Archive for the ‘Family Vacations’ Category

Black Friday Deals In Leech Lake

Monday, November 21st, 2016

Thanksgiving is nearly here, in Leech Lake we will be celebrating with family and friends, enjoying turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce and much more. This post however isn’t about our thanksgiving, it’s about the day after, which brings deals, savings, and shoppers delight. Black Friday has nearly arrived, and local Leech Lake businesses are gearing up for it’s arrival with great opportunities to save. The beauty of Leech Lake may be what brings you to the area, but there is also a vibrant local shopping scene not to be missed. From unique clothing stores to art galleries, and sporting goods stores, the Leech Lake area offers a local shopping experience and the chance to find gifts you can’t get anywhere else, which is just one more reason to stay in the Leech Lake area. Below you will find information on all the participating local stores to prepare yourself for Black Friday (and Small Business Saturday) shopping and savings opportunities.


christmas point shop walker mn Christmas Point Wild Rice Co. - The perfect place find unique home decor, Leech Lake hoodies & tee’s, and of course Minnesota wild rice. Open from Noon to 5PM on Black Friday, you are sure to find something here for that north woods enthusiast in your life.





lakes area powersports walker mnLakes Area Powersports – Your one stop power-sports headquarters Lakes Area can fully outfit you for your next adventure. Find the perfect ATV,UTV or Dirt bike  for your off-road needs. Prepare for winter with new and used snowmobiles, or think ahead to summer and get a PWC so you’re ready for sunshine and good times. Offering great deals Black Friday and amazing door prizes on the hour for small business Saturday! Prepare for your next adventure this Black Friday in Leech Lake.





reeds walker mn Reeds Family Outdoor Outfitters – Reeds annual ice classic sale extends the entire Black Friday weekend and offers store-wide savings. This is an absolute must stop if you have a outdoor or hunting enthusiast in your life. A hunters dream,with optics, tree stands, cameras, rifles, handguns, and shotguns, dog gear, decoys and mush much more. Don’t forget about that water sports lover in your family, check out kayaks, SUP’s, canoes, water-skis and other must haves. If winter has sneaked up on you be sure to stop in and save on a massive selection of outdoor apparel.




jenny and co walker mn

Jenny and Co. – Offering top of the line kitchenware and gourmet foods and spices, this is a must visit on Black Friday if you or someone you know is an avid foodie. Cook like the chef you always knew you could be!





Peculiar painter walker mn

Peculiar Painter – Find art and art supplies with a Nordic touch at the Peculiar Painter on November 25th and 26th from 11AM to 4PM. Explore amazing paintings, cards and more while enjoying Swedish Glogg and ginger cookies.





heritage arts walker mn

Heritage Arts – Antique furniture, home decor, decorative supplies and more. Find unique candles, beautiful rugs, and holiday supplies for your home! 9:30 AM to 6 PM on Black Friday and Small Business Saturday.






Come to the Leech Lake area this Black Friday and support local small businesses and find that one of a kind gift for that special someone in your life. If you think experiencing the beauty of the Leech Lake is a gift in itself, book your lakeside cabin for the summer while there are still openings. Get your family the gift of a Leech Lake vacation this Black Friday.


Leech Lake Minnesota Fall Color Guide

Friday, September 9th, 2016

Fall has arrived, that means shorter days, cooler temps, great cold water fishing, and changing colors. Leech Lake and the surrounding area offer an abundance of beautiful scenery, which positively brightens as shades of orange, yellow, and red take over the landscape. We want to ensure you don’t miss them, so in this post we will provide great resources for tracking the fall colors in Minnesota, as well as the best places to view them in the Leech Lake area, which is nestled in the leafy Chippewa National Forest. Fall colors arrive quickly, and they can disappear just as fast so make sure you are ready!

