Must see stops along Minnesota’s North ShoreJune 17, 2020
A summer weekend in Walker MinnesotaJune 24, 2020
Looking for things to do in Brainerd and the surrounding area? Look no further!
We took a weekend road trip from Minneapolis to the areas of Brainerd, Baxter, and Cuyuna and had the best time! We visited in late September, so we focused on fall activities, but most of these things can be done year-round. Enjoy!
Things to do in Brainerd MN
Say hi to Babe the Blue Ox
Located right outside of Paul Bunyan Land is a statue of Babe the Blue Ox. Being the amusement park is only open from Memorial Day to Labor Day, we weren’t able to see Paul, but seeing Babe might be just as cool! Definitely a Minnesota roadside gem – make sure to stop as you drive by!
Get lost in the corn maze at The Farm on St Mathias
The Farm on St Mathias just started the 13th year of its annual fall festival. But this isn’t your traditional fall festival. It’s an actual working organic farm with gardens, chickens, and even a llama! During the festival you’ll find their farm store open selling fall goodies and lots of pumpkins that are either grown on site or at some of their neighbors. Sit by the fire, enjoy a snack from the concession stand, go for a hay ride, and check out the corn maze! Best of all, the only thing you have to pay for is the maze
Eat lunch at The Local 218
We stopped into the Local 218 for a light lunch and were blown away by how they take the simple things and make them awesome. I ordered the butternut squash soup (does it get more fall than that?!) and a wedge salad which was out of this world! Cole ordered the dry rub wings and they were massive as well as delicious. SO YUMMY – go here!
Try a wine flight at Dennis Drummond Winery
The BEST experience of our entire trip was at Dennis Drummond Winery which consists of a bistro, wine-tasting, and wedding venue. We were greeted by Dennis’ wife Jody, who is the sweetest woman. She helped us decide on a wine flight – 7 wines for $17 – and I have to say it’s some of the best quality MN wine I’ve tasted. Jody and Dennis have years of experience in the wine-making and hospitality industries and it really comes to life at their winery. Definitely stop here!
Things to do in Baxter MN
Do some shopping at Ardor Boutique
Just north of Brainerd is Baxter MN, where you’ll find Ardor Boutique. They also have a location in Nisswa! You’ll find all things girly in this boutique, but my favorite is the jewelry! They sell locally-made jewelry from a variety of makers. I picked up this Minnesota necklace. Can never have too much MN gear
Have a beer at Jack Pine Brewery
One of the top recommended things to do in Brainerd area from all of you was Jack Pine Brewery! And you guys were right – it was bustling and definitely the place to be! Filled with groups of friends, couples, and families, Jack Pine Brewery has a great variety of beer. Make sure to try some of their more crazy styles, like the Jalapeño beer! It’s the most unique beer I’ve ever had!
Things to do in Crosby MN
Camp at True North Base Camp
Fall camping is the best camping. No bugs and cool weather! We stayed at True North Base Camp in Crosby, MN which offers campsites, furnished tents, and little lakeside cabins. We chose to camp because it is the cheapest – $30 for the night! We loved this spot because you can book online and easily have visuals over which site you are booking, it’s located right on the bike trails, AND they deliver firewood right to your campsite!
Walk the paved Cuyuna Lakes State Trail
Cuyuna Lakes State Trail is great for hikers and bikers alike. The paved trial gives you great views into the Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area forest – especially during the fall – and has a few great lookout points into the surrounding lakes that used to be mines. This is an easy trail for all ages!
Hike the Dragline Trail around Portsmouth Mine Lake
For a more challenging trail, rent a mountain bike (or just hike it like we did – just make sure to yield to bikers!) and take the Dragline Trail around Portsmouth Mine Lake for some amazing views! You can access this trail from the paved Cuyuna Lakes State Trail. All in all it took us around 2 hours to complete this hike. We did it just before sunset and everything was so pretty!
Shop local at Victual
Victual is a new store that opened in downtown Crosby. It’s filled with specialty gifts, food (like gourmet cheeses), and ice cream that you won’t be able to find anywhere else up north. The ice cream is even lactose-free, so everyone can enjoy it! Definitely check this place out – and make sure to snap a photo of the new mural on the wall outside
Get amazing pizza at The Iron Range Eatery
Are you drooling at this photo? Me too!! We ordered the gyro pizza with feta, cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, and tzatziki sauce at The Iron Range Eatery and it is now now my list of top 5 pizzas I’ve ever eaten! SO SO GOOD. The vibe is chill but trendy, and they have other stuff on the menu besides pizza, too.
Grab a beer at Cuyuna Brewing Compay
Can we talk about this this logo?! It has to be my favorite brewery logo in the state! And the beer is amazing too! Cuyuna Brewing Co. often hosts live music and events, so make sure to stop by. We went when they were celebrating Oktoberfest and were serving beer cheese soup and other German specialties. I loved the Mosaic Blueberry Ale – it’s very beer forward, has the slightest taste of blueberry, and not too sweet. Thanks to the super friendly bartender who recommended it!
Get your coffee and bike gear at Red Raven
Red Raven has everything you’ll need in Crosby for your biking, food, coffee, or beer adventures. We stopped by for a few fresh scones and coffee on our way home and you could tell this place serves as the gathering place in Crosby. Service wasn’t that quick (even for coffee), so only go here if you have time or need bike gear!
There you have it! The perfect way to spend a fall weekend in Brainerd and beyond. The amount of things to do in Brainerd, Baxter, and Crosby could keep you busy for more than a weekend.