Legend has it, Minnesota’s 10,000 lakes were created by the giant footsteps of lumberjack Paul Bunyan, and his blue ox, Babe, as they explored the state, enamored by its upper-Midwest charm.
The town of Breezy Point sits adjacent to one of Paul and Babe’s largest footsteps, Pelican Lake. At 8,367 acres (3,386 hectares), the body of water is one of the state’s most beloved vacation spots, setting the scene for countless serene escapes and memorable days spent on the water — regardless of season — together.
Must-Do: If temperatures are cold (like really cold) emulate Minnesotans’ brazen gusto for winter by trying a one-of-a-kind activity: ice fishing. After purchasing some bait and a fishing license, embark on an ice-angling adventure accompanied by an expert (mnwalleyeguide.com or Breezy Point Resort’s guided tours are two local options) who provides fishing poles, tips on which fish are biting where, a heated icehouse, and pre-drilled ice holes. Sit back, wait for a bite, and feel on top of the world as you reel in your wintery catch.
If temperatures are on the warmer side, tee up at one of the surrounding area’s 35-plus golf courses or trek Northland Arboretum’s hiking trails and revel in the shade of majestic Northwood pines, spruces, and aspens.
Eat: Famed for its State Fair food stands, Minnesota has quite the cuisine. Here, foods of the fried variety are celebrated, not shunned; salads are made with mayonnaise or Jell-O, not lettuce; and cream of mushroom soup–based dishes are their own category on the food pyramid. While visiting, indulge in must-haves such as cheese curds, walleye, wild rice, and tater tot hotdish. Say “ya sure you betcha!” to nearby Main Street Ale House and Norway Ridge Supper Club’s comfort food classics.
Day-Trip: Drive an hour and a half south to St. Cloud, Minnesota, to amble through award-winning gardens. With its Renaissance-inspired fountains, 150,000 annuals and perennials blooming during even the chilliest conditions, and a sparkling Mississippi river backdrop, Clemens and Munsinger Gardens guarantee “oohs” and “ahhs” from any floral enthusiast (open spring to fall).