Leech Lake Fall

Tracking Fall Colors

One of the best fall color finders and trackers in Minnesota is operated and updated daily by the MNDNR. The Minnesota State Parks and Trails Fall Color Finder is one of the best sources for fall color information, and with its past map information you can use it to help you plan your trip. It also offers an email and text alert so you can ensure you don’t miss the turning of the leaves this year. Broken down, with daily reports from over 70 parks and trails scattered all over Minnesota be sure to keep this website handy if you are a fall color fanatic.

If you are looking for weekly updates sent right to your inbox be sure to sign up for the Minnesota Fall Color Update you will be alerted every Thursday to new color changes and forecasts on where the peak will arrive next. They also offer a great Fall Driving Guide that lists some of the best roads In Minnesota to travel during the peak of Autumn. With all the updates and ideas Explore Minnesota offers during the fall season, this makes it a great resource for any Autumn enthusiast.

Minnesota Fall Color Map

For all the traditionalists out there nothing will ever beat the tried and true. The Farmer’s Almanac offers predictions for when fall colors will arrive on a state by state basis, and they are right more often than not! So if you need to plan your stay long before peak colors arrive this is your best option.

Finally get the latest information on the local status of the fall colors in the Leech Lake area from the experts in the field by following the Chippewa National Forest on Twitter  and Facebook. With daily photos and or videos, of the local area they are one of our favorite Autumn Resources.


Best Places to View the Autumn Colors In Leech Lake

Leech Lake offers a plethora of great options for exploring all the Fall Colors. Our favorite viewing spot is of course from the lake! Cruise along the shore and in and out of bays where the colors are abundant and can vary drastically in different parts of the lake. Don’t forget to bring your fishing equipment either, fall colors and fishing! That is the Leech Lake life. Spend the day trolling the shores while floating past a tapestry of oranges, yellows, and reds.

Leech Lake Fall Colors

Leech Lake

Another great option for families and bikes we discussed in a past post, is an autumn ride along the paved Heartland and Paul Bunyan bike trails. This is the perfect family activity where you can ride under the changing colors for miles. In many places the trees will form a canopy of color overhead. A fall bike ride in the Leech Lake area is not to be missed, and who doesn’t enjoy the sound of crunching leaves on the trail.

For hikers the Chippewa National Forest offers 160 miles of trails, with over 650,000 acres of forest to hike and explore. Including 1300 lakes and ponds, over 900 miles of river and a plethora of natural beauty. If a relaxing fall hike sounds great to you, you don’t want to miss out on a trip to the Chippewa National Forest.

Chippewa national forest in fall

Chippewa National Forest

This fall color season should be absolutely amazing due to the abundant rainfall this summer. So keep an eye out for changing colors and check out our resources often. We hope to see you on the lake or trails this autumn enjoying the colors as much as we do. Be sure to share your Fall photos with us on Facebook and Twitter. If you need lodging in the Leech Lake area don’t forget to check out our Fall Specials with rooms and cabins up to 50% off!

Biking the Paul Bunyan & Heartland Trails in Leech Lake MN

Friday, August 12th, 2016

With the third largest lake in as our backyard, while you’re on the water it is easy to forget that Minnesota’s longest bike trails run along Leech Lakes shores and through Walker. With over a 120 miles of paved bike paths the Paul Bunyan and Heartland bike trails offer a one of a kind biking experience. Winding through towns and forests, over streams and rivers, and along the shores of many lakes, these trails offer the ultimate biking experience for enthusiasts and families alike, Especially during the Autumn months.

What to Bring On a Family Bike Trip

So you have brought your bikes to Leech Lake and you are about to take a ride on the Paul Bunyan and Heartland State trails, what else do you need? First things first at least one rider should carry a backpack or saddle on the trip to carry all the essentials. Snacks, Snacks, Snacks – while there are many restaurants along or just off the trail, a hungry child on the trail will not make for a good ride. Bring their favorite (easily transportable) snacks with and be sure to have at least three separate serving’s worth for each child. If you can, place a water bottle on each bike to give kids easy access and control over their water. Now that we have the primary essentials taken care of, let’s move on to the fun stuff!

