and the lake’s largest fish, the northern pike. This makes fishing one of the most popular area pastimes. Serious fishermen may consider an outing with one of the many local fishing guides who know all the best hot spots.
Sporty families will enjoy our other watercraft – kayaks, paddleboards, and our giant Lillypad for kids! These items are offered at no charge to Gull Lake Beach Resorts guests on a first-come, first-served basis and create hours of fun on the water.
Best Beaches Around
Visitors to Gull Lake Beach Resorts enjoy THE best beaches the lake has to offer. After an afternoon on the water, take a leisurely stroll on the sand or throw down a beach towel to do some reading or sunbathing. As evening sets in, our guests love to camp out by one of our many beachside firepits. Especially for summer 2021*, Gull Lake Beach Resorts will offer vacationers complimentary wine, hot chocolate and s’mores kits, perfect for enjoying on the beach or at the firepit!
Gull Lake’s pristine East Side Beach provides visitors with a guaranteed dose of fresh air and relaxation. You won’t find any crowds here, just stretches of unspoiled sandy beaches ready to be explored. Don’t forget to check out the area pavilions for picnicking, the playgrounds for kiddos, and the beach volleyball courts for some friendly competition.
The idea of a summer beach vacation can conjure up images of crowded ocean beaches with high temperatures and even higher humidity. But, in our opinion, the freshwater beaches of Gull Lake are far better. Clean and uncrowded, Gull Lake beaches are the perfect destination to enjoy the glorious Minnesota summer.
Splash at the Waterpark
If you’ve exhausted the lake and are looking for even MORE water thrills, head over to Nisswa Family Fun Waterpark on County Road 77N. The area’s premier waterpark features completely seamless waterslides, including the 465-foot Super Shoot, the 55-foot High Drop, and the 12-foot Family slide. The park boasts a huge, heated activity pool, as well as two hot tubs.
During your day of waterpark fun, you’re welcome to bring your own snacks or purchase food onsite. The park also offers lounge chairs for comfortable poolside spectating. And if there’s reason for celebration in your group, the waterpark hosts parties for all occasions, ranging from the basic party starting at $60 to the teepee firepit party starting at $80.
The best part is that especially for Summer 2021*, guests of Gull Lake Beach Resorts will receive two free waterpark tickets per unit! Enjoy a day of waterpark fun on us – the park is open 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily.
If you’re looking for a fun, family-friendly place to escape from reality and make unforgettable memories, look no farther than Gull Lake Beach Resorts. This secluded area of Gull Lake is the perfect backdrop for your next summer vacation. Just add water!
Contact us today to book your lakeside cabin, reserve your amenities, and begin planning all your Gull Lake activities.
*Summer 2021 = June-August, 2021, while supplies last
What a wonderful experience when your summer vacation plans coincide with amazing local events in your destination location! The ever-popular resort area of Gull Lake in Central Minnesota has no shortage of exciting and nostalgic festivities planned for summer.
After a hiatus for many events last summer (and most of 2020!), the region is yearning to welcome guests back with a bang. Beyond the obvious nature-centric and lake-focused activities, the summer season is jam-packed with Gull Lake activities and events sure to satisfy a wide variety of interests.
NISSWA TURTLE RACES
For an experience that epitomizes the best of small-town America, Nisswa’s weekly Turtle Races should be on everyone’s bucket list. Dating back to 1963, the races are a favorite summer tradition for locals and visitors alike. Facilitated by the Nisswa Chamber of Commerce, the races are held each Wednesday of summer at 2 p.m. on the official track by the Chamber office.
Local turtle wranglers harvest the turtles from the wild after they’ve laid their eggs in the spring and release them back following race season in the fall. Racers choose their turtle from the racing pool, pay a nominal entry fee, and cheer their turtle to the finish line. There are no age limitations on who may enter, and the event promises great fun for both racers and spectators.
LAKES JAM 2021
More than a music festival, Lakes Jam is an annual event that unites rock and country music fans from all walks of life and brings them together in the Brainerd Lakes area. Held this year from June 24 to 26, the musical spectacular features acts including Ratt, Tracy Lawrence, Lita Ford, The Crown Jewels, Slaughter, Jon Pardi, Carly Pearce, Kip Winger, Autograph, and many more. Tickets can be purchased at LakesJam.com.
During the three-day event, which is held at the Brainerd International Raceway, festivalgoers can enjoy so much more than just the music. Meet-and-greets with the artists, as well as backstage tours, can be won during social media contests and at Pre Jam Parties. A bean bag tournament (and simultaneous – but optional – costume contest!) crowns the best cornhole duo, while card players will enjoy the poker tournaments hosted by the Brainerd Lakes Area Poker League. Attendees can also take in watercross, drift car, and lawnmower races onsite!
BRAINERD INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY
Speaking of the raceway, Brainerd International is the largest racetrack in the Upper Midwest, offering the most diverse motorsports schedule anywhere – and all events are back for the 2021 season! With a world-class drag strip and two road courses, the venue hosts drag racing, road racing, endurance racing, Superbike racing, drifting and autocross competitions, cruising events, and car shows. The small lake on property even hosts watercross competitions, where snowmobiles race on open water.
Perhaps the main draw to the raceway is the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals, which makes its stop in Brainerd in August each year. The world’s best drag racers pilot the fastest dragsters in front of 100,000 onlookers. And the facility’s Performance Driving School holds classes May through September for any skill level driver. Tickets for any event can be purchased at BIRMN.com.
