MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — WCCO’s summer road trip continues for the second week, and this time we’re Goin’ to the Lake in the Brainerd area with Mike Augustyniak, Natalie Nyhus and Chad Hartman!
The Brainerd Lakes Area has no shortage of things to do, and our WCCO team is excited to plunge into all the area has to offer, especially since this is a holiday weekend!
For starters, visitors should check out Madden’s Resort, which some of our WCCO crew are calling home base this week. It’s a beautiful place to spend your summer, but last year around this time things weren’t as beautiful. A huge storm hit the area on July 12, 2015, a storm that came right off the lake. Most of this property along the shoreline had to be rebuilt in some fashion, but this summer Madden’s is back and better than ever. They’ve got the lake and all the amenities like pontoon rentals, a ski school and they’ve also got plenty of golfing options and a great spa. And you can even go up in a float plane and even learn how to fly one.
The Camp Confidence Learning Center is on Sylvan Lake and, like Madden’s, they too had a lot damage to clean up last summer. They lost the waterfront equipment, docks and even some boats, along with many trees. A year later, though, and that’s all been replaced and cleaned up. The camp, which is an outdoor center for people with cognitive disabilities, offers something they can’t find at home. They can take a ride on a glass bottom boat, try archery and most importantly gain the confidence they need to be successful in life.
Gull Lake Recreation Area
This weekend might be arguably the biggest weekend to head to the lake with the 4th of July holiday coming up on Monday. Gull Lake is going to be particularly busy. You’ll find nearly 20 different resorts along the shores of Gull Lake along with a lot of homes, cabins and restaurants as well. So if you’re looking to stay on a lake, this one has plenty of options for you. Gull Lake is about 15 miles long and 2 miles across. It’s great for fishing, boating or just about any other lake activity you can think of.
Among the resorts on Gull Lake is Grandview Lodge, now in their 100th year in operation. Obviously a lot has changed in the past 100 years, but Grandview’s main goal has remained the same, giving families a lake experience that they will never forget. Make sure to check out the History House, which is believed to be about 90 years old and definitely the lodge’s oldest cabin. Besides the History House, Grandview will also be hosting some parades and a summer concert series to celebrate their 100 years in business. Thursday night, they’ve got Martin Zeller doing his Neil Diamond tribute show.
Zip Line Tours
This is the moment Mike Augustyniak had to steel himself for. The Zip Line Tour in Brainerd has seven lines, along with a 65-foot suspension bridge and an “optional” 50-foot free fall.
The whole thing is made up of seven different zips, and it’s less than a mile long in all, but it still takes about two hours to do the whole thing.
Big Axe Brewing Company
Much more in Mike’s wheelhouse was a Mike’s Mix stop at the Big Axe Brewing Company, a small batch craft brewery and taproom in downtown Nisswa. They just opened up last summer, but they’ve been going strong ever since.
It’s the perfect stop at the end of a long day at the lake to sit back and enjoy a craft beer or two. They make a variety of different custom ales right here on site. If beer isn’t your thing, you can try one of their custom made sodas.