If you bike south towards Hackensack be sure to bring swimsuits so everyone can cool off in the water and take a break from riding. A dip in the water always seems to make the ride go a bit smoother. If you are not ready to go for a swim when you reach Hackensack, don’t worry you will have another opportunity in Backus. Depending on where you start from you can also take a trip into Walker for a swim as well.

The Paul Bunyan and Heartland trails are perfect for family bike trips. The trails are largely flat and easy to ride, with plenty of spots to stop, rest, snack, and explore. We hope you and your family enjoy them as much as we do.


Biking Enthusiasts

If you are riding the trail with a group of biking enthusiasts or yourself, keep in mind that you will be passing through many charming small towns with a bevy of unique local shops not to be found anywhere else, so it is a great idea to bring a back-pack or saddles to transport those must have items from shops along the way. Shopping by bike helps to break up the ride and makes for a fun time.

If you are planning a long trip and are going to be 30 or more miles from your car it’s always a good idea to bring a patch kit and a portable bike pump, while an unlikely occurrence if you get a leak in one of the long wooded stretches it can become a long an time consuming walk back to the nearest town.

Otherwise you are on the longest trail system in the state, enjoy the beautiful scenery and nature that the trail has to offer. Including the many connected parks, including Chippewa National Park, Lake Itasca, and Crow Wing State Park.


Minnesota Fall Color Bike Rides

Fall offers the perfect time to ride the Paul Bunyan and Heartland Bike trails, with a reprieve from the heat of summer and the chill of winter it is one of our favorite seasons to bike the trails. If you time your trip right it also makes for one of the most beautiful seasons as well. From Leech Lake to the north the trails pass through long stretches of forest that display the most vibrant tapestry of colors as the seasons change. Enjoy hues of red and amber as you pass beneath the branches.

Use the MN DNR Fall Color Finder, and plan your bike trip as the colors reach their peak. With so much trail to explore you are sure to see every changing color possible on a bike trip this fall! You haven’t seen autumn colors until you have biked beneath them on the Paul Bunyan and Heartland trails, and don’t forget to bring your camera either!


The Leech Lake Area is the perfect place to start your ride, and offers many other great things to do from shopping to fishing, boating and more. If you are looking for lodging for your next bike trip, take a look at our wonderful Leech Lake lodging specials and find the perfect place to start your Journey on the Heartland and Paul Bunyan Trails.

We will see you on the trail!

Minnesota Fishing Opener: How to Stay Safe on Leech Lake

Wednesday, May 11th, 2016

This weekend marks the 2016 Minnesota Fishing Opener! What a better place to celebrate than fishing on Leech Lake? Leech Lake is the third largest lake in Minnesota and is home to some of the best walleye fishing in the Midwest. Lakes can get busy, especially during fishing opener. While you’re out catching fish – remember to be careful! Here are a few tips to keep you and your family safe while out fishing.


Fishing on a Sunny Lake


1.       Life Jacket: If you are going to be on a boat while fishing, be sure that everyone on board has a life jacket. Chances are you won’t need it, but it’s always best to be safe. Even if you are a great swimmer, emergencies cause anxiety levels escalate which could cause you to not swim as well as you normally would. Spring weather in Minnesota can be fickle, but life jackets can serve as an extra layer to help keep you warm. Life jackets can also be quite comfortable – giving you extra cushion for your back!


Life Jackets on Boat


2.       Safety Kit: From a first aid kit to map – make sure you have everything you need on your boat. According to the Red Cross, a good first aid kit should have the following:

  • Bandages
  • Absorbent Compress Dressings
  • Adhesive Cloth Tape
  • Aspirin
  • Antiseptic Wipes
  • Antibiotic Ointment

Leech Lake is huge, and it’s easy to get lost or turned around while out on the water – especially if it’s your first time here or are exploring a new section of the lake. We recommend bringing a map of the lake out with you, or a GPS, in case you do get turned around while out on the lake. With 160 Square miles of lake getting lost can be easier than you may think on Leech Lake. A map of Leech Lake can not only help you figure out your direction, but can give you insight on the topography surrounding the lake. This will give you warning of the depth and if you may run in to any unexpected shallow areas.

