Photo by Carlos Creek Winery
Carlos Creek Winery

Tucked in Minnesota’s Glacial Lakes region, the small city of Alexandria is ringed by lakes and boasts more than three dozen resorts—including Arrowwood Resort & Conference Center (866-386-5263, And it’s just two hours northwest of the Twin Cities. No wonder it’s one of the state’s major summertime hubs.

Once you’ve booked your resort, there is plenty to do. Take a ride on the Central Lakes Trail. Enjoy the toddler-friendly clear water and gentle beach at Lake Carlos State Park. Schedule a date to sip fruity wines at Carlos Creek Winery. And maybe even try to score a ticket to Almost, Maine, the last show of the season at Theatre L’Homme Dieu, which imports Twin Cities talent for its annual summer season. Hop onto the scenic byway and head to the beautiful Terrace Mill Historic District, centered around a vintage flour mill.

If it rains, you can head downtown to browse an array of specialty shops or admire the craft of boat building at the Minnesota Lakes Maritime Museum. No matter what the weather, the Runestone Museum is a must-go. Having an opinion on the infamous Kensington Runestone is pretty much a requirement of being a Minnesotan. You have to see it to decide for yourself whether its existence proves that Alexandria is America’s true birthplace.

Alexandria Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce, 320-763-3161,

Brainerd Lakes

With more than 500 lakes in the area, Brainerd is a great place to hook a big fish and do water sports, from classic waterskiing and wakeboarding to standup paddleboarding and paddleboard yoga.

Two Harbors

We know we gave you a pretty thorough guide to Duluth in the last issue of this magazine. But we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention Two Harbors as a great end-of-summer escape.


If you crave water warmer than Lake Superior but big enough that the horizon disappears, check out Walker on the southern edge of Leech Lake, an hour north of Brainerd.

Wisconsin Dells

Three and a half hours east on I-94, Wisconsin Dells is the self-proclaimed water park capital of the world, and the claim holds water.