With more than 465 lakes within 30 miles of the town of Brainerd, this area is where many Minnesotans go for the quintessential Minnesota lake experience. An outdoor recreation wonderland that is famous for its great fishing and hiking and cycling trails, the Brainerd Lakes area offers groups an emerging destination with a well-developed infrastructure, as well as an impressive list of Brainerd Lakes area event venues with meeting facilities.
In the center of the state, the Brainerd Lakes area is located about a two-hour drive north of the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul. The nearest airport, Brainerd Lakes Regional Airport, 16 miles from the town of Brainerd, is served by Delta Airlines. Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport is 125 miles (about a 30-minute flight) from Brainerd.
Hotel venues in the Brainerd Lakes area range from multi-amenity resorts and lodges to small hotels and bed and breakfasts. Meetings-friendly property options include the 317-room Grand View Lodge with 40,000 square feet of meeting space; the 287-room Madden's on Gull Lake with 40,000 square feet of meeting space; the 207-room Cragun's Resort and Hotel on Gull Lake with 50,000 square feet of meeting space; and the 102-room Arrowwood Lodge at Brainerd Lakes with 10,000 square feet of meeting space.
The area's lakefront resorts provide idyllic special event venues for indoor events in spacious ballrooms or outdoor functions on the beach or on sprawling lawns with superb views.
During the summer months, golf is a popular pastime at the more than 25 golf courses within 50 miles of Brainerd. Other late-spring and summer activities include boating and guided fishing excursions; horseback riding; bicycling and hiking on the 100-mile Paul Bunyan State Trail; and bird watching. Wintertime recreation revolves around downhill skiing, snowboarding and tubing at Ski Gull, which has 13 runs, ice fishing and snowmobiling on miles of connected and groomed trails.
For spouse programs and group entertainment functions, area attractions include the Brainerd International Raceway, a world-class quarter-mile drag strip with major events in the spring and summer, Paul Bunyan Land and This Old Farm Pioneer Village, with 40 amusement rides and attractions and 30-building Pioneer Village, and Northland Aboretum, a 500-acre environmental area.
Dining venues in the Brainerd Lakes area comprise more than 100 restaurants, which range from elegant hotel gourmet rooms to small, family-owned eateries that have been around for decades.