Map of Leech Lake

3.       Appropriate Footwear: This the arrival of spring and warm weather, it’s tempting to throw your tennis shoes and boots aside and opt for flip flops and sandals. However, many hooks and other sharp objects are used while fishing and may find their way to the floor of the boat. Avoid accidental injury and stepping on these objects by wearing shoes that cover and protect your feet.

4.       Dress Appropriately: We’ve already mentioned that spring weather in Minnesota can be fickle and unpredictable. Making sure you’re prepared with the proper clothing can be the difference between a great and miserable day out on the lake. We recommend dressing in layers, that way you can be prepared for a hot – or frigid – day. Be sure to pack a rain jacket and pants in case the weather starts to get wet above the boat as well.

5.       Keep Knives and Hooks Covered: To avoid injury, keep knives and hooks covered and stored away when not in use. Picking out a great tackle box can help keep your fishing life organized and safe. Many tackle boxes are available with multiple trays and different sizes. These are great to keep your larger tools (like knives and scissors) on the larger shelves, while keeping your smaller hooks and jigs organized on the top shelves.

Fishing Tackle Box on Dock


Have a great fishing opener and season! We look forward to seeing you on Leech Lake soon.

4 Minnesota Mothers Day Gifts

Thursday, April 28th, 2016

Mother’s Day is right around the corner – and this year it does not fall on the Minnesota fishing opener. That makes 2016 a great year to do something extra special for Mom this Mother’s Day. While chocolates, flowers and brunch are wonderful here are five nontraditional ideas to show your mom/wife/partner just how much you appreciate her.

1. Give Mom a Spa Day

Mothers are notorious for putting themselves last while they put their families first. This Mother’s Day, put mom first and give her the chance to get away from the house and relax! Having a spa day is a great way to unwind from the chaos of everyday life. Getting a massage has been linked relieving stress, anxiety, injuries, headaches, along with multiple other ailments. Jenny’s Beehive in Walker has 30, 60, and 90 minute massages that Mom can enjoy. They offer other spa services as well, such as facials, manicures and pedicures. Whether you’re looking for a quick massage or an all day spa service, Jenny’s Beehive can help Mom to relax this Mother’s Day.


woman getting a massage


2. Clean the House

Nothing helps you relax quite like a clean house! Organizing, dusting, vacuuming, and sweeping will not only help mom help mom unwind but has health benefits for the whole house! Having a clean house makes you safer from harmful germs and bacteria. Don’t stop there though, we have all vacuumed around things, be sure to pick them up this time get those toys off the floor! Having a clean home is great for you and Mom, but did you know it’s also linked to a higher productivity and can improve your mental health.


3. Plan a Family Hike

Spring can be a wonderful time to get out and enjoy the outdoors. Trees are budding, flowers are starting to bloom, and it feels good to be out of the house after such a long winter indoors. If Mom enjoys sending time outdoors, plan a family hike or bike ride. The Heartland Trail is one of the oldest trails in Northern Minnesota and is home to lakes, forests and wildlife.  Between the Shingobee Recreation Are and the City of Walker, the Heartland Trail has a chain of lakes and plenty of beautiful places you can sit down for a break or a picnic.


woman walking across bridge


Speaking of picnics: The key to a memorable picnic lays in what type of food you bring. Easy to eat foods and foods that aren’t very messy are great for picnics as you might not have access to running water to help clean off your hands (unless you pick a spot next to a beautiful and clear Minnesota stream). Foods like sandwiches, chips, and vegetables are great for picnics for just this reason. Be sure to pack you food in containers that seal completely – it would be a disappointing picnic if you hike all that way, open your bag and see that food has spilled everywhere.


4. Cook Dinner at Home

Going out to Mom’s favorite restaurant is a great way to celebrate; but there is something extra special about a home cooked meal. In today’s fast-paced and busy world it seems more and more difficult to gather the family around the table at home to enjoy a special meal.