INDEPENDENCE DAY CELEBRATIONS
Celebrate America’s birthday with Nisswa’s Freedom Days Celebration & Parade on Saturday, July 3 with a full schedule of fun! Activities throughout the day include a special edition Turtle Races, Water Wars (socially distant water balloon launches), live music, food vendors, and more.
The Freedom Days parade starts at 7 p.m. as spectators line both sides of Main Street to watch the parade that includes various floats, marching veterans’ groups, high school marching bands, clowns, area royalty, fire trucks, car clubs, and horse-riding groups, among others.
Over in Pequot Lakes, check out Stars & Stripes Days, named one of the Best Small Town 4th of July Celebrations by Life in Minnesota. Trailside Park will be buzzing with music, games, crafts, and food vendors over the weekend of July 3-4. Fireworks will light up the Saturday night sky, with a celebratory parade to follow on Sunday at high noon.
SUMMER AT GULL LAKE BEACH RESORTS
If you’re looking for a fun, family-friendly place to make unforgettable summer vacation memories, Gull Lake Beach Resorts is situated in the heart of the Brainerd Lakes region. Located right on Gull Lake’s best beaches, and just a short drive from all the local action, our perfectly appointed properties will be an amazing home base for your next summer vacation.
As the pandemic situation continues to be fluid, don’t forget to contact each venue directly to ensure there’s no immediate threat of cancellation or postponement. And contact us today to book your lakeside cabin and begin planning all your Gull Lake area events and activities. Let the good times roll!
If you’re looking for an early summer escape full of natural beauty and lakeside fun, look no further than Gull Lake. You and your group will enjoy plenty of fun Gull Lake things to do, both indoors and outdoors, on the water and off the water. There is something for everyone to while away the time and relax and unwind at Gull Lake.
If you have some “littles” in your group who may not be able to participate in all of the “big kid” activities, make sure to schedule in some time at the splash pad. A fun way to cool off and play in the water for youngsters or non-swimmers, the interactive, zero-depth play area includes misters, cascading, flowing, and sprinkling water structures, and much more.
Put a cap on any day of your Gull Lake escape with time around one of the lake’s campfire circles. Roast s’mores, star gaze, or just watch the flames and pass the time recounting the day’s adventures with friends and family before turning in for a good night’s sleep.
Your lakeside vacation is guaranteed to be packed with tons of fun water-themed activities. Spend some time on the lake in your own vessel, in a rented pontoon, or in one of our loaner kayaks or canoes (first come, first served). Rent some fishing gear and catch lunch or dinner from the 70-foot fishing dock. Splash around in the water, try your hand at stand-up paddleboarding, or hop on our Aqua Lily Pad. After all the water fun, dry off and have a lakeside picnic lunch or dinner.
Challenge yourself and get your adrenaline pumping. Adventures like ziplining continue to be popular, and Gull Lake has its very own course! At Brainerd Zipline Tour, located at Mount Ski Gull in Pillsbury State Forest not far from Gull Lake, you’ll catch views of the Brainerd Lakes area and take in the gorgeous surroundings during the 2.5-hour tour. There’s even a 50-foot free fall drop as an optional end to your experience.
Gull Lake Things to Do Indoors
If the weather isn’t cooperating with your lake plans, Gull Lake has many indoor activities to keep you busy when the weather isn’t at its best. Choose from sports like basketball, volley, and glow bowling to activities like foosball, pool, table tennis, and air hockey. Try your hand at the indoor climbing wall or spend some time with your artistic side and create tie-dye items, edible sand art sculpture, and more.
Ready, aim, fire! Archery is one of the oldest activities dating back tens of thousands of years. It’s a skill many still use today for hunting, but over the years it has become a competitive sport as well. Whether you’re a skilled marksman or just want to try out a new activity, make sure to spend some time at the outdoor archery ranges. Aim for a bullseye as you challenge your friends or family to do the same.
It’s no secret: Gull Lake Beach Resorts has THE best beaches on Gull Lake! Many of our units are nestled directly on the beautiful sand beaches along the shoreline of Gull Lake, making it the perfect place for relaxing the day away and soaking up the early summer sun. Spread out your beach blanket and plant your beach umbrella for a day on the beach, and if the sun gets a little intense, take a dip in the water to cool off. Minnesota might be landlocked, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy some amazing beach time on your freshwater vacation!
Grab a bike rental and head out and explore. Gull Lake is close to Northland Arboretum, the beginning of the Paul Bunyan Trail. The paved trail spans 120 miles, so you have plenty distance to roam and explore. The trail is great for all ages and ability levels and passes through small towns and plenty of gorgeous Minnesota scenery. The portion nearest Gull Lake is mostly flat and easy going. Watch for others enjoying the trail, including guests and locals on foot, rollerblading, or enjoying other trail activities.
Early Summer Getaway to Gull Lake
Enjoy your early summer getaway to Gull Lake and leave all your cares and worries at the door of your vacation rental provided by Gull Lake Beach Resorts. You’ll want to make sure all the fun and excitement of your vacation is reflected in your accommodations. After a long day of fun, gather together for a home-cooked meal in the fully equipped kitchen. Relax and unwind in the open living area with a book or your favorite movie or TV show. We have units to fit any size family or group. No matter what your vacation needs and style, we have a rental that is just right for you. Our premium units include upgrades like stainless steel appliances, granite counters, hardwood floors, flat-screen TVs and more!
Contact us today to plan your early summer getaway!