Photo by Erlend Bjørtvedt

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. With 640-plus miles of shoreline and more than 112,800 acres, Minnesota’s third largest lake is known for walleye and muskie fishing, sailing, and the big pines of the Chippewa National Forest.

Trapper’s Landing Lodge (866-665-3324, trapperslandinglodge.com ) offers the poshest lodging on the lake, but it also has more rustic pet-friendly cabins. Historic Chase on the Lake (218-547-7777, chaseonthelake.com ) sits right on the shore with patio dining, hotel rooms, condos, and a spa. It’s only a block from there to downtown, where you’ll find boutiques and Reed’s Sporting Goods.

Leech Lake Area Chamber of Commerce, 800-833-1118, leech-lake.com


Tucked in Minnesota’s Glacial Lakes region, the small city of Alexandria is ringed by lakes and boasts more than three dozen resorts.

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.

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.