Have mom take time off from cooking while you and the kids get her favorite meal together. While you are cooking, make sure she is all comfortable in the living room with a glass of wine, beer, or tea – whatever her favorite thing to sip may be – and a book or a magazine so she can continue relaxing! After you enjoy a home cooked meal, make sure you clean up and do the dishes so she doesn’t have to worry about it the next day, and you keep the house clean after just having picked up for Mom, Right?


Asian food family dinner


Happy Mother’s Day to all of you wonderful mothers! We look forward to seeing you in Leech Lake soon.


6 Family Fun Summer Activities in Leech Lake

Monday, April 11th, 2016

Summer is just around the corner and with that comes all of our favorite activities – fishing, boating, and going to the beach. In addition to great fishing and outdoor activities, the Leech Lake area is home to theater, history, farmers markets and things for the whole family. Here are some of our favorite places for you and your family to enjoy this summer – in rain or shine!

Sailing on Leech Lake

Being in Minnesota, almost all of us have spent time on a boat at one point or another. But how many of you have spent time on a sail boat? Fleet Sails offers classes to teach you how to use a sail boat and gives you hands on experience -all while being in the safety of a licensed captain. Fleet Sails offers various classes based on the group size and your experience. Enjoy the day on Leech Lake and leave with a new skill!

Sail Boat on the Lake

Deep Portage Learning Center

Deep Portage Conservation Reserve is home to 6,300 acres of forest, lakes, hills and wild life for you to explore. Operating as a non-profit corporation, Deep Portage is open to people of all ages and is a place where community, education and the great outdoors come together.  The Conservation Reserve was founded in 1973 and the Resource Heritage Center opened for the public in 1987. Bring the family to Deep Portage for hiking, bird watching, archery and so much more! Deep Portage Conservation Reverse also offers summer camps and programs for kids, adults and families interested in outdoor experiences.

Paul Bunyan’s Animal Land

Paul Bunyan’s Animal Land is home to nearly 100 animals that represent all contents. You can walk with the deer, feed the bears, and see a variety of animals you might not otherwise have the chance to see. While you’re there, check out their indoor learning center to learn even more about the animals! Paul Bunyan’s Animal Land is open daily from 10:00AM – 6:00PM from Memorial Day thru Labor Day.

photo of deer

Sugar Point Battle Monument

On October 5th of 1898, the Battle of Sugar Point was fought between the 3rd US Infantry and the Chippewa Indians. The Sugar Point Battle – the last true Indian battle – had its roots in the destruction of Indian lands and burials grounds in the name of “progress” of settlers moving westward. The Sugar Point Battle Monument is located eight miles southwest of the Federal Dam Boy Bay on the east side of Leech Lake. Bring the family and learn about the history of Leech Lake!

Minnesota Folklore Theater

Looking to break the routine of bring the family to the movie theater? The Minnesota Folklore Theater – in Walker – has musical and dramatic productions for the entire family to enjoy! The mission of the Minnesota Folklore Theater is to present professional, community based, products to further the appreciation and knowledge of arts and culture.  This summer, catch their productions of Steel Magnolias, Christmas Bingo, and hear songs by Gershwin Porter. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for students and seniors.

Green Scene Farmer’s Market

Every Thursday this summer you can enjoy the Walker Community’s Green Scene Farmer’s Market! Thursdays from 9:00AM-1:00PM starting June 16th through September 22nd you can find the Farmer’s Marketing at Green Scene in Walker. Every Thursday there will be live entertainment, locally grown produce, jewelry, flowers, breads – and so much more! Bring the family to the farmers market and teach your children the importance of shopping local!

produce at farmers market

With such a wide variety or great summer activities in the Leech Lake area to keep you and your family having fun, Leech Lake makes the perfect Minnesota family vacation destination. Come explore “Minnesota’s Original Up North” with the Leech Lake Tourism Bureau.

Explore resort options for the summer now!

