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!
2020 was a year filled with unexpected hurdles and challenges not only for those in the U.S. but across the globe. The arrival of Covid-19 swiftly thwarted travel plans, put celebrations on hold, and affected healthcare systems worldwide in unprecedented ways. While there’s so much to say about the year 2020, the one constant many can agree on is that it was far from simple or easy. With New Year’s Eve quickly approaching, there’s an overwhelming sense that this year, leaving behind the old and embracing something new is more important than ever. While New Year’s past may have come with a sense of routine, in 2021, people everywhere deserve something to look forward to. When you’re craving a holiday away where you can indulge in the fresh air, spend time with loved ones but still social distance while surrounded by spectacular scenery, Gull Lake and the greater Brainerd Lakes Area checks every box on the list! There are many Gull Lake events that you can enjoy for the holiday!
Gull Lake Events for the Holiday and Winter Experience Worth Enjoying
Gull Lake and its surrounding scenic terrain is a wonderful destination when it comes to ringing in the New Year right. Visitors will find this gem of Minnesota is a welcoming locale where it’s just as easy to explore in-town fun as it is to get out and immerse yourself in the beauty of snowy December and January nature. No matter how you like to spend holidays away, Gull Lake is a place brimming over with possibilities.
Spend Time Cross-Country Skiing
Those looking to stay far from the crowds this New Year’s and instead focus on outdoor fun will find that the greater Gull Lake area is ideal for testing out your cross-country skiing skills! Whether you’re new to the sport or have long spent afternoons sliding over the snow, it’s a sport that’s as refreshing as it is challenging. The trails that make Gull Lake so appealing to hikers in the summer months are well-maintained throughout the year, providing just the right terrain for taking to the great outdoors by cross-country ski.
Try Out Snowshoeing
Of course, New Year’s should be celebrated in customized style and when you visit Gull Lake and are looking to slow things down, there’s no reason not to. This New Year’sswap out those cross-country skis for more appropriate snowshoes and trek your way to an unforgettable holiday. Whether you’re hitting the trails solo or in the company of family and friends, there’s plenty of space for all and it’s likely you’ll be tempted to stop and spot heartier snowbirds that tend to stick around this time of year.
Hit the Slopes at Mount Ski Gull
Rev the holiday pace back up by setting aside time to check out the area’s notorious Mount Ski Gull which beckons to downhill enthusiasts when the fresh powder falls! This inviting resort-style ski area includes access to lessons if you’re needing to learn or refresh your skillset.
Overall, visitors will find this destination provides plenty of options that cater to skill levels of all types. If you’re more of a snowboarder, that works too! The slopes at Mount Ski Gull are made for all to enjoy.
Capture the Snowy Fun on Film
When the clock strikes midnight and 2021 lets us all turn over a new page, there’s a high probability that you’re going to want photographic evidence of the effort you put into ending 2020 on a high note despite everything it threw your way! That’s why it could be worth your time when you’re around Gull Lake over New Year’s this year, to plan a fun and leisurely photo tour where you simply walk the snow-covered trails and capture the scenery as it comes to you. Having these moments preserved on film will be a good way to remind yourself of how travel can be a bright spot, even in those times that seem impossible.
Settle into New Year’s Style in a Rental That’s Made to Match
Any holiday getaway to Gull Lake deserves comfortable, conveniently located, and stylish accommodations to match! When you can’t imagine a stay without time snuggled up indoors, enjoying savory food by the fire, and toasting to the new year with loved ones, the team at Gull Lake Beach Resorts can help. Our properties keep guests close to the winter fun that will come to define their holiday away while providing those cozy and upscale furnishings you crave any time you travel. Feel free to use full kitchens to serve up a home-style holiday meal or book a stay that comes complete with floor to ceiling windows and sit back to enjoy watching the snowfall as the clock strikes midnight once more.
There’s no reason to wait when you’re ready to explore Gull Lake. Contact our team today to learn more about our many property options and to start planning your next trip!