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