The Benefits of a Family Camping Trip

Thursday, March 17th, 2016

Warm weather is just around the corner – which means it’s time to start planning how you and your family will enjoy the sunshine! A great way to both enjoy the natural beauty of Leech Lake and bring your family together is a family camping trip. Leech Lake is the perfect place to create wonderful memories of fishing on the lake, making s’mores around the fire, and sleeping under the stars.

Even if you already have plenty of camping under your belt  it may surprise you to learn that camping trips have been proven to benefit individuals and families in a variety of ways. Here are just a few of the reasons why a camping trip might be just what your family needs.

Camping Relieves Stress – Fast!

It’s difficult for anyone – kids included — to avoid feeling overwhelmed by all the distractions that bombard us every day. Not only are kids and families busier than ever, but there’s also the dozens (if not hundreds) of texts, emails, and notifications that keep our phones constantly buzzing.

Camping gives us a chance to turn off our phones and enjoy the freedom of being “unplugged,” and it has been proven that hyperactive children feel more relaxed while they are outdoors.

Camping helps parents relax, too. You’ll enjoy the peace of mind of knowing that your family is in a safe space where you don’t have to worry about where they are, who they’re with, or what they’re doing. And, of course, time spent enjoying the peace and quiet of nature helps adults relax as well.


Learning and Exploring Together

As a parent, you might feel like you rely on your kids to teach you about how to use your new-fangled gadgets and gizmos. While today’s teens do have a knack for learning how to use the latest technology, they might be less familiar with outdoor skills such as starting a fire, identifying plants and animals, or simply exploring the woods.

A family camping trip provides all sorts of opportunities for parents to pass on these skills to their kids, or to learn them together if you don’t already consider yourself the “outdoorsy” type. Bring along a guide book to help you identify leaves, bird calls, animal tracks, and bugs; you can even embark on a geocaching treasure hunt together!

It Helps You Sleep

Who couldn’t use a good, restful night’s sleep? When you’re camping, you’re more likely to wake up with the sunrise and start feeling sleepy at sunset, which is the perfect recipe for a full, healthy sleep schedule. Plus, getting some time away from all that artificial light helps your body get back in tune with its natural sleep cycle. Camping benefits your mental health in other ways, too – not only will you sleep longer and better, but you’ll have an easier time falling asleep.

These are just a few of the reasons why a camping trip might be the perfect summer vacation for you and your family! Whether you’re already experienced campers or trying it for the first time, the Leech Lake area has the perfect place for everyone – you can truly “rough it” in your own tent, or rent an RV if you’re not quite ready to brave the elements. Several campgrounds in the Leech Lake area offer RV sites, including Shores of Leech Lake, Acorn Hill Family Resort, and more! For families with younger children, Hiawatha Beach Resort, Huddles Resort, and Steamboat Bay Resort offer scheduled activities for kids throughout the day. Plus, you won’t be far from all sorts of local attractions, including golfing, shopping, and dining.


Check out our family vacations page for more ideas, and browse our lodging options to find the perfect place for your family’s trip!

The Complete Guide to the Chippewa National Forest

Thursday, March 10th, 2016

In 1908, President Theodore Roosevelt made the Chippewa National Forest the first National Forest east of the Mississippi River. Originally, the Forest was named the Minnesota National Forest but was renamed in 1928 to honor the Ojibwe (or Chippewa) who inhabited the land in the early 1700’s.

The Chippewa National Forest is home to over 1,300 lakes (including two of Minnesota’s largest lakes – Leech Lake and Lake Winnie), 925 miles of river, over 400,000 acres of wetlands, campgrounds and hundreds of miles of hiking and snowmobiling trails.


Chippewa National Forest has 21 campgrounds that are open from mid-May through mid-September. Depending on the level of camping you would like to do, Chippewa National Forest has campgrounds for every camper. Campsites range from showers and flush toilets to sites with vault toilets and hand pumps. Each campsite is equipped with a picnic table, tent pad and parking spot.

Stony Point Campground is on the shores of Leech Lake and has over 40 campsites for you to choose from. To camp at Stony Point, campsites cost $26 per night. All campsites at Stony Point may be reserved, so book early to get the campsite you want! Stony Point Campground has boat access, a swimming beach and a picnic area.


Migizi Trail

Named for the Bald Eagle in Ojibwe, the Migizi Trail is a 19 mile paved loop that surrounds Pike Bay. The trail has four access points – Forest Supervisor’s Office in Cass Lake, the Norway Beach Recreation Area, the South Pike Bay picnic area, and across from the Cass Lake Wayside Rest. Take a portion of the trail for a day hike, or bike the entire trail.

Heartland Trail

The 27 mile long trail goes from Walker to Park Rapids and is one of the oldest paved trails in Northern Minnesota. The portion of the Heartland Trail southwest of Walker is home to beautiful lakes, forest, and wildlife. The Heartland Trail also works to connect other trails and recreation areas, including Chippewa National Forest’s Shingobee Recreation Area.


Shingobee Recreation Area

Located just 5 miles southwest over Walker, the Shingobee Recreation Area is a place for various activities including hiking, cross-country skiing, bird watching and camping. After a long day out on the Shingobee, fill up with hearty, authentic, Kansas style BBQ at The Piggy – located in Walker. The Piggy, raved reviewed by the New York Times, is a must stop – but make sure you get there early!



In addition to camping and hiking, the Chippewa National Forest has a wide variety of other activities for you and your family to enjoy.



Home to over 1,000 lakes and miles of river, the Chippewa National Forest is a great place to go fishing. Leech Lake is home to a large Walleye population and can provide you with fresh fish no matter the season. Check out some of our favorite tips on how to master the art of catching walleye. Don’t forget to check our weekly fishing report so you can stay up to date on the best spots to reel in a fish and know exactly what’s biting.


Bird Watching

Coniferous forests to the north, hardwood forests to the south, and prairies to the west. The Chippewa National Forest diverse ecosystem makes it a great place to go bird watching and see all types of different birds. Additionally, the Chippewa National Forest has the highest breeding population of Bald Eagles in the continental US. Grab your binoculars, paper and a pen to record what you see and get hiking!


Berry Picking

Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries and cranberries can all be found in the Chippewa National Forest. Depending on the time of year and location – you could fill up your bucket with fresh sweet berries. Don’t want to get your hands all sticky? Pick up a berry picker from amazon or any kitchen store to make the process even easier.


Plan your trip to the Chippewa National Forest and Leech Lake now! We’ll see you on the trails.

The Leech Lake Area Dining Guide

Monday, February 22nd, 2016

Don’t go hungry while you’re in Leech Lake. Our dining guide will give you a local insight into the fare of some of Leech Lakes most popular restaurants. From BBQ to Fish Fry, and Homestyle meals, Leech Lake has a wide variety of truly delicious food options and unique destinations. Have a meal you won’t forget in Leech Lake, and be certain you will enjoy a full stomach, and satisfied taste buds with our dining guide. 

Fish on plate

  • The Boulders: Known for its delicious and diverse array of dinner entrees the boulder will provide you with a wealth of truly delicious options. From Crab Crusted Grouper, Gorgonzola Ribeye, Penne Jambalaya, Walleye, and much more. The Boulder is extremely popular with locals and visitors alike so be sure you make a reservation if you plan a meal at prime times. Prepare yourself for difficult choices when choosing what to order, there are so many great options, you will want to try them all. Casual dinner and delightful entrees.
Lamb shank
  • Jimmy’s Family Restaurant: If you are looking for a truly filling breakfast or a Homestyle meal this is the place for you! Known for their large breakfast dishes that will fill your plate and you up. If you’re looking for Homestyle Broasted chicken and mashed potatoes or meatloaf, Jimmy’s is not to be missed. Be sure to bring your appetite, and eat  like a Lumber Jack. Minnesota Home cooking from their kitchen to your table.
  • The Piggy: Kansas style BBQ made to perfection, in Leech Lake Minnesota. With BBQ briskets, ribs, pulled pork and more, the piggy focuses on one genre of food and strives to achieve perfection. Expect long waits on most occasions and don’t be surprised if they sell out of food before closing. Once you sit down though, and take your first bite you will find the wait more than worth the while. Melt in your mouth BBQ, made in Minnesota.
Pulled pork dinner
  • 502 Restaurant: Dine in style, on the shores of Leech Lake. Best known for their wild rice bread and “award winning” Black Angus prime rib, enjoy a night out you won’t soon forget. While you’re there enjoy drinks (and a happy hour) from the area’s largest bar, where you’re sure to find your drink of choice. Lakeside dining, drinks, and deliciousness.

 Food on counter

These are just some of the great dining options the Leech Lake area has to offer, but they are sure to please even the most discerning palate. Dinner, Breakfast, Lunch, or BBQ, we’ve got you covered in Leech Lake Minnesota.

To match the areas wonderful dining options, Leech Lake also has some great lodging options.

Eat well and Stay full in Leech Lake!

5 Family Fun Winter Activities in Leech Lake

Wednesday, November 18th, 2015

It’s hard to believe with this unseasonably warm weather that winter is right around the corner. But before you know it, we’ll be bundled up and shoveling snow. But that doesn’t mean you have to be trapped inside your house all winter. Here are some of our favorite winter activities to keep you busy and get you out of the house.

1) Ice fishing

Leech Lake is the third largest lake within Minnesota’s state boarders. It is great for walleye fishing and the expansive lake won’t make you feel crowded while out on the ice. Ice fishing doesn’t just have to be for adults, it can be a great family outing as well. The Minnesota DNR has a great ice fishing activity book to get your little ones familiar with ice fishing terms and safety. Be sure to check in with the weekly fishing reports, so you know what to expect when you are out on the lake.

2) Snowmobiling

With miles of trails groomed specifically for snowmobiling, Leech Lake is a perfect place for your next trip. We love snowmobiling on the Heartland and Paul Bunyan State Trails. Those two trails alone have over 150 miles of trail to be explored by you this winter, and connect to multiple other trails. After a long day of snowmobiling, warm up while checking out some of Leech’s Lake local restaurants. Many restaurants will cater to riders with parking and even have a heated spot to store your gear.  Check the trails before you head out so you can get enjoy the best of snowmobiling.

Snowmobile in Leech Lake on miles of snowy, groomed trails

1) Cross Country Skiing

The hundreds of miles of trails in the Leech Lake area offer cross country skiing to all levels of skiers. We love to go cross country skiing on the Chippewa National Forest trails as it offers skiing of all levels. In the Walker area alone, you can enjoy miles of groomed trails on the Heartland trail, the Shingobee Recreation Area and the Goose Lake Hunter Walking Trail. You may just even see a red fox or a white tailed deer. Remember, if you are 16 years old or older you must purchase a ski pass to ski on any trails in Minnesota state parks or forests. Get moving this winter and enjoy the beauty of winter from the woods.

2) Sledding

The Shingobee Recreation Area isn’t just for cross country skiing. The Shingobee Hills was originally one of the first downhill ski areas in Minnesota, but is now enjoyed in the winter by sledders. The hill is fairly steep, so you can start closer to the bottom of the hill and work your way up as you are feeling a little more adventurous. On the weekends, you can warm up after sledding in the chalet at the bottom of the hill.

3) Ice Skating and Hockey

If it’s too cold to go spend the day outside, but you are still looking to get moving and out of the house, The Walker Area Community Center has you covered. You can watch a youth hockey team, participate on an intramural team, or skate for fun.  Rental skates are available for just one dollar and you can purchase a skating card (good for 12 sessions) and use the indoor rink for $50.

Many of our Leech Lake resorts are open year round, and are looking forward to see you this winter. Plan your winter vacation now!

Robin on berry tree branch in winter woodland in Minnesota